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First meeting, Thursday 10pm, Sci 101 [Aug. 31st, 2004|03:29 am]
Free Culture Swarthmore

skyfaller
We'll be holding a big introductory meeting of the SCDC on Thursday at 10pm, in Science Center 101. If you know that the SCDC sued a multi-billion dollar corporation, and you want to know the why and how, this meeting is for you. You can also find out about all the other cool stuff that we do. Incidentally, there will be free food.
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Swarthmore community open source projects [Aug. 21st, 2004|01:56 am]
Free Culture Swarthmore

skyfaller
Dan Crosta has a brilliant idea that the SCDC would be very interested in helping him implement.  "This year I'm hoping to start a community-based effort to develop open-source projects in-house here at Swarthmore," he says.  "Rock on!" we say.  The best part is that the Community Coding project could and should extend beyond programmers to benefit and include everyone in the Swarthmore community.  This ties in very closely to the SCDC's planned fall campaign with FreeCulture.org.  Stay tuned for more info!
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Gentlemen, start your blenders [Jul. 13th, 2004|12:55 pm]
Free Culture Swarthmore

skyfaller
For the latest project of FreeCulture.org, the international version of the SCDC, we ask you to join us in excercising your First Amendment rights and celebrating a legal victory for artistic freedom… by taking pictures of Barbie in a blender and sending them to us!

Visit BarbieinaBlender.org!
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Knowledge Held Hostage went well [Jun. 22nd, 2004|11:48 am]
Free Culture Swarthmore

skyfaller
I had the opportunity to speak on a panel at the Knowledge Held Hostage conference at UPenn last Friday, and had a wonderful time!  You can see funny pictures of me in a suit, and you can see an article about the conference which mentions the Diebold case at eSchool News online.  Unfortunately, Swarthmore College doesn't look very good in the article, because in my 5 minute "speech" I was only able to talk about how Swarthmore wimped out at first, not how they were wonderfully supportive afterwards.  I can't emphasize enough that all of the people in the administration were behind us 100%, but that they were afraid of Diebold suing the college for copyright infringement.

In case you aren't aware, a copyright infringement lawsuit is one of the few things that can bankrupt a well-endowed college, because of the absurdly high statutory damages possible in a worst-case scenario.  About the only other kind of lawsuit with this power is a class-action medical lawsuit with hundreds and thousands of claimants.  The college's reaction was therefore understandable; their first duty is to keep the college running for the sake of the students.  However, I believe that they also have a duty to stand up for democracy and freedom of speech, and I think that they were a bit too risk-averse, as I think it was clear from the beginning that Diebold did not have a case.  Naturally this is even more clear in hindsight.
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How Diebold tried to silence us, and others may silence us in the future [Jun. 14th, 2004|12:15 pm]
Free Culture Swarthmore

skyfaller
A British site called Spiked, no relation to Swarthmore's humor magazine Spike, has a great article called How Liberty was lost on the internet, which explains how private censorship is becoming the norm in cyberspace.  This lack of oversight when suppressing free speech helps explain how Diebold was almost able to remove all traces of its embarrassing memos from the internet.  There was also this disturbing development in Italy, Italy Approves Jail for P2P Users.  There are similar bills in the works in the US, and if the FTAA passes it would make filesharing a felony in every signatory nation.

Remember, Diebold said that its memos were copyrighted, so they would claim that we were engaged in sharing copyrighted materials.  Now, mirroring the Diebold memos took a lot of guts on the part of every student participating when the only fear was being bankrupted by Diebold's legal team.  Who would have done it if the threat was up to 10 years in prison?  This also opens up a whole new strategy for companies trying to cover up their misdeeds: if your internal memos leak, make sure that everyone who publishes them on the internet goes to prison.  THAT will shut them up, won't it?

It is of course unlikely that a judge would ever allow anything of the sort to happen in a case as sympathetic as ours, and hopefully our case will make companies understand if they frivolously claim copyright infringement, there will be consequences.  However, the possibility of jail time would certainly make people less willing to take the risk of mirroring "copyrighted" material.
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Video of Lessig's talk at Swarthmore [Jun. 8th, 2004|02:31 pm]
Free Culture Swarthmore

skyfaller
The video from Lessig's talk at the launch of FreeCulture.org is now up on the web. It will soon be available on the Internet Archive, but you can already get Lessig's talk on our website (which you should if you're at Swarthmore) or
on Bittorrent. Best of all, you can now get the Lessig video at archive.org.

Once you've watched the video, please help us write a transcript of Lessig's talk. Better yet, get involved! Join the SCDC or help organize a free culture group at your school :-)
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Diebold parody ads [May. 27th, 2004|11:29 pm]
Free Culture Swarthmore

skyfaller
This is just too beautiful for words, so I'll just post a link to the pictures:
The Diebold Variations.  I personally like the one that says, "New and Improved - Democracy by Diebold: Now more reliable than ever."
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We're in the news! Help get the message out [Apr. 29th, 2004|05:04 pm]
Free Culture Swarthmore

skyfaller
Who loves us?

Mother Jones loves us!  The Paperless Chase
The Daily Gazette loves us!  Free culture icon Lawrence Lessig speaks on campus
The Phoenix loves us!  Free culture advocate to speak
Downhill Battle loves us!  Student Free Culture Movement
p2pnet.net loves us!  New Swarthmore action group

And documentary filmmakers want to steal our souls.  Stay tuned!  We need all the help we can get spreading the word about the free culture movement, so if you have any media power at all, do a story on us :-)  It's difficult to get people excited about the issues when they don't have the background to understand the current controversy.  Keeping free culture in the public eye is vital if we are going to make people understand what is at stake and get them to join us in defending our freedoms.
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Some pics of Lessig's talk are up [Apr. 28th, 2004|01:55 am]
Free Culture Swarthmore

skyfaller
Hey folks, go to our pictures page to see photos of Lawrence Lessig speaking at Swarthmore! More pics will no doubt arrive in the future.
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Give us your input, 10pm tonight in the SCCS media lounge [Apr. 27th, 2004|11:20 am]
Free Culture Swarthmore

skyfaller
Did you enjoy Lessig's talk this Friday?  Are you interested in being a part of the growing free culture movement?

Come to what is probably the last Swarthmore Coalition for the Digital Commons meeting of the year!  Tonight at 10pm in the SCCS Media Lounge below Tarble!

Come discuss Lessig's speech... what did you think of it?  What did you like and what didn't you like about his conception of free culture?

Also, tell us where you would like the SCDC to go next year... What should we do?  How can we best promote free culture on Swarthmore's campus?

Hope to see you there!
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