Owning our words

Image via Morguefile

I have a vision of a publisher owned by its readers.

At first inspection a company limited by guarantee seems to fit the bill. Members sign up, pay an annual membership fee (that is, subscribe) and the funds are used to produce journalism.

A company limited by guarantee without share capital has a board of management, who cannot benefit financially. That could be tricky, free editors are hard to come by.

Maybe there are two good souls out there willing to serve on such a board.

What else?

The company must have at least seven members. Since financially viable news needs several times that number of subscribers, that’s not a problem. And it’s not-for-profit. That may become an issue, but for now, it isn’t.

Then there’s a company limited by guarantee having a share capital. But there’s a catch: only 99 members. That limit applies to a company limited by shares too.

But far as I can tell, the 99 member limit doesn’t apply to a guarantee company without share capital.

I quite like the idea of a publisher funded by subscriptions by its members. Now all I need is some legal advice to ensure the interpretation above is correct.

Image via Morguefile
Image via Morguefile

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.