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Supporter update - September 2009

- Mandelson plans to disconnect p2p users: come to our event this Friday -
- London will e-count in 2012 -
- Google Books -
- Board of Directors: changing the guard; elections soon -
- Please help revise our privacy policy -
- Power 2010 -
- Press -

News

  • Mandelson plans to disconnect p2p users

We're campaigning hard against plans to disconnect p2p users, including a sit down discussion with Mandelson's staff on better ways to regulate. These are explained in detail in our response to the public consultation, which looks at the music industry's systematic opposition to all but the most powerful online music services. We also spell out that disconnection and shortcuts to justice are unacceptable breaches of human rights.

Open Rights Group is holding a public event on Friday 2 October to debate this issue - Gerd Leonhard (Music 2.0) and Ben Goldacre (Bad Science) will be speaking. And thanks to everyone who donated to the £1,000 fund for a public poll on opposition to the disconnection policy.

  • London *will* e-count in 2012

The decision has been taken to e-count London's 2012 elections. Boris Johnson's Chief Executive, Leo Boland, took the decision to disgregard our analysis of the GLA's cost-benefit analysis, which showed that e-counting would be more expensive and potentially less robust than manual counting. We have yet again expressed our lack of confidence in e-enabled electoral processes precisely because the systems increase the expense of electoral administration and increase the risk of errors and fraud.

  • Google Books

The European Commission's investigation into the Google Books settlement, which Open Rights Group attended as the sole representative of consumer interests, examined in detail the concerns of competition law but largely missed the point that European copyright law requires substantial reform for Europeans to enjoy the benefits of such innovative services. As a follow-up, we are invited to another Commission event on the regulation of orphan works.

  • Board of Directors: changing the guard, elections soon

At the September meeting of our Board of Directors, James Cronin was appointed Chair of Open Rights Group and Harry Metcalfe the Vice-Chair. William Heath and Louise Ferguson, who played instrumental roles in founding and guiding the organisation through its infancy, have stepped down from the Board. The staff wish to acknowledge the great deal of work, skill and compassion that William and Louise gave Open Rights Group. We also thank James and Harry for continuing these efforts.

We will hold our first elections to the Board in the next month or two and supporters will get to nominate (and vote for) suitable Directors (who also get a seat on the Advisory Council) - so get your thinking caps on!

  • Please help revise our privacy policy

We want to revise our privacy policy but need your help to do so. The current version is so narrowly drawn it precludes activities key to our campaign successes. These won't compromise your privacy but will make us more effective. In particular we wish to use non-EU but Safe Harbour-compliant services (e.g. Google Analytics, Campaign Monitor) and contact supporters (who choose to hear from us) more frequently about our work. There is a draft version on the website. Please commments either in the post or to supporters at openrightsgroup dot org by 28 October.

  • POWER2010

The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust asked that we tell you about POWER2010. It's not Open Rights Group work but we thought you'd like to know! "POWER2010 is a new campaign to ensure our democracy gets the reform it so desperately needs. In the coming months they'll be asking you for your ideas about what needs to be changed. Do you want cleaner funding? Fairer voting? More accountability? You decide. The most popular ideas will become the POWER2010 Pledge and be taken to every candidate standing at the next election. To learn more about this campaign sign up now at http://www.power2010.org.uk."

Press

Every week, we spend time talking to the media and connecting them with experts or giving an alternate point of view on current issues.

Recording artists have found a voice in the ongoing filesharing debate but unfortunately they are in favour of three strikes legislation. ORG commented that everyone concerned by this debate would be better off if the music industry focussed instead on licensing products to compete with illicit p2p services.

The Telecoms Package, carrying its threat for competition, innovation and freedom online, is in front of European legislators again. La Quadrature du Net are leading the opposition, with ORG commenting that a lack of transparency in the legislative process is frustrating even interested observers' attempts to press for the consumer interests.

Without considering concerns put forward by Open Rights Group and Electoral Commission, the GLA has chosen to contine using e-counting for the 2012 mayoral election. The officials in charge also chose to ignore their own cost-benefit analysis - showing an extra £1.5m in costs - demostrating a total disregard for budgetary as well as democratic concerns.