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Winning the Web: Stories of Grassroots Campaigning for Access to Knowledge in the Networked Digital Age

May 1, 2009

The global intellectual property regime is no longer fit for purpose. As the networked, digital age matures, it puts into the hands of millions of citizens the tools to access create and share "content": text, pictures, music and video; data, news, analysis and art. Against this, the intellectual property regime falters. It presents citizens with a choice: stop using the technology -- stop communicating, stop creating -- or break the law.Legal reform is presented with two separate challenges. The first is a small but vocal minority of entrenched corporate interests -- the rightsholder lobby. Wedded to business models that pre-date the age of networked digital technology, they exploit their position as incumbents to influence legislators. Often representing the world's biggest multinational corporations, they hijack a narrative that belongs to poor artists struggling in garrets and use the considerable profits they have made from exploiting these artists in the twentieth century to access the corridors of power and make their case.That legislators listen is related to a second, geopolitical, challenge. Since the 1970s, the developed world has sought to use the global intellectual property regime to ensure its continued prosperity. Motivated by the ability of developing countries to undercut it on the global manufacturing market, it has sought to augment the financial privilege afforded to "knowledge workers". The self-interest behind this practice is masked by a flawed orthodoxy that is rarely backed up by evidence -- that more intellectual property provision is always good for economic growth.Against this backdrop, a global IP reform movement (also called the access to knowledge movement) is emerging. Motivated by a range of concerns -- from global justice, to the narrowing spectrum of permitted speech, to the broadening of surveillance power -- these individuals and organisations approach their campaigning work with combined levels of ingenuity and intellectual rigour that make them stand out in the history of fledgling civil rights movements. Recently, these pockets of activism have taken IP reform issues to a wide audience, triggering sweeping civic action in the general population. The goal of this report is to identify and interrogate these pockets of activism, and to draw lessons from them. It is hoped that these lessons spread across the broadening global network of IP reform activists, ensuring a strong, sustainable and ultimately successful global movement for IP reform well into the future.

Media Access and Policy; Media Platforms

Buying Broadband a Boost: The Information Super Buy-Way?

March 30, 2009

The federal government and many state governments are making efforts to increase or improve access to broadband internet services. With this attention in the states, communication companies are spending millions of dollars on state campaigns and hiring thousands of state-level lobbyists.Fast FactsThe five communications companies in the report hired 2,609 lobbyists around the country. Again, AT&T and Verizon led the pack, with 1,373 and 868, respectively.The five communications companies this report gave almost evenly to Republican and Democratic candidates across the country. Republicans received $7.6 million and Democrats received $6.8 million. However, the companies gave $6 million to Republican party committees, almost twice the $3.5 million given to Democratic party committees.California received the most contributions from the five communications companies in the report, by far. Recipients in California got $8.2 million. Florida was second with $2.8 million.Of the five communications companies studied, AT&T and Verizon dominated the contributing, giving $14.9 million and $10.8 million respectively. Qwest, Embarq, and U.S. Cellular combined for an additional $2.4 million.

Telecommunications Infrastructure

Investing in Youth Media: A Guide for Grantmakers

December 6, 2006

Investing in Youth Media is a compilation of success stories, lessons, and guidance for grantmakers interested in being part of the vibrant and growing field of youth media. It is a tool to help funders consider the value of youth media in connection to program areas such as civic engagement, the arts, education, youth development, and journalism.Why are funders becoming interested in youth media? Youth media organizations offer a broad impact that belies their often small sizes and even smaller budgets. They bring together youth development and social justice in a way that is both energizing and authentic. They offer new models for educating young people who have lost interest in school, bring youth voices to public attention, and offer opportunities for artistic exploration and career experiences.Programs are built on the best practices of positive youth development, teaching young people new skills and empowering them to make smart decisions, explore new horizons, and work toward their goals. Program graduates leave with skills in interviewing, researching, and storytelling. They learn how to develop an idea and stick with it until they get the project done. These skills become important for their professional and personal lives.At the same time, youth media organizations can engage young people in social justice issues that are important to them. Whether it's inequity in education, foster care conditions, or the politics of immigration, young people explore the landscape, develop opinions, and share those opinions, along with their personal experiences, through film, radio, and the printed word. Although they are still too young to vote, these young people have found a way to impact the issues that affect their lives.While most funders do not have a defined youth media program, many find that youth media is an effective component of their grantmaking strategy. The case studies that follow introduce youth media programs supported by a variety of small local funders and large international philanthropies. They illustrate the links between youth media and six other program areas: youth development, social change, youth voice, education, journalism, media arts, and field building.The resource list at the end of this publication includes contact information for all of the youth media organizations listed here as well as intermediaries and others who can help you consider, develop, and launch a youth media philanthropy program.

Media Access and Policy

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