Supporter update - September 2008

Welcome to the latest Open Rights Group supporter update.

In this edition:

- Freedom Not Fear: community photocall - - ORG-GRO: Asus Eee PC giveaway - - Board recruitment - - Consultations - - Volunteer meeting - - Press - - Events - - Mini Links - - Thanks -


  • Freedom Not Fear: community photocall
  • We need you to take photos that embody the database state and the UK’s world-famous surveillance society. On 11 October, as part of Freedom Not Fear Day 2008, No2ID and the Open Rights Group will make a live collage in a prominent location in London (to be confirmed) of the images you've supplied. Freedom not Fear is an international day of action for democracy, free speech, human rights and civil liberties, and events to celebrate these central tenets of a just society will be taking place all over the world.

    Here's how to help: 1. Spot something that embodies the UK’s wholesale transformation into the surveillance society/database state. Subjects might include your local CCTV camera(s), or fingerprinting equipment in your child’s school library; 2. Snap it; 3. Upload it to Flickr and tag it “FNFBigPicture” (please use an Attribution Creative Commons licence). Check out the growing gallery of surveillance society images here.

  • ORG-GRO: Asus Eee PC giveaway
  • Our supporter drive continued in September with Who's Watching Who, a video produced to encourage the ORG community to recruit more supporters for ORG, and a series of book giveaways. The widgetometer has climbed steadily towards 1,000 but we all need to be more active to hit the target of 1,500 fivers per month by the end of the year. Currently Tom Reynolds is our top recruiter and so in pole position to win an Asus Eee PC, with Glyn, Sheila, Richard, Simon and Danny snapping at his heels. Please follow their lead by encouraging like-minded sorts to support ORG and digital rights. And an admin note: be sure that any new supporters you recruit mention your name on the webform so we can keep track.

  • ORG seeks Directors
  • The ORG Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing all aspects of our work, from payroll to policy decisions. We have a committed and expert group of volunteer non-executive Directors and with the organisation approaching its third birthday are seeking new additions to join the team. There is more information about the role on the blog, including the particular skills sought and commitments involved, together with a more detailed job description. Applicants have until 28 October 2008 to send their CV to michael at openrightsgroup dot org.

  • Consultations
  • ORG authored a submission to the Ministry of Justice's Weekend Voting consultation, explaining the significant risks posed by remote electronic voting to our democracy. We're now collecting comments on the Government's plans to oblige ISPs to take action against subscribers to their network who infringe copyright. Please help us respond.

  • Volunteer meeting reminder
  • The upcoming volunteer meet on 9 October will be a little more involved than usual, including a brainstorm for an overhaul of our website. Also, happily, we're expecting a lot of new faces who've learned about our interests and works over the Summer. Please add your name to the wiki page if you're planning to attend and feel free to add suggested works to the draft agenda.

Press relations

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

  • Ars Technica - 'EU Parliament: Only judges can order 'Net disconnections'' Nate Anderson continues to bravely follow the Telecom Package through the EU Parliament, reporting both good news and bad for Netizens. MEPs rejected an amendment that, in our view, would have prevented EU member states requiring local ISPs to filter content. The Parliament did however approve text requiring judicial oversight for any disconnection procedure. This amendment should prohibit a graduated response approach, whereby Big Content is given control of our connections.
  • Out-Law - 'Copyright changes would only earn fifty cents a year for artists, say activists' Reporting our analysis of the proposed term extension in sound recordings, Out-Law emphasises the additional annual earnings due to accrue to perfomers (between 59 cents and €26.79 per year) and major labels (€200,000 to €4.1 million a year). Out-Law also repeat our concern that this extension will further damage public perception of copyright but not benefit artists and their fans.
  • New Statesman - 'Joining the Lib Dems...' Ben Davies describes the view from the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth, where Becky spoke on digital equality. Apparently the audience were more interested in discussing our priority issue of downloading music and copyright than the suggested topic. Becky has also featured on New Statesman panels at the Labour and Conservative conferences, using the opportunity to collar grassroots party members to chat about digital rights.


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

  • Piracy vs Obscurity: Neil Gaiman, famed post-modern author and patron of ORG, on the first public appearance of his Graveyard Book UK tour, invites fans and ORG supporters to discuss piracy from the perspective of a creator, what it means to be one of the tribe of readers, and why most people discover their favourite authors for free. Friday 24 October, London.
  • Open Source for Games Developers - A Debate on New Business Models: We've linked up with Own-It to host an event for the London Games Fringe: the panel, chaired by Becky, will feature veterans of law, code and business. Tuesday 28 October, London
Mini-links: With Phorm back in the news, read on to protect you and your users

Thanks Thanks to everyone who's chipped in during September. Thanks to David, Harry, Tom and Patrick for running our stall at the Green Party Conference. Thanks to James C, Chris and Fred for running our stall at PyCon. Thanks to James H for producing our banner stand. Thanks to Glyn for doing a talk at BarCamp London and to Felix for doing the same at BarCamp Bath. Thanks to Lemon, Mike, Sam and Adam for keeping the site live and direct. Thanks to Alaric for setting up a digital rights event in Bristol. Thanks to JonRob for interning to the fullness. Thanks to Harry for working on a maps mashup. Last but not least, thanks to Becky, Gavin and the usual suspects on the Board and Advisory Council.