[pmwiki-users] legal questions

Sandy sandy at onebit.ca
Thu Sep 4 12:15:35 CDT 2008

Fine print, this is an amateur's interpretation, from Ontario. Things 
vary drastically with province, and I hear in the US things even vary 
with city.

First, see if your area has a small business centre. Our city and 
province run one together, and it's chock full of advice and pamphlets, 
which may answer some of your questions. They also have experts in small 

(I went to my lawyer before I learned of it. I would still have had to 
go to him in the end, I think, but used less of his time. Having said 
that, our lawyer isn't the money-hungry stereotype. He charges honestly 
for his time (and overhead, like his professional insurance so if I do 
sue him for incompetence there's money to be had), but doesn't pad 
things. He suggested a few things I could do that would keep my legal 
costs down.)

There are cons to incorporating. The ongoing costs are much higher. You 
need an annual audit and legal review of the minute book, and an actual 
"business" bank account, with higher fees. The protection it offers is 
easy to circumvent without realizing it -- if you sign for a loan as 
yourself rather than the business, it's you on the hook, not the 
business. Also, incorporation doesn't protect you from having to pay 
wages and fines for environmental defenses. Still, there are some nice 
things about it, too, and, from a legal perspective, it's much safer, 
even if it isn't perfect.

There's a lot of specific advice on the internet, but it's best used as 
a source of questions and ideas rather than answers. It's a list of old 
wives' tales and horror stories you want to protect yourself from. The 
lawyer had a good laugh (I hope) at the contract I'd cobbled together 
from online samples. Half of it is unnecessary in Ontario, and the other 
half was phrased wrong. Still, it was good to already have a payment and 
penalty model in mind rather than inventing one on the spot.

When talking to the lawyer, do not use legal phrases unless you know 
exactly what they mean. "Hire FOR service" and "Hire OF service" are two 
very different things, with different tax and legal implications.

Hope this helps,


Swift, Chris wrote:
> Greg,
> Thanks for your note on my first question.  
> I'm just interested in our users experience and would definitely agree
> that for an actual start-up a lawyer should be consulted.
> Does anyone have any ideas on both questions?  Its definitely relevant
> to get an idea of what you have encountered before other users follow
> along the same path. 
> Thanks,
> Chris 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Greg T. Grimes [mailto:greg.grimes at msstate.edu] 
> Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2008 3:09 PM
> To: Swift, Chris
> Cc: pmwiki-users at pmichaud.com
> Subject: Re: [pmwiki-users] legal questions
> My advice is contact an actual lawyer in the state your LLC will be
> registered.  They can help you way more than PmWiki users/developers
> ever could.  Nothing against this group, they're great.  It's just that
> for legal advice it's best to get it from a lawyer, that way if get bad
> advice you have legal avenues.
>   On Thu, 4 Sep 2008, Swift, Chris wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> I'm in the midst (still) of establishing my wikisite online and have a
>> few legal questions for everyone.
>> First, I want to establish a little web design company, probably in 
>> the form of a LLC.  In doing so, I'm still looking for which state to 
>> register (probably will be Tennessee due to choice for eventual 
>> retirement).  Anyone have any recommendations for or against this 
>> (maybe another state offers better protection)?
>> Secondly and most importantly, on my site people will be able to place
>> reviews of restaurants, attractions, hotels, etc.  So, my question to 
>> you is what type of legal ramifications does it have on me (their 
>> opinions)?  I would obviously remove any type of rude or inappropriate
>> behavior, but could a merchant try to sue me for hosting that type of 
>> information?  Anyone have experience and/or information they could 
>> share with me on this?
>> Thanks,
>> Chris
>> <http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/25671.html>
> --
> Greg T. Grimes
> Network Analyst
> ITS -- Network Services
> Mississippi State University

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