On the right, under “Act”, you’ll see a link to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Why? They’re working their asses off protecting freedoms and ideas you didn’t even know were important. For example, they just achieved a significant measure of victory in getting rid of the ridiculous Broadcast Treaty. What’s that? As Cory Doctorow puts it:
The broadcast treaty creates a copyright-like “broadcast right,” for the entities that make works available. So while copyright goes to the people who create things, broadcast rights go to people who have no creative contribution at all. Here’s how it would work: say you recorded some TV to use in your classroom. Copyright lets you do this — copyright is limited by fair use. But the broadcast right would stop you — you’d need to navigate a different and disjointed set of exceptions to broadcast rights, or the broadcaster could sue you.
That’s right. No show-and-discuss newscasts in the classroom. No playing of CC-licensed symphonies taped from the radio. And what did the EFF and its allies do?
When we started going to the World Intellectual Property Organization, we had no idea how we would manage it. There is no constitution to appeal to there. They control the venue and call the shots. But we went in and blogged the negotiations (the first ever look inside the sausage factory of a UN treaty negotiation), bringing unparalleled transparency to the negotiations. We rallied dozens of other organizations to come to Geneva. We argued. We posted guards over our position papers when someone started to throw them in the bathrooms and hide them behind the plants (first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you — then you win!). We slashdotted them. We wrote them letters. We went all over the world and talked to librarians, activists, and hackers. We proposed a better treaty that would limit copyright around the world and give rights to archivists, educators and disabled people to use and preserve creative works.
Generations ahead are better off for this. They’re fighting the good fight. Even if next to no one understands that.