Supporter update - November 2008

Welcome to the latest Open Rights Group supporter update. In this edition:

- 2008 Review of Activities - - Bad to worse: EU rushes through term extension - - ORG Xmas Party - - Volunteer works - - Press - - Events - - Thanks -


  • 2008 Review of Activities
  • This month we celebrated our birthday by publishing the 2008 ORG Review of Activities, which is available in both PDF (click here) and HTML (click here) form. We hope you are pleased with everything ORG has done in our third year of campaigning for the UK's digital rights. As ever, we ask that you tell others about our works and encourage more people to donate to Open Rights Group in order to further oppose abuses of our rights online and the real threats to our information society.

  • Bad to worse: EU rushes through term extension
  • Your MEPs are preparing to amend the proposed term extension Directive to further nullify the public benefit in copyright. ORG travelled to Brussels earlier in the month for two days of meetings with the relevant MEPs. A coalition of academic experts have also continued to oppose the draft Directive. It is critical that you write to your MEPs today to oppose the Directive in its entirety. Please see our main (click here) and Sound Copyright (click here) blogs for greater detail.

  • ORG Xmas Party
  • Update: We've had to take the tough decision to call it off, because the low uptake from both sponsors and guests means that if we went ahead, ORG would be at risk of making a significant financial loss.

    We do however have two alternative nights out for you. Hopefully you'll be able to make at least one of them, so we can celebrate the festive season together and look forward to a fab year ahead for ORG.

    First, ORG is a co-host for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Community Christmas Party, which you are all cordially invited to. It will be at The 'Quad Bar' of the London School of Economics' "Three Tuns Pub", Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE on Thursday 11 December from 1800 to 2300. RSVP to gus at privacy dot org.

    Second, the ORG staff will be delighted to meet supporters who are still up for an Xmas drink on Saturday 20 December from 1930 at our local, which is The Duke - - 7 Roger Street, London, WC1N 2PB. Mail supporters at openrightsgroup dot org if you're coming so we can me sure there's enough space.

    Your 2008 Xmas party is shaping up nicely and tickets are moving fast. We've got a proper London pub and can promise a rousing evening, including Copyfighters (with some extra special guests), a raffle, werewolf and - fingers crossed - a free drink or two. It will be both a festive celebration plus your chance to buy our outgoing Executive Director a drink and - toes crossed - meet Becky's replacement. Sign up now for your tickets (click here) to avoid disappoinment! If you have suggestions for more party games then get in touch.

  • Volunteer works
  • One of our main organisational aims is developing a community of activists and ORG now has close to 100 regular volunteer contributors. If you want to get more involved with digital rights and Open Rights then please find a job that suits your skills on our public list of tasks (click here) and join in at our next volunteer meeting (click here). Please note there's a dedicated volunteer mailing list (hit reply if you want to get involved that way) and Facebook group (click here). This month's meeting - minuted here (click here) - was a whole heap of usefulness although its looking like we may need a bigger room in future.

Press relations

Every week, we spend time talking to the media and connecting them with experts or giving an alternative point of view on current issues. Please see the press archive for more details (click here).

  • BBC - 'Musicians urge copyright change'
  • The clamour to extend copyright on sound recordings is, following our specific intervention, contrasted with ORG's concern that the measure will benefit record companies but not musicians and the Government's view that the proposal won't achieve the stated aim of benefiting performing artists.

  • Telecom TV - ''3 Strikes' could be back for a second innings warn rights groups'
  • Ian Scales reports on the progress of the Telecoms Package, which seems to give European governments a green light to proceed with 3 strikes laws. He refers to a report by Lilian Edwards (ORG Advisory Councillor) and Simon Bradshaw, which emphasises that this crucial set of obligations should be properly debated in the open rather than in deliberately stealthy conditions.

  • MacUser - 'ORG: file sharing talks have "locked out" consumers'
  • Simon Aughton's dispatch on the introduction of further penalties for illegally sharing copyright materials mentions our view that the regulatory authorities disregard "the benefits of an open internet to society and the economy" and seem "unable to engage in evidence-based policy-making in this space."

  • The Stage - 'November 13: Lenny Henry, Denis Lawson and the Devil's Whore'
  • Scott Matthewman blogs Kay Smith's article on the term extension proposals, which recognises our "fierce" campaigning on the issue and also that independent experts do not support increasing the protection for sound recordings from 50 to 95 years.


The very best way to stay updated on ORG-esque events is with our Upcoming group (click here). Here's some some particularly exciting events happening in the next month or so:

  • Barcamp Liverpool - entrepreneurs, technologists, programmers, developers, designers, bloggers, social media types, gamers, and artists are invited to this unconference for two days of unadulterated geeky fun. Liverpool, 6 - 7 December 2008.
  • Privacy and civil liberties community Christmas party - take refuge from these cold and harsh times at the "Quad Bar" of the London School of Economics' "Three Tuns Pub", Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE on 11 December from 1800. Cash bar. RSVP
  • Chaos Communication Congress - Nothing to Hide is the 25th annual four-day conference organized by the Chaos Computer Club. Berlin, 27 - 30 December.

Thanks Thanks to Chris, Mark, David, Glyn, Sheila, Mark, Martin, James, Richard, Matt, Adam, Richard and Tim for attending the volunteer meeting. Thanks to Chris, Chris (again) and Adam for the F1000 badgr project. Thanks to Martin, Pekka, Stanley, Ben and Eileen for supporting ORG in Brussels. Thanks to Casbon, Jonty, Chris (again) and Matt for working on the db. Thanks to Lemon and Adam for generally running things. Thanks to Adam for the new Facebook page. Thanks to the Board and Advisory, particularly the kindly folk who've been conducting interviews for new Directors.