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Supporters Update - September 2006

News

  • All Party Parliamentary Internet Group issues DRM report
Last year, the Open Rights Group submitted written evidence to the All Party Internet Group's public inquiry into digital rights management after carrying out its own public consultation into questions raised by the call for evidence. Then, in February this year, ORG gave oral evidence to the APIG DRM inquiry, giving a concise statement regarding ORG's position as well as answering further questions from the panel of legislators.

APIG's report was launched in early June and can now be downloaded as a PDF (30 pages) from APIG's website, or alternatively a more concise summary can be read on the ORG website. The report makes refreshing reading compared to previous government documents in this area, and includes demands for consumer safeguards. Other reports from GrokLaw and ZDNet.

  • Volunteer Meeting
We had our third ORG Volunteer meeting on 28th June, where we discussed new projects and existing work to be on on the ORG site and servers. We now have around a dozen people helping out with ORG and doing the essential stuff that keeps us running on a day to day basis, as well as working on upcoming campaigns, editing the wiki, and providing research support.

If you are interested in coming to the next ORG Volunteer meeting, please email Michael Holloway at michael[at]openrightsgroup.org, or keep a look out for emails on the Discuss and Announce lists.

More details about past meetings on the volunteers page of the ORG wiki

  • Computer Law World Conference
ORG's meeting at Edinburgh University, in conjunction with the Computer Law World Conference was a great success. Around 30 legal academics and lawyers from all over the world met over wine and nibbly things to socialise and discuss digital rights. The event was particularly focussed on recruiting legal advisors willing to volunteer their services. Anyone with legal knowledge interested in signing up for the Org-Law list should email Jordan Hatcher (jordan at opencontentlawyer.org).
  • Protect your bits. Support ORG
You may have seen the new ORG badges that we've created for you to put on your blog or website, but if not, please take a look and put them on your site/blog. We currently have 650 people supporting ORG, but we still need an additional 350 to bring us up to 1000. We must reach our original target, and are giving the first thousand people who give us money the special status of 'Founding 1000'. (By the way, if you have any ideas about what perks we can give the Founding 1000, please email Michael at the above address.)

So, if you have a blog, or are on any relevant mailing lists, please tell people about ORG, and put a badge on your blog.

  • Advisory Council Meeting
We have also held two meetings of our Advisory Council, who help us to examine and prioritise our work. The first two meetings went extremely well, and we will be holding another one in about three months' time, before which we will release a policy report.

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

  • Music Industry Propose a Tax on ISPs
We spent a lot of time this week crafting a press release to provide a counter to the music industry's ill-conceived suggestion of an ISP tax, which they think would make up for sales they say they have lost because of illegal file sharing.

Our concerns were picked up by The Guardian , Out-Law, and PC Pro.

  • BPI Tries to Bully ISPs into Disconnecting Customers
We also had something to say about the BPI's attempts to bully Tiscali and Cable & Wireless into disconnecting customers on the flimsiest of evidence. PC Pro and eHomeUpgrade carried our comments.
  • Random Mentions
We also got a few mentions regarding other issues.

New Statesmen - Fighting for e-freedom. Digital rights are human rights for the web age. Let's make them sexy, argues Becky Hogge

BBC - Group Battles for Digital Rights - 'An organisation committed to fighting for people's digital rights in the UK is celebrating its first birthday,' by Darren Water

Financial Times - Crunch time for Apple's music icon - Pressure on Apple Computer to open its closed system of the iTunes digital music store and the iPod music player is spreading across Europe, by T Braithwaite and K Allison

Out-Law.com - Plans for new broadcasting rights anger podcasters - The UK, US, BBC and Yahoo all back a controversial new broadcasting treaty that opponents say gives big media companies new rights over content

  • Audio interviews:
Suw also did a long audio interview with eHomeUpgrade

In The Works

That's not all. We are also planning a campaign against the music industry's lobbying for further extension of the term or duration of copyright in sound recordings. We'll also be extolling the virtues of the Public Domain, so if you want to get involved, please contact Michael.

Copyfighters Drunken Brunch and Talking Shop

The next London Copyfighters' Drunken Brunch and Talking Shop will be held on Sunday 16th July. We will meet upstairs at the Mason's Arms, 51 Upper Berkeley Street, Marble Arch at 12noon for brunch. The Mason's Arms is on the corner of Berkeley Street and Seymour Place.

Once we are suitably lubricated (at around 2pm) we will, en masse, go to Speaker's Corner and orate on the subject of copyright, DRM, the weather, whatever. Speaking isn't mandatory, but it IS highly encouraged. ORG's very own Danny O'Brien will officiate.

Please sign up on the wiki if you are coming, or just turn up.

Mini-links

A German court indicated that neither short excerpts nor scanning of the publisher's books in the US was an infringement Senior security experts and certain enlightened Lords claim proposed legislation could criminalise both the police and innocent IT professionals who either build or make available programs later used for hacking.

More on amendments to the Computer Misuse Act

Britain's film censor plans to help parents protect their children by expanding its remit to cover internet content Plans for a 'two-tier' internet gather pace in the US as a Senate committee approves a bill which may enable ISPs to offer differential access. The home life of every child in the country is to be recorded on a national database. Computer records holding details of school performance, diet and even whether their parents provide a 'positive role model' for 12 million children will be held by the Government.

More on the ORG wiki on Children's Digital Rights

A new Spanish law bans the use of unauthorised file sharing networks for personal use. However there is a campaign to get the law repealed, which so far has over 250,000 signatures - sign it here A European Bill, commonly known as IPRED2 is dealt a serious blow by the Dutch Parliament.

Read more on IPRED on the ORG wiki

Giving the interests of the RIAA / BPI a higher priority than those of your customers? An interesting and inspiring movie has just been released about The Pirate Bay - the biggest Bittorrent filesharing website in the world, that millions of internet users download music, books and most prominently films via. Its not only a technical revolution in the distribution of media but, as the film argues, a cultural and social innovation in the way we access media. Q: What tools can be used to deliver the environmental contract? A: A spade, organic yoghurt stirrer, old washing up liquid bottle, sticky back plastic. An opportunity for activists to challenge the dominance by private / corporate concerns of EU policy ?