The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 (incorporated March 1997) to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community. And since we’re entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we’ve distributed over $1.4M to support music education for children – 400 grants in all 50 states, with more on the way!
Funds are raised through Foundation projects including Phish.net, The Phish Companion (the definitive encyclopedia of Phish information), Sharin’ in the Groove (a wildly successful two-disc tribute album), unique donation premiums, special events, and branded merchandise available from CafePress, HomeGrown, and the Phish.net Store, as well as through various related strategic partnerships, a portion of LivePhish proceeds, direct individual donations, and third-party benefit events.
The incorporated purpose of the Foundation is the development and defense of copyrighted intellectual property (IP) about the band and its history – most importantly, a unique collection of data regarding past performances (setlists, song histories, show notes, etc.). The comprehensiveness, integrity, and consistency of that data is unmatched (and unmatchable) thanks to the daily work of hundreds of volunteers for over two decades (in aggregate, over 100K manhours by any conservative estimate). The data serves Phish.net, a half dozen mobile apps, and more than two dozen other websites via API.
The Foundation is named for a character in Phish songs who retrieves a collection of “all knowledge inherent in the universe” from the evil King Wilson, who took it from the peaceful and innocent Lizards, and returns it via Colonel Forbin. We share the Gamehendge Lizards’ concern with information becoming “a deadly weapon in the hands of avarice and greed.” The Foundation’s data can thus be viewed in various formats for free through the Phish.net website, and through a set of free/open APIs. While we welcome serious inquiries about licensing that data for use in other formats (including “apps”), and have indeed so licensed the data to more than a half dozen entities, we are nonetheless (and therefore) concerned when others attempt to profit from fan-generated content without remuneration to the Foundation, react swiftly to any such attempts, and thereby actively and vigorously defend the Foundation’s ownership of this data.