Note: this is the inofficial translation of the official German Satzung, in the form adopted on December, 10, 2009.
TODO: Full English translation of the current Statutes 2011
§1 Name and location of the association
(1) The association is named "Förderverein für eine freie informationelle Infrastruktur" (Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure).
(2) Upon registration in the register the name becomes Förderverein für eine freie informationelle Infrastruktur e.V.
(3) The association is registered in Munich.
(4) The fiscal year of the association is the calendar year. The first financial year begins on the date of incorporation and ends on December 31 of the same calendar year.
(5) The association exclusively and directly pursues public-benefit purposes within the meaning of the "tax-privileged purposes" of the tax code.
§2 Purpose of the association: making information infrastructures accessible
(1) The purpose of the association is public education, consumer protection and promotion of democracy.
(2) The association's purpose is pursued in particular by making available free of charge, creating, and legally protecting public information goods, i.e. information goods to which the following criteria apply as well as possible:
I. Free availability: Everyone can use the information (e.g. develop, use, and redistribute it at least as long as the public-benefit conditions listed here are respected), without the need of consent of any owner (e.g. owner of any author, copyright, patent, exploitation or other rights).
II: Openness of Source: The information is available in source form (the primary form), i.e., in that form in which its author has designed it and would continue to develop it himself. Everyone has the opportunity to seize the initiative to develop the information work himself. This approach is not hampered by unnecessary obstacles. No non-free tools are required to continue development.
III: Open Interfaces: The information can be used and developed independently of other information goods, especially independently from software products that do not satisfy both above criteria. All "system requirements" of the information good are publicly specified, i.e. not in the form of manufacturers' or product names but in form of references to freely available descriptions of freely implementable interfaces. These interfaces allow automatized access for the main functionality available to the outside, are built up systematically and do not contain unneeded complexity, are fixed by definitive documentation and independent from the further development of the information good.
IV Educational value: The information opens access to knowledge and methods hitherto closed. It is suited to increase the ability of their users. It does not contain any anti-enlightenment elements (e.g. product advertisement, pornography and hate propaganda).
§3 Desired effects: education, compatibility, protection of environment, cultivation of culture
The dissemination of public benefit information goods in sense of the association's purpose has some desirable societal effects, by which the association will be guided when choosing the focus of its work:
I. Enlightenment: Motivation for understanding use of data processing systems, enabling to cope with unexpected problems, guidance to set oneself free of self-encumbered informational immaturity. Unrestricted access to the world cultural heritage, to lexica, handbooks and teaching materials, unrestricted integration of these works in all kinds of data processing materials. Experiencing the joy of creating and sharing information instead of hoarding information. Cultivation of hacker ethics as aptly described by E.S. Raymond.
II. Compatibility, free access to key technologies: Public information prevents market monopolies. When two systems do not match together, all competitors have the access to information that is necessary to help themselves and enable exchange.
III. Fostering local language and culture: Free information keeps informational competence at home. We ensure that important information is available for the people of our country persons in their own language.
§4 Means: Educational events, public tenders, buying free, patenting free
(1) The purposes of the statute are achieved in particular through the following activities:
- Organisation of talks, lectures, seminars and other public education events.
- Generation of public information by public tender of works or buying (and liberating) existing information works.
- Measures to protect free information against attacks by software patents. For this benefit the association may for example "patent free" technology invented by members or friends, that is it can patent these technologies and irrevocably guarantee their usability in free information works.
(2) The association only takes roles that for-profit companies cannot take according to their purpose. It popularizes, generates and protects information for the public benefit, but does not compete with distributors or internet access providers.
§5 Sources and Use of Funds
(1) The association acts selflessly; it does not pursue goals primarily serving its own economic interest.
(2) The association is funded by membership contributions and donations.
(3) The association's funds may only be used for statutory purposes. Members do not receive payments from the association's funds.
(4) The services provided by the association address the entire public. Association members do not have privileged access. Whenever services are offered for a fee, members do not receive a discount.
(5) No person may be advantaged by payments alien to the purpose of the association or be benefiting from inadequately high remuneration.
(6) All income and expenditure of the association are publicly documented and are justified publicly and in written form in view of the statutory purposes and criteria to be determined by the General Assmbly.
(1) The association has contributing and active members.
(2) Active members have the active and passive election right in the general assembly. They are expected to participate in votings and to shoulder a certain responsibility area within the association. Contributing members do not have election right in the general assembly. But they may put forward proposals and they are informed as well as active members on all resolutions of the association.
(3) Members of the association can be natural persons or organisations. But the rights of an active member can only be excercised by a natural person. Organisations may become active members only by endowing a natural person with their active representation for a continuous period of at least two years.
(4) The founders are members of the association. The board decides on new membership after written application. The decision is communicated to the applicant and all members. New members are contributing members at least until the general assembly.
(5) A member is granted active status by the general assembly. An active member becomes a contributing member if the member so wishes.
§7 Contributions, Loss of Membership
(1) The association charges an annual membership fee. Its amount is determined by the general assembly.
(2) In case a member is at least two contributions in arrears, it can be excluded by the board.
(3) All voluntary contributions are owned finally and unconditionally by the association from the moment they are paid.
