Becky Hogge will take over from Suw Charman as ORG’s Executive Director in January 2007. Becky joins us from Open Democracy and has been a campaigning journalist in digital rights for several years, with considerable experience in bootstrapping young organisations. She says that she's very excited to be joining us, and looking forward to building on our achievements and continuing to expand our campaigning work.
Suw will move to the ORG Board, but will continue blogging and policy writing. Her contribution to ORG's first year cannot be overstated; her passion and understanding have been key to establishing ORG as a force to be reckoned with.
We launched Open Rights Group's campaign against copyright term extension for sound recordings in November. The main event was an evening of debate, including contributions from Jonathan Zittrain, Oxford University, Dave Rowntree from Blur, Caroline Wilson from Southampton University School of Law, Richard Mollet from the BPI, Martin Talbot from Music Week and John Howkins from the Adelphi Charter. Other events included a press conference and MP briefing. You will find literature and links on the issue on the campaign website, where you are also invited to sign (and distribute) our petition. Audio recordings of the speech are available in MP3 and OGG format, likewise the debate is available in MP3 and OGG. We're working on the video - the first half of the evening is available, the rest still being edited. More on the successes of this campaign below...
The report of the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property has now been published. We warmly welcome many of the recommendations, particularly the need for a private copying exception and the rejection of the music industry's calls for extension of the term of copyright for sound recordings. We are, however, concerned about some of the recommendations on enforcement of intellectual property rights.
In addition, the press (the Guardian in particular) have praised ORG's constructive role in the Review process, whilst the reaction from Big Media to the publication has made it clear they are not always concerned with the public interest.
We have had an exceptional year since we started accepting donations last January. Yes, that's right, a whole year has gone by! But our continued work depends heavily on income from you, our supporters. If you were one of the kind people who donated £60 for the year last January or February, or if you donate by PayPal, please consider taking out a standing order for £5 or £10 a month. Monthly standing orders are by far and away the best way to support our work, because they let us plan our activities knowing how much income we are going to get, and we aren't charged fees.
Please help us recruit new supporters too, perhaps by forwarding on this email, or the link to our 'Support Us' page. Every new member we sign up will help us to campaign on issues like evoting and copyright reform. There is so much more we could be doing on such a broad range of issues, but the extent of our activities is restricted by our limited resources. Maybe a friend, family member or colleague is interested, and would happily support us with a little encouragement, or perhaps you want to make a gift of a membership. We have not yet reached 1000 paying supporters, so there's still time to secure your status in the 'Founding 1000'. (In the New Year, we'll be figuring out what perks that status gives you!)
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.
Information World Review 'Jack of all trades, master of the ORG' - Suw Charman, our out-going (in both senses of the word) Executive Director, spoke with Jane Dudman about her work with ORG (erratum in that article: Suw is paid £1000 per month, although started off working pro bono).
BBC Radio 5 Live 'E.U. Tube' - Kevin Marks, member of the ORG Advisory Council, spoke on BBC Radio 5 Live about European proposals for the regulation of video on the net.
BBC Online 'Gates: Digital Locks too complex' - Suw Charman: it was a "bit rich of Bill Gates to make his comments given how much DRM is stuffed into Windows Vista", the new operating system from Microsoft.
The Guardian 'Chancellor offers £5m for pursuit of pirates' - Dave Rowntree, drummer with Blur and a member of the Open Rights Group, said: "The idea of a private copying exception is long overdue and, together with a proposal for orphaned works and the transformative works and parody exceptions, it will make for a more robust copyright law which encourages creativity rather than stifles it."
BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour 'Report on E Voting' - Jason Kitcat of the Open Rights Group highlights the increased risk of electoral fraud. Bridget Prentice the Minister responsible for the e-voting pilots was also interviewed.
The New York Times 'British Library calls for digital copyright action' - The Open Rights Group, a digital civil-rights organization, said it "whole-heartedly supported" the British Library's call for a clarification of copyright law." "One of the key problems is that the limitations and exceptions to copyright law are being ignored by business, which is imposing restrictive licenses on digital content,"
Lots more articles listed on the ORG wiki. ORG got 11 mentions in December, 15 in November, and 7 in October. Not bad going!