Posted Jul 24, 2006 3:31 UTC (Mon) by giraffedata
In reply to: Thanks
Parent article: Free Software Sets the Computing Agenda
I oversimplified the definition of company a little. It isn't exactly the collection of people -- it's the enterprise they're engaging in. The group of workers is the essence of it, but a (business) company is definitely said to have assets -- the things the employer owns that the workers use to do their thing.
But the important thing is that there is no crisp legal definition of company because it isn't a legal entity -- not like for example a partnership. That's why lawyers get so much money for closing deals to sell a company -- it takes a lot of work to figure out just what is getting sold.
And many are the small claims complaints I've seen get rejected because the defendant is named as "Joe's Garage." You can't sue somebody's garage. You have to sue Joe.
It seems to me that the word "business" is replacing "company" in legal discussions, and it may be because people are not as fundamental to a business as they once were.
I'll throw in one more tidbit: A company often has a name, one that is registered with the government, and that still doesn't make it a legal entity. Such a name is known in law as a "fictitious business name," and is nothing more than an alias for the person (or equivalent) who operates the company. On legal papers, it would say, "Acme Wastewater Treatment Inc. doing business as Woodland Spring Mineral Waters."
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