Archive:2007 Workshops/Activism and Digital Disobedience

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Schedule: Discussion 1 | Discussion 2 | Infinite Smallness | Lunch National FC discussion | Discussion 3 | Chapter & project reports
Workshop Session 1: Open Access | Free Software | Free Music & Remix Culture | Free Video & Open Media
Workshop Session 2: Digital Disobedience | Communication and Collaboration | A Vision for | Models for Creators
2007 workshop reports +/-

Leaders: Fred Benenson and Nick Reville

Previous Campaigns

Grey Tuesday

  • Downhill Battle Organized 200 sites in hosting the Gray Album
  • Received legal threats but stuck it out and were not sued

DRM Protests

  • FreeCulture NYU protest against DRM that got covered in Village Voice and resulted in organizer losing her job for quote in the article
  • DefectiveByDesign


  • Downhill Battle stickered CDs that are RIAA or that fund exclusion of independent artists
  • Took videos and pictures of themselves doing it. Even though not that many people saw the stickers, many more saw the videos and photos online.

Current Tools

  • Downhill Battle
    • Call senators / representatives. People sign up and receive a specific time. Use in the INDUCE act action.
  • Showing up with 30 other people at someone's office.
  • Art
    • Art?
  • Maptivist
  • Txt Mob
    • Why don't they release their software GPL?
  • Word Bubbles

Other Issues

  • By being more radical than other people, are we giving a bad name to the issues we care about?
    • By bringing enough humor and intelligence to it
  • Get this idea of novelty
    • Because no one else had heard it before.
    • Getting arrested for a sit in trying to get your researchers to publish in open access.
    • "We can surprise people by caring about something that we think is obscure and nerdy."
  • Take pains to make your point coherent and appropriate to it's context.
    • Ex: Hazmats at an Apple store.
    • "A compression of a message."
    • A book called "Made to Stick" that is about crafting a valuable message.
    • Talks about public health and how to get the message out effectively.
  • Be professional and make clear and coherent points. Nothing too technical.
    • Have it make sense to them.
    • Don't bum rush your university.
    • Even though there's this romance of the protest, be committed to affecting change
  • Plan in the open and get more attention, or plan in private and get more surprise? Example was the Apple store protests when police were at many Apple stores that we didn't even show up to protest at.

What happened to Downhill Battle?

  • Last project: "Eyes on The Prize"
    • "The definitive documentary on civil rights."
    • Licenses for the work in the film never got renewed.
    • Could not get a hold of it.
      • Libraries wouldn't let people take it out
      • The kind of thing that classrooms should have.
  • We're just going to digitize it and put it online.
  • We put up some episodes and organized some public shows.
  • Then a lawsuit struck.
    • Blackside
    • The guy that made it died, his family / heirs attempted to sue.
    • So DHB backed down.
  • At that point they started working on the video player
    • They were able to make more traction with a TV replacement.
    • There's no foundation for open / free tools.
    • We want to get there before everyone else.
    • Video online was increasingly important
    • The music industry was continuing to crumble.
    • To some extent, that battle was being won. CD Sales have collapsed.

Campaign ideas

  • Host a Superbowl party with a TV bigger than 55 inches and invite people you don't know so that it's a public mass viewing. Make it known to the attendees that they are all breaking the law, point out how ridiculous that is, and generate publicity around that
  • is available as a domain