Talk:Limited liability Imperial Charter

From Traveller Wiki - Science-Fiction Adventure in the Far future
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Links (2019)[edit]

  1. EXTERNAL LINK: Article feedback request on FB
- Maksim-Smelchak (talk) 11:10, 23 April 2019 (EDT)

Notes (2007)[edit]

Do you have a copy of GURPS Traveller: Far Trader to verify this. I believe it makes the distinction between "LIC" and "LLC".

- Tjoneslo 13:50, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

To verify what? (Yes, I have a copy of FT, but not with me. That's why I didn't write anything about the Emperor's Share yet. I plan to bring it along the next time I visit the Institute.)

- Rancke 14:17, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

What the expanded definition of "LIC" is, or at least what GT thinks the definition of "LIC" should be.
- Tjoneslo 14:33, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

GURPS Traveller: Far Trader refers to LIC as "Limited Imperial Corporation" (pg. 6, 45).
- Tjoneslo 20:31, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

Yes, FT does say that LIC stands for Limited Imperial Company, which surprised me, but I don't see that it makes any substantial difference. We have two definitions that specifically apply to the same abbreviation and only one of them can be correct. The only question is which one to go with, and that is, of course, purely a matter of opinion. As I've said before, I do not agree that new material automatically supercedes older material. Sure, if the change is deliberate, if someone has actually thought about it, odds are that a change will be for the better: fix a discrepancy or improve playability or something. But in what way is 'Limited Imperial Company' vastly, or even slightly, superior to 'Limited liability Imperial Charter'? I actually thought that my "fix" was fairly ingenious: That 'Limited Imperial Company/Corporation' was folk etymology from 'LIC'.

"Hey, what does LIC stand for?"
"Well, the I stands for 'Imperial' and I think the L stands for 'Limited'."
"Not 'Limited Liability'?"
"Nah, that would be two Ls."
"Oh, right. What about the C then?"
"That's easy. Gotta be 'Company'. Or 'Corporation'."
"Yeah, that makes sense."

Somehow I can't see the process going the other way:

"Hey, what does LIC stand for?"
"Well, the I stands for 'Imperial' and I think the L stands for 'Limited liability'."
"Wouldn't that require two Ls?"
"I can't begin to imagine why you would think so."
"OK, what about the C then?"
"Gotta mean 'Charter'."
"Not 'Company'?
"Now you're just being silly."

The two terms for LIC are not exclusive to each other. The limited liability imperial charter allows a company to engage in interstellar trade (i.e. trespass onto imperial territory). The Limited Imperial Corporation is a registration of a corporation to the Imperium via the Ministry of Commerce. But you can have one without the other. That is you can be a company without being a corporation, and a Imperial Corporation without engaging in interstellar trade.

- Tjoneslo 20:52, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

I take it this is a suggestion for reconciling the two different definitions. I strongly disagree with that solution. It would be utterly confusing and there's no logical reason why the Imperium would fail to distinguish between two different types of companies. Far Trader even makes the point that the abbreviations are used to help people keep track of what form of business they are dealing with. Having the same label for two different things would defeat that purpose. Besides, if all the second version indicates is Imperial registry, why the 'Limited' instead of just 'Imperial Corporation'? Just what is a limited company if it's not a limited liability company?
And, no, you don't have one without the other. The charter is a permission to engage in interstellar trade between Imperial member worlds. Presumably it ties in with the limited liability part: any company with a charter falls under Imperial commerce regulations rather than the regulations of any individual world. There probably are worlds where there is no such thing as limited liability. Note that there's no mention anywhere of foreign interface lines that trade with Imperial worlds having to have a charter.
- Rancke 11:57, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

The problem is there is a real difference between a company with a Imperial charter and an Imperial corporation. Look up the definition of Limited Liability Partnership in Far Trader. This is a legal form of a company which doesn't issue stock (and hence can't pay the registration fee). Why can't the LLP also have a charter?
- Tjoneslo 13:29, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

You're talking about a partnership not being able to provide the Emperor's Share, right? Because FT says that there is no fee for becoming a Limited Imperial Corporation. Hum. I suspect Jim didn't quite consider the ramification of the Emperor's Share for other company forms than corporations (Incidentally, I hadn't noticed he definition in FT of a corporation as being a share company before now). If you interpret FT that way, only corporations can get permission to engage in interstellar trade. That seems wrong to me. I don't see why a company with a sole proprietor or a partnership can't give the Emperor a 2% share in his or their company and sell dohickeys to their interstellar neighbors to their hearts' content. I think that barring non-corporation companies from interstellar trading would be an unintended consequence. It certainly isn't very clearly spelled out if it was intended.

Anyway, my take is that there's no reason why an LLP can't get a charter. It would just have to tag on both appelations, e.g. Dohicky Trading, LLP, LIC.

Correct. Now the other side of the argument is you need to register a corporate entity with some government. So, for example, Glisten can (and does) register corporations who wish to do business on Glisten (or in the belt), under the corporate laws of Glisten. In this case we're talking about registering a corporation with the Imperium itself, under the Imperial corporate laws (as managed by the Ministry of Commerce). So could you have a corporation registered with the Imperium without the charter? It seems really silly, and is probably never done, but may exist as a legal option.
So if the Dohicky Trading, LLP, LIC exists, it should also be true for an Imperial Corporation (IC): Dohicky Trading, IC, LIC.
If you agree that the incorporation and the charter are (in theory) separate, I would suggest the following change:
Gaining an Imperial Charter is free, only requiring the local Imperial noble to accept the terms and business plan of the person or company wishing it. Usually this task is delegated to the Ministry of Commerce.
Most people wishing to do business within the Imperium also register their company as a Imperial corporation. The registration fee for Imperial Incorporation is a 2% of the common stock to be given to the emperor. Incorporation is handled through the Ministry of Commerce and almost always the creation of the corporation and the granting of the Imperial Charter are done at the same time.
This has created some confusion as there are very few chartered companies which are not also Imperial Corporations.
Tjoneslo 15:47, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

It seems to me that the charter and the registration is one and the same thing. If you want to engage in interstellar trading, your company will have to do business under the Imperium's rules.
Here's an idea I just got: What if the Imperium's rules don't distinguish between sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations? If that is the case, Dohicky Trading, LLP, LIC doesn't actually need to use the LLP in its interstellar business, because it doesn't make any difference to anyone that it trades with. It's only relevant when it trades with others in the same star system where the distinction between a partnership and a corporation may make a difference.
I do see your point, but I like the link between getting a permit to engage in interstellar trade and giving the Emperor 2% of your profits. It's not the incorporation that I see as the crucial point, it's the permit. I don't see why a company has to be a corporation to give the Emperor his share, although I think that it would be by far the most common setup. Rancke 16:09, 14 September 2007 (UTC)

You wrote What if the Imperium's rules don't distinguish between sole proprietorships, partnerships, and corporations? '. If we assume that the charter cost is 2% ownership, the only entity that will be able to gain one is a corporation. Sole Proprietorships are for one person, no room for the emperor. Parterships (and LLP) usually assume equal share between the members and unless there are 50 owners, there is again no room for the emperor.
When referring to companies the terms "Limited" and "Limited Liability" are synonymous (see: and
So this means the full title could be Limited liability Imperial chartered corporation'. The proper expansion of LIC is Limited (liabiltiy) Imperial Charter, but since the only ones who can hold a charter are corporations, it's not entirely incorrect to refer to LIC as Limited (liability) Imperial Corporation. Tjoneslo 22:03, 14 September 2007 (UTC)