Supporters Update - February 2007


  • A date for your diary: Wednesday 11 April

Please keep this date free in your diary for an extra special Support ORG! (and party) London evening event. It's a chance to meet ORG supporters, volunteers and staff and enjoy public domain DJs, remixed visuals and free culture goodie bags. The rub? We want you to bring along a friend you want to turn into an ORG supporter. Includes very special guest speaker to be announced.

  • e-Voting campaign gets off to a flying start

ORG held a week of e-voting events at the beginning of February, including a screening of 'Hacking Democracy' at UCL, and a series of presentations by e-voting activists from across Europe and the United States. The event, which was covered by the BBC's Digital Planet, gave us a great opportunity to learn from the successes of other groups. We are now planning our campaign for the May pilots. Please visit the e-voting microsite to find out how you can help. Sir Alistair Graham, who chairs the Committee on Standards in Public Life, has already done his bit, by calling for the pilots to come to an immediate halt.

  • National DNA Database consultation response

ORG submitted a response to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics about ethical issues surrounding forensic bioinformation, with a particular focus on the growing use (and misuse) of the National DNA Database. Our response is now being circulated to the members of their Working Group. The Council plans to publish their report into these issues later this year - we'll keep you updated.

  • Freedom of Information Act and the BBC iPlayer - more consultations

ORG is currently working on two more responses to consultations: a Government consultation into amendments to the Freedom of Information Act , and a response to the BBC's On Demand Services Consultation. The proposed FOI Act amendments could keep valuable information out of the public sphere. And the BBC's provisional proposals for new iPlayer services have caused uproar thanks to the suggestion that they might only be available to Windows Media Player users. If you feel strongly about either of these issues, please help us respond.

  • IPRED2, or “The Prosecution Paradise Directive”

The European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee, JURI, are scheduled to vote on IPRED2 next month, after much delay. The directive could make all types of intellectual property infringement a criminal offence. ORG wrote to all the UK members of JURI expressing our deep concern.

Press Relations

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.

International Herald Tribune: 'Auto insurance set by when and where you drive' Thomas Crampton, with help from ORG, dissects the public enthusiasm for letting data about where and when they drive be logged by their friendly insurance company.

BBC: 'Will Apple pick iTunes locks?' A huge story this month. Steve Jobs claims he wants to drop DRM, but the major record labels will not let him. More a business decision than good sense prevailing, but a good moment for digital rights, as ORG gets a chance to highlight the anti-competitive and anti-consumer nature of DRM.

ZDNet: 'Government rejects calls for DRM ban' The government has responded to 1,414 petitioners who called for DRM to be outlawed with nonsense that these restrictions in fact provide good value. ORG points out that DRM does not respect user's rights so is bad for consumers.

BBC: 'Net giant supports open ID scheme' ORG board members Ben Laurie and Rufus Pollock comment on AOL's decision to back Open ID.

Slashdot: 'IPRED2 - Open Rights Group vs. Their Rights Online' Draft European legislation will criminalise copyright infringement that takes place on a 'commercial scale'. Yet another law which serves the corporate interest in protecting 'content' by restricting the public interest in sharing cultural obects.

Lots more articles listed on the ORG wiki


Saturday 3 March: BarCamp Scotland, Edinburgh An ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment

Wednesday 7 March: ORG volunteer meeting, London Want to devote some of your time/skills/expertise to ORG as well as your cash? Come along to our volunteers meeting to find out what we're up to on e-voting and post-Gowers IP campaigning. Meeting starts at 6.30pm - email michael[at] for more details.

Saturday 17 March: Open Knowledge 1.0, London Bringing together individuals and groups from across the open knowledge spectrum, including panels on open media, open geodata and open scientific and civic information.

Saturday 24 March: NO2ID Gala Benefit, Glasgow Heard the one about the government who want to force you to spend 90 odd quid on being branded like cattle? Join the top name performers who say 'No2ID' in this benefit show.

Wednesday 11 April: Support ORG! (and party), London A chance to meet ORG supporters and staff and enjoy public domain DJs, remixed visuals and free culture goodie bags. The rub? We want you to bring along a friend you want to turn into an ORG supporter. Includes very special guest speaker to be announced.

Mini-links We're always looking to make new links with other organisations, and publicise and assist in digital rights issues wherever we find them. If you know something you think ORG should be involved in, or the wider supporter network should know about, mail us at links[at] Or better still, tag it 'openrightsgroup' in or on your blog. We'll pick it up.

  • The Freedom Task Force A new project to provide licensing services to individuals, projects and businesses involved with Free Software.

  • The National Open Centre (NOC) A brand new national policy institute investigating ways to make effective use of Open Source Software and Open Standards (OS&S) in government and industry.