The Open Rights Group is the UK’s equivalent of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Both organisations lobby on behalf of people that actually like and understand how digital living works. Digital Restrictions Management, e-voting… that kind of thing. ORG is maturing fast now, and Suw Charman, one of the lead protagonists, posted this today. I am going to quote liberally.
It’s amazing, how much we’ve done over the last 28 months. We cut our teeth on the Data Retention Directive, managing to get some much needed press attention for a directive that was marched through the European legislature with alarming speed. We’ve helped the UK Podcasters Association defend their rights. We’ve lobbied hard to have the term of copyright on sound recordings protected, as part of a wider project to respond to the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property. We’ve helped the All Party Parliamentary Internet Group (APIG, now APComms) understand why we are against DRM. We’ve been one of the first organisations in the UK to observe the use of e-voting and e-counting in England and Scotland, touring our report around the party conferences.
We’ve done consultations, white papers, MPs briefings, press interviews and briefings, radio interviews, TV news slots, events, meetings, conferences, and blogs posts galore. The ORG wiki has become a valuable repository of information on a wide variety of digital rights issues, written mainly by some amazingly knowledgeable volunteers who have given up hours of their time to make sure that the wiki is up to date, accurate and free of spam.
I hope you don’t think that I’m bigging ORG up too much – I’m just genuinely amazed at how much we have achieved in such a short time and with so few resources. But of course, it doesn’t stop here. There is so much more work to do on e-voting, as the government has failed to take on board the severity of the problems identified not just by ORG, but also the Electoral Commission. We are also working hard on the Creative Business in the Digital Era project, examining new and developing business models that involve giving away creative works for free (and also, sometimes, the rights to that work). And there’s a lot more to come – the list of issues we want to tackle just keeps getting longer.
ORG is now looking for more money and more members as it further professionalises. So if you’re in the UK sign up. The EFF is nice and all, but the ORG is looking after local issues. In fact I am going to go make a donation right now!
My only problem with the organisation… I can’t help seeing it in my minds eye as “OR-GEE”. Surely not the intention…