Thursday, 10 June 2010

ORG CON! Book now

The Open Rights Group are organising their first conference dedicated to digital rights in the UK, taking place on Saturday July 24th (10:30am-6:00pm). It will be held at City University London and the sessions will include the following:
  • James Boyle on the future of copyright, in London especially for this talk
  • Cory Doctorow talk and panel on how artists can make copyright work for them
  • What MPs are doing about Digital Economy Act (Tom Watson, Eric Joyce, Julian Huppert)
  • What does the 'Right to Data' mean? (Heather Brooke, Rufus Pollock)
  • Opening up the Data Protection Directive: Can of Worms or Opportunity (Privacy International)
  • Dismantling the Database State (No2ID) 
  • Theft! A History of Music (Jennifer Jenkins)
This looks like a great line-up! The keynote speaker, James Boyle, has a great pedigree.  He wrote The Public Domain (available here as a free ebook!), which is core reading on my MAC309 module.  He is also William Neal Reynolds Professor of Law at Duke Law School and founder of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain. Professor Boyle was one of the original Board Members of  Creative Commons (2000-2009), which works to facilitate the free availability of art, scholarship, and cultural materials by developing innovative, machine-readable licenses that individuals and institutions can attach to their work.  You can find his Twitter feed over as @thepublicdomain.

Anyone who reads this blog should know who Cory Doctorow is.  He's a Canadian blogger, journalist, author, and activist.  Doctorow is a regular contributor over on www.guardian.co.uk.  He's spent many a year campaigning in favour of copyright reform and is a keen supported of the Creative Commons, and one of his recent novels, Little Brother, was a fictional account of a terrorist attack in San Francisco and the ways in which the state used surveillance technologies to impinge on the rights of citizens.  In typical Doctorow style, you grab a free ebook of that excellent novel from his www.craphound.com site.   He's co-founded a free software P2P company; he helped establish the Open Rights Group; and he was also the European Affairs Co-ordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation which saw him actively involved in Brussels-based discussions of EU copyright reform . You can find his Twitter feed over as here: @doctorow

One of the other highlights will be the Freedom of Information (FOI) campaigner and former journalist, Heather Brooke, who was instrumental in exposing the recent UK government MP's expenses scandal.  From as far back as 2004 she started requesting the expenses of 646 MPs but met considerable resistance, finding considerable success in obtaining access to publicly funded data in 2008.    This campaign was the subject of a BBC Four documentary, On Expenses.  She's published a number of books including Your Right to Know: A Citizens Guide to Freedom of Information and more recently,  The Silent State: How Secrecy and Misinformation are Destroying Democracy.  You can find her Twitter feed over as here: @newsbrooke

They will also be hosting training sessions, including one offering advice on how to lobby your MP.  I've booked my ticket already and availability is limited so if you want come along then you can click through to their site and pay via PayPal or Google Checkout

Pricing is cheap too:

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