Welcome to the latest Open Rights Group supporters update
Open for (Creative) BusinessThe Creative Business in the Digital Era seminars are go! The seminars - aimed at creatives and those working in the creative industries - will present and discuss ORG's research into open IP, business models, distribution mechanisms and social media. They will be held in central London on 17 (full day), 18 (evening) and 19 (evening) March. You can read more on the blog or go straight to download the application pack. And if you are active in free culture, then please do get involved on the wiki. Also, as mentioned elsewhere, we will make audio recordings of the seminars and all the other course materials available under CC licenses.
Devote your Day to Democracy #2: London's 2008 Mayoral and Assembly elections
Our scrutiny of the May 2007 elections caused public outcry and questions in the House of Lords concerning the use of insecure voting systems. This May, as London votes for a new Mayor and Assembly, ORG will reprise its role as Election Observer. We already have a green light from the Electoral Commission, as well as an accomodating electoral administrator in London Elects and pledges from a team of techno-literate volunteers to watch over proceedings. Read more on why electronic voting and electronic counting are unsuitable for use in democratic elections in our briefing pack and elections report.
The new year brought a large stack of consultation documents into the ORG office. We really do need help to respond to these important inquiries. The most promising of the stack involves new exceptions to copyright. We are fine-tuning our arguments for format-shifting and other benefits for users but need your evidence and experience, so please read and consider via Consult . Far more sinister is the Creative Content Online inquiry that includes questions on DRM and multi-territory rights licensing - the EC is infamous for ropey copyright legislation so our pro-consumer perspective will be vital here. We are also drafting a response to the Data Sharing Review and would appreciate input on, in particular, public authorities that hold too much data. And - phew - we have just submitted a brief response to the 'extending freedom of information consultation'. We argued for the burgeoning culture of open government and against commercial confidentiality in public services (9).
Volunteers: cracking January meet
We had a great volunteer meeting with a lot of new and enthusiastic participants. So thanks to everyone who came along and put their name down for tasks, many of which are already sorted. Our next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 27 February and will be held as per usual both in central London and on IRC. Please put your name onto the wiki if you intend to come and we'll be in touch closer to the time with an agenda.
Every week, we spend time talking to the media and connecting them with experts or giving them an alternate point of view on current issues.
Computer Active - 'ID cards to arrive in 2012' Andrea-Marie Vassou reports on a Government leak that although foreign nationals will receive ID cards this year, the mass roll-out has been delayed by two years. Two ORG voices are quoted separately as attributing the delay to Government's recent display of incompetence in handling personal data.
Out-Law - 'Commission consultation: the need for pan-European copyright licenses' The European Commission wants to simplify life for media businesses' offering creative content by encouraging multi-territory licenses and interoperable DRM systems. ORG however looked closely at the consultation and found a number of consumer-unfriendly proposals, including a possible back door to extending copyright term and the introduction of obligations on ISPs to discourage illegal p2p file-sharing.
- Gov 2.0 or Truly Transformative Government - a conference organised for Parliament by the Oxford Internet Institute - featuring inspirational presentations by Tom Steinberg (MySociety), Ross Anderson (FIPR) and William Heath (Ideal Government). And its archived here.
- These short, snappy films - produced by Action on Rights for Children - use high profile campaigners to explain the failings of Guv's grand schemes for monitoring the yoof.
- The 'Mind the Gap' competition invites contributions for better designed and more user-friendly public services. Please crank your imaginations up and get into it. You may even win a prize or two.
- "Support artists not multinationals" is the motto of the "I wouldn't steal" initiative, which opposes the content industry's criminalisation of the online sharing culture. They argue that sharing is expanding rather than killing culture and that consumers will pay for culture online if offered good quality at a fair price.
- And somewhere inside Parliament, the Hansard Prototype Group are coding to make Westminster's records more accessible...
Thanks to all the volunteers who came to our meeting (Glyn, Matthew, Chris, Felix, Chris, Suw, Sheila, Rachel, Richard, Tom and Harry). Thanks to the pledgers who've signed up to be our 2008 Elections Observers (Suw, Glyn, James C, Caroline, Ben, Alison, Robin, Stef, James, Gervase, Rory, Harry, Louise, Ian, Nico, Daryl, Alex, Jonathan, James Cox, Taylor and Alex). Thanks to those helping with the 'exceptions' consultation (Fernando, Lilian, Jordan, David, Owen, Wendy and Suw). Thanks to the coders who are helping with our databases (Chris, Sam, James, John, Lemon and Adam) And thanks to the Board and Advisory for being frightfully useful in all manner of ways. Thanks to everyone I forget but pitched in this month.