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friday :: april 23, 2004
international movement for free culture

On April 23, students at Swarthmore College launch a new international student organization dedicated to fighting coercive copyright practices and other threats to the free flow of information. The event will feature a keynote speech from Lawrence Lessig and the founding meeting of the new student organization. The new group will leverage the power of students at colleges and universities around to the world and promises to be a leading voice for copyright reform, online rights, and free and open-source software.

This new organization follows the success that Swarthmore Coalition for the Digital Commons has had with their lawsuit to stop Diebold Election System’s abuse of copyright law. A partner in this new organization is music activist group Downhill Battle (downhillbattle.org), best known for their historic Grey Tuesday protest in which 170 websites defied cease and desist letters from EMI Records in a day of coordinated civil disobedience to fight music censorship and support sampling rights for artists.

The featured speaker at the event is author and Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig, who represented book publisher Eric Eldred in the groundbreaking case Eldred v. Ashcroft, a challenge to the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. Lessig has been named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries for arguing “against interpretations of copyright that could stifle innovation and discourse online.” The founder of Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society, he is the author of Free Culture, The Future of Ideas, and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace. Lessig is a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for the Public Domain as well as a member of the Penn National Commission on Society, Culture, and Community at the University of Pennsylvania.

Students from a many different colleges and universities are expected to attend the lecture and planing meeting that will follow. April 23 will also see the official launch of FreeCulture.org, a site which will serve as an informational base and organizing tool for new organization. The group is dedicated to what it calls a “bottom-up, participatory structure to society and culture,” which it says is under assault by the recent expansion of intellectual property law. >from *Swarthmore College Students to Launch International Movement for Free Culture*. April 20, 2004

FreeCulture.org is the home of an international student movement for free culture. Although many activist organizations have arisen to protect and promote free culture (including the EFF, FSF, and Creative Commons), for true change in the system, we must look to the future -- the youth of the world. If we can win the hearts and minds of the next generation, the vested interests will slowly and inexorably become irrelevant. And who is more qualified to build a student movement than the students themselves? Everyone is welcome, young or old, but our focus is organizing on high school and college campuses. Together, we have the potential to become a revolutionary force for creativity and innovation. >from *FreeCulture.org site*.

related context
free culture.how big media uses technology and the law to lock down culture and control creativity by lawrence lessig
> free culture manifesto. the mission of the free culture movement is to reclaim our culture from corporate control. our goal is to defend free and open cultural space and protect public intellectual capital from privatization and exploitation.
> copyleft bcn'04. april 16, 2004
> free as in freedom: the life story of richard stallman. june 25, 2002
> creative commons: law and technology. may 24, 2002

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