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Though Wikipedia wants to be a community, the newly formed Wikimedia Foundation has not yet accepted its responsibility as a member of the community of chartered non-profit organizations.

Non-profits that solicit funds beyond the states in which they are domiciled are required by most states to register before beginning solicitations, and to make annual reports of their activities. Some information suggests only Vermont, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Delaware, Nevada, Colorado, Texas, Hawaii, Iowa, and Indiana do not require registration.

Below is a preliminary and partial list of states that require registration before an organization begins soliciting funds. To the left of this page, on the bottom of a side bar, is a link that says Donations. Under the heading Unavoidable legal text appears the claim that this page is not and should not be considered a solicitation to make a donation. Further down the page is a request to "Only donate if you can afford it, and if you think the future growth of Wikimedia is important."

It will be for either Foundation directors, or state attorneys general to decide if this is a solicitation for donations. A list of reasons to donate, a request to "donate if you can afford it" and a list of ways to donate are standard elements of most charitable solicitations.

The not-a-solicitation also claims there is no profit motive behind Wikipedia. Yet the Wikipedia founder, who is the leading donor of in-kind services and who is chairman of the Foundation, has told news organizations he plans to release a for-profit CD version of Wikipedia. Of course, the funds from a CD could otherwise be used to raise money for the foundation, and to develop new sources of income to make the foundation less dependant on the donations of its chairman. [1]

This is a complete falsehood. There are no plans to release a "for-profit" CD version of Wikipedia. The article that you cite says no such thing. You are a liar. Jimbo Wales 14:08, 1 May 2004 (UTC)

South Carolina – required if more than $20,000 raised or more than 10 people donate [2]

Illinois - registration required [3]

California - requires registration [4]

Oregon – required registration [5]

Minnessota – required [6]

Wisconsin – registration required [7]

New York registration required [8] [9]

Colorado – registration not required if "paid solicitors" are not employed for fundraising; however, use of containers, including "machines" requires registration [10]

Washington - registration required [11]

New Mexico - registration required [12]

Ohio - registration required [13]

Massachusetts - registration required [14]

Maine - registration required [15]

Michigan - registration required only if funds raised exceed $8,000 [16]

Pennsylvania - registration required only if funds raised exceed $25,000 [17]

New Hampshire - probably required - certainly required for charitable sales promotions [18]

Tennessee - required if more than $5,000 raised in state or out of state [19]

Kentucky - registration required [20]

Connecticut - registration probably required - bill cited, if passed, takes effect Oct. 1, 2004 [21]

West Virginia - registration required if funds raised exceed $25,000 (not clear if this limit is for in-state or for total funds) [22]

Alaska - registration required [23]

Arizona - registration required (misdemeanor in case of failure to register after notification up to 6 months in jail)[24]

The information above should not be taken as legal advice. The list is a partial listing of state laws based on primary or secondary sources, and a quick analysis of the implications for solicitors of charitiable donations.

Comments posted on this user's talk page suggested Wikipedia Foundation's desire to comply with these state laws could be relative to the demeanor of this contributor. Respondants also suggested that notification of possible legal action is "not nice". It would be much less nice for this user to instigate legal action without notifying Wikipedia members of the risk of non-compliance. Any person can notify attorneys general (or secretaries of state) of the various states about apparent violations of state laws. In the final analysis, public perceptions of the one who suggests the likelihood of enforcement action have little bearing on courts' application of appropriate laws. Penalties for non-compliance in some states can be as much as $10,000. Some states require registration fees ranging from $10 to as much as $400 or more. Some states impose civil penalties for failure to register, others can impose jail terms or fines for misdemeanor violations.

This contributor is aware of procedures to streamline multi-state registration, but no request has been made for assistance in exploring that information.

We are registered in Florida, and I have no opposition to registration in other states as it becomes necessary and if legal advice recommends it. At the present time, my understanding of the matter based on consulation with an attorney, is that our current situation is perfectly fine in this regard. It is indeed wise to go ahead and register in as many states as possible, just to foreclose the kind of lies that you're telling here, so please do the following:

(1) join the wikilegal-l and foundation-l mailing list and join in a conversation there about how we might best do this and (2) stop acting so rudely.

Jimbo Wales 14:08, 1 May 2004 (UTC)