[Ansteorra] Member or Not?

Colin MacNachtan colin at mccr.org
Thu Jan 10 09:02:16 PST 2008

On Thursday 10 January 2008, Lisa A. May wrote:
> 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.

You are legally correct.  A lawyer could successfully argue that the 
information is available, and prevail in a court of law.

However, in practical terms, it is not reasonable to expect that every person 
signing up for membership read the word "sustaining" in Article VIII of 
Ansteorran law and correlate that with the SCA definition of membership to 
realize an associate member is not counted toward their group in Ansteorra.

While the membership wording at the SCA level is legally correct, it is poor 
customer service.  It would be, at a minimum, reasonable to add wording that 
not all kingdoms count associate members toward their group requirements.


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