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RE: Organization ontology

From: Todd Vincent <Todd.Vincent@xmllegal.org>
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2010 03:27:11 +0000
To: Patrick Logan <patrickdlogan@gmail.com>, Mike Norton <xsideofparadise@yahoo.com>
CC: "public-egov-ig@w3.org" <public-egov-ig@w3.org>, Dave Reynolds <dave.e.reynolds@googlemail.com>, William Waites <william.waites@okfn.org>, Linked Data community <public-lod@w3.org>, William Waites <ww-keyword-okfn.193365@styx.org>, "Emmanouil Batsis (Manos)" <manos@abiss.gr>
Message-ID: <9E3C243382F12242A1C67094B060CCB512D4A339@XMLLEGAL06.xmllegal.local>
In the law, there are two concepts (a) Person and (b) Entity.   In simple terms:

A person is a human.

An entity is a non-human.

Generally, these terms are used to distinguish who has the capacity to sue, be sued, or who lacks the capacity to sue or be sued.

A person (human) can sue or be sued in an individual capacity, with certain exceptions for juveniles, those who are legally insane, or who otherwise are deemed or adjudicated under the law to lack legal capacity.

An entity must exist as a "legal person" under the laws of a state.  An entity's existence under the laws of a state occurs either through registration (usually with the secretary of state) or by operation of law (can happen with a partnership). Generally, anything else is not a "entity".  For example, you cannot sue a group of people on a beach as a "entity" - you would have to name each person individually. This is true, because the group of people on a beach typically have done nothing to form a legally recognized entity.

>From a legal perspective, calling something a "Legal Entity" is redundant; although from a non-legal perspective, it may provide clarity.  In contrast a "legal person" is not redundant because most legal minds would understand this to mean an "entity" (i.e., a person with the capacity to sue and be sued that is not a "human" person).

>From a data modeling perspective, I find it straightforward to use the terms "Person" and "Organization" because (a) typically only lawyers understand "Entity" and (b) the data model for an organization tends to work for both (legal) "entities" and for "organizations" that might not fully meet the legal requirements for an entity.   Taking the example below, a large corporation or government agency (both of which are [legal] entities) might be organized into non-legal divisions, subdivisions, departments, groups, etc, that are not (legal) entities but still might operate like, and need to be named as, an "organization."  Some companies have subsidiaries that are legal (entities).

By adding "OrganizationType" to the Organization data model, you provide the ability to modify the type of organization and can then represent both (legal) entities and (legally unrecognized) organizations.

Taxing authorities (e.g., the IRS) have different classifications for entities.  An S Corporation, C Corporation, and a Non-Profit Corporation are all (legal) entities, even though their tax status differs.

Hope this is helpful for what it is worth.


See also U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 17.

From: public-egov-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:public-egov-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Patrick Logan
Sent: Monday, June 07, 2010 7:50 PM
To: Mike Norton
Cc: public-egov-ig@w3.org; Dave Reynolds; William Waites; Linked Data community; William Waites; Emmanouil Batsis (Manos)
Subject: Re: Organization ontology

Large corporations often have multiple legal entities and many informal, somewhat overlapping business organizations. Just saying. I wrangled with that. There're several different use cases for these for internal vs external, customer/vendor, financial vs operations, etc.
On Jun 7, 2010 3:19 PM, "Mike Norton" <xsideofparadise@yahoo.com<mailto:xsideofparadise@yahoo.com>> wrote:
I can see Manos' point.   It seems that LegalEntity rather the Organization would work well under a sub-domain such as .LAW or .DOJ or .SEC, but under other sub-domains such as .NASA, the Organization element might be better served as ProjectName.   All instances would help specify the Organization type, while keeping Organization as the general unstylized element is probably ideal, as inferred by William Waites.

Michael A. Norton

>>From: Emmanouil Batsis (Manos) manos@abiss.gr<mailto:manos@abiss.gr>

>>a) the way i get FormalOrganization, it could as well be called LegalEntity to be more precise....
Received on Tuesday, 8 June 2010 05:18:51 UTC

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