[mythtv-users] Written proof that we've all been conned about SD

Daniel Kristjansson danielk at cuymedia.net
Tue Sep 11 02:42:40 UTC 2007

On Mon, 2007-09-10 at 14:26 -0600, match at ece.utah.edu wrote:
> On 9 Sep 2007 at 18:34, Chris Petersen wrote:
> > Funny.  I'm the guy who holds the SD checkbook, and so far the only
> > person who has been "paid" by SD was the guy who offered us a *large*
> > interest-free loan so we could make our down payment to TMS (meaning,
> > he's losing the interest that he would otherwise gain by keeping it in
> > the bank).  Because we're a non-profit, we *can't* pay ourselves or the
> > IRS would come after us with gigantic tax penalties.  If you don't
> > believe us when we say so, then wait until it's time for SD to file its
> > annual taxes, and you can see for yourselves (since as a non-profit,
> > that information will be public).
> Chris, are you sure that's true? I believe non-profit corps are allowed to pay 
> wages to their employees, they just can't pay dividends or bonuses to their 
> stockholders and board members.

There is no problem with paying employees and contractors a fair wage,
but paying Board Members of non-profits is a delicate affair. And the
tax penalties really are quite large, on the order of a 300% penalty
for the Board Member receiving undue compensation.

> The way I understand it, no, you could not be compensated for the work you 
> do in your role as an SD board member, but if you were to work in the SD 
> mailroom for 2 hours, or sweep the floors in the hallowed halls of SD 
> corporate headquarters, then SD *COULD* (doesn't have to) pay you for 
> those 2 hours a reasonable amount, like whatever a corporation would pay 
> an entry-level mail clerk or janitor, like $7 an hour... not $300.

This is true, we are considering a policy to allow paying a board member
who does needed work, unrelated to their Board Member duties, up to 80%
of their regular hourly wage for the work performed. But at the moment
there is no such policy in place, and you should really thank Chris
Petersen and Robert Eden for the countless hours of work they have put
in to make Schedules Direct happen. The rest of the board have done a
lot of work, but it was mostly in line with our duties as board members.
While the service is up and running there is still a lot of work to be
done to get all out corporate paperwork in order, so we can do things
like pay employees and compensate volunteers for out of pocket expenses.
We had to scramble and prioritize to get the listings service up and
running by Sept 1st.

> Or, if the purpose of the corporation was to fund developers, then as long as 
> the SD lawyers say it's OK, do that. You don't need my permission as a 
> subscriber to move forward as long as your actions are approved by the 
> board.

I forget the exact wording on file with Washington State, but the 
Schedules Direct non-profit mission is to educate the public about Open
Source Software, advance the state of the art in listings manipulation
by OSS software, research and improve Open Source Software, and
provide low cost TV Listings. So the mission is wide enough to
encompass everything Chris talked about. At the moment we're really
just concentrating on providing listings at all for Open Source and
other free-as-in-beer software. And, we are very serious about making
the listings data affordable.

-- Daniel

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