(4) Every member can immediately leave the association by telling its intention to the board.
(5) The general assembly shall review and decide on the status of all members in one block at the beginning of each general assembly. The newly decided rights take effect after the whole block has been completed. Before that, the previously decided rights remain in force. Decisions to exclude or degrade members against their will can only be taken on the basis of a written proposal, which must explain in which way these members are failing to fulfill their obligations, and which must conform to this statute's general provisions about submission of proposals to the general assembly.
§8 Organs of the Association
The institutions of the association are the general assembly and the board. The members of the board are not salaried.
§9 General Assembly
(1) The board calls for a general assembly at least once a year. The invitation including the agenda has to be sent out in written form at least 30 days before the date of the general assembly. The general assembly's tasks include:
- Election of the board and the financial comptroller
- Exoneration of the board
- Treatment of proposals, including amendments of the statute
(2) The general assembly may be held either in Munich, Germany, or in a location that has been approved of in a previous general assembly.
(3) Access to the general assembly is granted to all natural members and the appointed representatives of the corporate members. The general assembly can grant guests access and the right to speak.
(4) The board may call for an extraordinary general assembly at any time with at least one month's notice by writing a circular mailing to all members unless within one week after delivery of the circular one third of all active members oppose in written form.
(5) The board has to call for an extraordinary general assembly if one third of the active members demands this in written form and specifies a cause and a reason.
(6) All members have the right to table propositions and to ask 1-3 active members of their choice for an extensively justified position. The positions are to be distributed at least two weeks before the assembly on the public email distribution list of the association.
(7) Propositions such as those mentioned in the previous paragraph, proposals for statute changes, and vacant board positions are announced to all members at least 30 days before the general assembly. The general assembly does not decide on propositions made later. But candidates for election to vacant board positions may step forward at any time up to and including the general assembly itself.
(8) General assembly resolutions and their voting results are recorded in a protocol authorized by the board and propagated to the members.
(1) The board consists of one president, one secretary and one treasurer. Up to two vice-presidents and up to two associate members may be elected. They are elected for 2 years.
(2) The board is in office until the election of a new board. Only active members may be elected into the board.
(3) In court and out of court the association is represented by the president or by a vice-president or by two members of the board.
(4) The board manages the routine tasks of the association. It is responsible for managing the association's assets and for the execution of the association's decisions.
(5) A board member can resign at any time by informing the board in writing.
(6) When a board member has missed the two last board meetings and has failed to answer to requests for an explanation, the remaining board members may unanimously decide that this member has resigned.
(7) The general assembly should elect reserve board members and determine rules by which these should fill positions that become vacant. If a position cannot be thus filled, the board may, by unanimous decision, fill it with a candidate of its own choice, whose term ends on the day of the next general assembly.
§11 Affiliated organisations
(1) The association, through its board or general assembly, may grant the status of "affiliate" to another non-profit organisation that shares the same goals as the association.
(2) All relations between the affiliate and the association are governed by a written affiliation agreement signed by both boards and published to all members of both organisations.
(3) All members of an affiliate are automatically granted the status of contributing members of the FFII.
(4) A member of an affiliate may become an active member of the association under the same conditions as any direct member of the association.
§12 Formal Requirements
(1) Resolutions of the organs of the assembly and documents norming the association's life have to be documented in written form, have to be communicated to all members at the same time and have to be archived for later access.
(2) "Written form" is used as generic term for all representations that permanently conserve speech. The preferred format for board resolutions is digitally signed text. The preferred means of communication is electronic mail. Synchronization is achieved via a mailing list distributor. The preferred form of archival is publicly accessible hypertext, that should satisfy the previously described requirements for public-benefit information goods as much as possible.
(3) The mail distributor and the hypertext archive of the association are available to every member for reading and writing participation. Every member has to ensure that he/she is reachable for other members via the email distribution list. No member can demand information in others than the above-mentioned preferred forms.
(4) Active members can vote in a general assembly without being present by submitting at least one day for the assembly a digitally signed document to an email processor in a yet to be defined syntax. The details of this procedure have to be approved by the general assembly.
§13 Change of statutes
(1) The statutes and the purpose of the association can be changed by the general assembly. For this a majority of two-thirds of the valid votes is needed. Before voting the quorum has to be checked.
(2) Small changes in the statutes that are demanded by the authorities for the public benefit status may be decided on by the board with unanimous vote.
§14 Liquidation upon Dissolution or Misuse
(1) The association only may be dissolved in a general assembly with a majority of nine tenths for the valid votes.
(2) Unless the general assembly decides differently, the president and the vice president are liquidators with joint power of representative.
(3) In case of liquidation of the association or the loss of tax-benefited purpose the existing assets are transferred to a legal person of public law or a to another tax-benefited corporation with the association's mission as defined above, that is the fostering of public education by making accessible, creating and legally protecting public-benefit information goods.
Interpretations and clarifications
This section is not part of the statutes, but contains decisions of the board that intend to clarify some issues.
Order of vice presidents
This rule was decided by the board on 25 January 2007.
The oldest of the Vice Presidents will by default substitute the President in his absence.
Location of the General Assembly
Brussels was approved of as a possible location of the GA.