20 June 2006

One of the Digital Commons

OpenDemocracy has a piece called "Free culture and the internet: a new semiotic democracy". Apart from the obfuscatory title, it's quite good. It's basically about open content, which it calls "the digital commons". This isn't quite right: it's a digital commons, since there are lots of them these days - open source, open access, etc.

The article is written by Elizabeth Stark, who's a board member of the international student organisation Freeculture.org. The latter is new to me, and has an interesting background:

FreeCulture.org is a diverse, non-partisan group of students and young people who are working to get their peers involved in the free culture movement. Launched in April 2004 at Swarthmore College, FreeCulture.org has helped establish student groups at colleges and universities across the United States. Today, FreeCulture.org chapters exist at over 30 colleges, from Maine to California, with many more getting started around the world.

FreeCulture.org was founded by two Swarthmore students after they sued voting-machine manufacturer Diebold for abusing copyright law in 2003. Named after the book Free Culture by Stanford University law professor Lawrence Lessig, FreeCulture.org is part of a growing movement, with roots in the free software / open source community, media activists, creative artists and writers, and civil libertarians. Groups with which FreeCulture.org has collaborated include Creative Commons, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and Downhill Battle.

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