[Ansteorra] Member or Not?

Lisa A. May maaggie1 at gmail.com
Thu Jan 10 08:38:06 PST 2008

I have to weigh in here.  The SCA is at no legal liability because of  
how it sells its memberships.  Membership in any non-profit company  
organized in California is governed by the articles and bylaws of  
that company, and the articles and bylaws of the SCA clearly state  
that membership is also governed by the laws of the Kingdom in which  
you reside.  From a legal perspective, all the information a  
prospective member needs to determine what her rights and obligations  
will be as a member are provided on the various web sites, so one  
cannot claim that it was not made available.  Whether or not the  
prospective member chooses to read the documents, whether or not the  
documents are clearly understood, they are available before  
membership is actually purchased, and each prospective member has all  
the time he or she could possibly need to read, consult, and  
understand what the documents mean.  There is no bait and switch  
going on here - the membership page simply lays out how much it costs  
and names one benefit of membership.  If the prospective member wants  
to know more about what benefits membership conveys, he or she can  
always read the governing documents of the company and of the branch  
(kingdom).  If the prospective member doesn't clearly understand what  
she reads, she can seek clarification from the branch's legal  
representative (the seneschal).  Legally, the SCA is doing everything  
it needs to do with respect to offering memberships online.


Countess Margaret ny Connor
Barony of the Steppes
Kingdom of Ansteorra

And do as adversaries do in law; strive mightily, then eat and drink  
as friends (Wm. Shakespeare)

On Jan 10, 2008, at 10:08 AM, Rose & Chad wrote:

> *sigh* You very obviously do not sell things for a living. You  
> stated that "It is
>  not up to the corporation's marketing group to know all kingdom  
> laws, and
>  to advise you on them.  You seem to believe that the people who  
> write the
>  copy for the corporate membership forms are the same people who write
> Ansteorra's laws.  It's not so.  The former are office workers in
> California, and the latter are volunteers in Oklahoma and Texas."
>   You are wrong. It is up to the people who write the text to know  
> exactly what they are selling. It doesn't matter where or who the  
> people who wrote the laws are. Most websites are done by outside  
> firms nowadays, anyway. A purchase is a legally binding agreement.  
> In this case, it says that I am pruchasing a membership. It  
> specifies that the additional benefit of being a Sustaining member  
> is that you will receive publications. That's it. That's all it  
> says. So it implies that the memberships are the same, except  
> concerning publications. Therefore, the entire SCA, as represented  
> by SCA, Inc. is legally obliged to treat them the same, except  
> concerning publications. This may not be how our laws read, but it  
> is how the mundane laws read, and mundane laws supercede SCA law.
> I am not arguing that memberships are the same within the SCA. They  
> obviously are not. But they are advertised as such, and they either  
> need to change the laws to cover such 'members', or the wording on  
> thier website needs to change. Obviously, the latter would be easier.
>   This might be a good example of why all Kingdoms should agree on  
> how we should be 'paying-to-play'. Some Kingdoms do count their  
> Family and Associate members, as they should, since that is what  
> they were promised when they made the online purchase. (I'm  
> specifying on-line purchasers because I don't know what mail-in  
> purchasers are told.) So if all Kingdoms had the same rules, then  
> it would be easier for SCA, Inc. to avoid these kinds of legal  
> liabilities by describing memberships correctly before purchase.
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