Swarthmore College Students to Launch International Movement for Free Culture
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 20, 2004
contact:Nelson Pavlosky, Swarthmore Coalition for the Digital Commons
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Nicholas Reville, Downhill Battle
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SWARTHMORE, PA – On April 23, students at Swarthmore College will 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. Lessig will speak at Swarthmore in the Science Center Lecture Hall (Room 101) at 7 p.m.
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.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://scdc.sccs.swarthmore.edu.