The Lonely Pally posed the excellent question of who owns a guild in Blogazeroth and answered it very well. We all agree that in Cataclysm guilds are more of a team effort than they were in Wrath. It takes more than one person to level a guild, it takes more than one person to make a community of players striving for the same goal and yet one person can completely destroy a guild and render months of work by a group of people meaningless.
Guilds are always, despite the words of anyone in them, dictatorships in WoW. Sometimes you can have benevolent ones, they are caring and get input from all members, making decisions as a group with no one person having more say so than another. Sometimes the Guild Leader rules with a more iron fist, telling people what they should do and how it should be done in every aspect of the game while expecting total loyalty to his or her in-game goals. Both kinds of leadership can be effective and move guilds to where they want to be but in both the GL has the option of disregarding the time and commitment you have put into the guild and /gkicking you to the curb. Guild charters and rules clearly state what is and is not acceptable in your particular guild but it is always enforced at the discretion of your officers and GL.
Most guild leaders would not kick someone without a very good reason. They appreciate the time and work you put into the guild as much as you enjoy the perks and camaraderie you receive from it. Officers normally respect the members of their guild and no matter how a guild is run they are normally full of like-minded people. When things went badly in a guild in Wrath, people talked out the issues and if they couldn’t find a way to be happy most left the guild to find a better in-game home. I have seen things change for the worst in Cataclysm, people who have invested a lot into a high level guild do not feel that leaving is an option unless they go to a guild that is at the same level or higher than their previous guild . Sometimes the grind back to exalted can lead to people to stay even when they would rather move on.
I believe that a guild is owned by the people who work to make it succeed but that the structure of guilds in-game undermines this principle. All members who are active and contribute to the goals of the guild ensure it will prosper. I am encouraged to believe that Blizzard changing the guild talent trees into a set path is their first step towards changing the guild dictatorships into a democracy. I hope that when paid guild transfers become a reality there is a voting system to make sure the guild wants to leave instead of leaving this decision up to one person. As much as we would all like to think we had an equal stake in our guilds, it is up to Blizzard to make sure that we have ways of making decisions that reflect the wishes of all guild members.