January 17, 2006 | Suw Charman Anderson

Dr Fun

January 14, 2006 | James Cronin

Sign up to support the Open Rights Group

Whether you pledged to support this project or whether you didn't. We've now shaken our internal systems into a state where they might not be pretty, but they should work, and you can now follow through on your promise and support the project financially via paypal, standing order or cheque.

You can read more about levels of support, and the Founding 1000, on the Support ORG page. There is also a FAQ which answers many of the questions that have arisen in the comments.

Thank you all very much for helping us get this far. We now have much much more to do.

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January 04, 2006 | Suw Charman Anderson

IPPR white paper: Markets in the Online Public Sphere

Will Davies of the IPPR publishes a paper examining the politics and economics of online information:

This paper looks at some of the politics and economics surrounding online information. It asks why this area become so bitterly contested, especially around intellectual property, and explores the dilemmas this creates for policy-makers. The paper stands back from this to ask why things have reached this impasse, and presents an analysis that positions all these competing visions within a broader understanding of what constitutes

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January 04, 2006 | Suw Charman Anderson

James Boyle on the Database Directive

James Boyle writes in the FT about the EU's empirical evaluation of whether the Database Directive, which gave intellectual property rights over the creation of database, is actually helping stimulate the industry.

Using a methodology similar to the one I described in an earlier column on the subject, the Commission found that

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January 03, 2006 | Suw Charman Anderson

Radio Five Live's Up All Night - the year in review

Went into BBC Television Centre last night to record a review of 2005 with Neil McIntosh, Tim Worstall, Chris Vallance and Kevin Anderson. Managed to get a plug in for the Open Rights Group, and you can listen to the show online for the next week (til Mon 9 Jan; our bit starts around 26:50). I'll try to get an MP3 again if I can. It was slightly odd doing a review of the year because I couldn't remember much of it. Talk about the recency effect - most of the year before December was a bit of a blur really. I spent ten minutes or so before the session began flipping through Tim's book, 2005 Blogged: Dispatches from the Blogosphere, trying to swat up on what actually happened. As it turned out, I didn't really need to worry and it was fun to try and make predictions (or, in my case, fervently held hopes) for 2006. Still I made one point that I would like to think more about, and maybe get a bit more evidence for: 'political blogging' is usually seen as attempting to influence the electorate regarding voting when in fact, I think that activist blogging is a strand of political blogging that going to be more influential in the long run. If political blogs is talking about political issues, activist blogs are trying to get people to do something about those issues. Is that too fine a line to draw? Or are activist blogs really different to (and potentially more influential than) straight political blogs?

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January 03, 2006 | Suw Charman Anderson

APIG DRM Inquiry white paper

The white paper that we prepared before Christmas for the All Party Parliamentary Internet Group's public inquiry into digital rights management is now up on the ORG wiki. You might also like to read Kevin Marks' submission. If you submitted a paper, please let me know so that we can link to it, or feel free to put it on the ORG wiki.

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January 02, 2006 | Suw Charman Anderson

Gardening the ORG wiki

Spent a bit of time today working on the ORG wiki, so if you have a bit of time to add more information to it, that'd be superb. In particular, I've added a resources page and an issues page, both of which could do with expansion.

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December 20, 2005 | Suw Charman Anderson

The ORG website - we need a designer!

We had one of those moments last week when we realised that, because almost everyone involved in ORG has bucketfuls of experience of designing and launching websites (indeed, I started working as a web designer/developer in '98, and I can do this shit with my hands tied behind my back), the one thing that had escaped our attention was, in fact, the website. I'd been meaning to sit down and have a 'proper think about it' at some point, but got carried away with the new challenges of setting up an NGO instead and somehow 'never quiet got round to it'. It's funny how that works. You'd think that, given our collective expertise, we'd be all over the website like a rash, but instead it got put to one side as we grappled with the new, unfamiliar - and I'd say significantly harder - problems. Having realised that we really need to sort this website out, though, we have grabbed a hold of it by the jugular and are giving it a good shake. We've got a Wordpress/PHP/Perl developer guru who's happy to look after that side of things, but now we need a shithot designer to make everything look nice. We are looking for:

A dab hand with CSS to design the ORG blog (both static pages and blog posts in Wordpress), wiki (MediaWiki unless you have a better idea) and supporters' website. You will need to be able to work on this project immediately, alongside a project manager and our aforementioned developer on a pro bono basis.
If you would like to help out and have time to devote to this project, please send us an email with examples of your work. We also need a logo. I always consider logo design to be a somewhat specialised discipline. I used to be a reasonable web designer, but my logo design skills... well, let's just say they suck, and leave it at that. If logo design is your bag, then we would love to hear from you. The brief for the logo is pretty simple, really:
The logo should have a long form, which includes the words 'Open Rights Group' and a short form, using the acronym ORG. It should be suitable for website, web kites, headed notepaper, business cards, t-shirts and stickers (including small ones). The logo should simple, distinctive and easily recognisable. Colours should be professional, with a slight hint of 'in yer face'-ness - no pink or corporate blue. The font should be clean and unfussy.
Please do email us to talk about it further if you'd like to be involved with the logo design. If you're really observant, you'll have noticed incremental improvements in the blog already. We're going to continue that, so please do bear with us whilst we sort everything else out and try to drag ourselves up out of beta.

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