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Year One: Activities for a new chapter

Starting a new chapter is hard. With this guide, a new chapter will have six movie nights and one big event in its first year.

Goals for this document:

  • outline the first year of a new FC chapter
  • suggest movies for movie nights
  • provide easily adapted promo materials

Participating Chapters

  • USC
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Yale
  • University of Alabama, Birmingham
  • Case Western University
  • University of Illinois/Urbana Champaign
  • European University Institute, Florence
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • Cornell
  • Princeton
  • Denison
  • Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas - Little Rock
  • California College of the Arts

Want to join in? Please email kevin /at/

[yearone] Mailing List

Blog posts

Fall Semester



  • First meeting!
  • Get everyone signed up on an email list
  • Sign up to the [ Year One mailing list]
  • Be Kind Rewind movie night
  • Register your organization with the student activities group
  • Have a second meeting


  • Meet twice
  • Check out some of the activities happening at other chapters
  • Movie night 2 (TBA)
  • Movie night 3 (TBA)
  • Talk about the conference in D.C., February 12-13
  • Start a blog, or a twitter, or an identica and use it to announce the movie nights


  • Have a last meeting of the semester
  • Make plans for winter break
  • Make a blog post about the first semester, how did it go?

Spring Semester


  • Welcome back blog post
  • Meet twice
  • Movie night #4 (TBA)
  • Send someone to the conference in D.C., Feb 12-13
  • Blog takeaways and photos from the conference



  • Meet twice
  • Prep for big event
  • Movie night #6 (TBA)
  • Blog about the event beforehand
  • Put on your event/ do your action
  • Blog about the event afterward, include lots of photos and videos!


  • One last meeting for the year
  • Blog reflections and photos on the year
  • Summer plans

Summer Break

Movie nights

A Fair(y) Use Tale

Short, sweet video about the Fair Use guidelines of the U.S. copyright law told using nothing but hundreds and hundreds of clips from Disney films. This is seriously Must-See-TV.

Good Copy, Bad Copy

Documentary about free culture using case studies of Girl Talk in the U.S., the Tecnobrega scene in Brazil, and the Nollywood film industry in Nigeria. The Girl Talk bit might bring people to the screening but the Tecnobrega and Nollywood segment will blow their minds.

  • Format: Donor-supported free download
  • Length: 59:00
  • Audio: English, German
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, German, Russian
  • Homepage:

RiP: Remix Manifesto

Documentary about digital remix culture. Beautifully-produced by Brett Gaylor, founder of Open Source Cinema.

Steal this Film

Documentary about international tensions around intellectual property and the internet. The first segment focuses on the Pirate Bay, though it was produced in advance of the trial. Lots of interviews and details you won't find in other places.

  • Format: Donor-supported free download
  • Length: Part I: 32 minutes, Part II: 44 minutes
  • Audio: English with subtitled Swedish
  • Subtitles: Too numerous to list
  • Homepage:

Be Kind, Rewind

Fun comedy by Michel Gondry about two friends who start (re)producing DIY versions of well-known Hollywood movies in order to save their video store. The image of free culture presented by Gondry half-way through the movie and his conclusion provide great fodder for debate.

Mixtape, Inc.

Documentary about the grey-market economy of independently-produced hip-hop mixtapes. The trade in DJ mixes dates back to the 1970s and this documentary reveals the ways that mixtapes walk the fence between non-commercial and commercial economies. More relevant than ever since the raid on DJ Drama's studio.

Revolution OS

Documentary about the development of the GNU/Linux free operating system. Helpful crash course in the history of this fundamental component of free culture. Geeks will flip at all of the great interviews but be warned that it gets pretty intensely techie at times. Really great companion piece for anyone who is reading Chris Kelty's [Two Bits].


Episodic documentary about the BBS culture in the U.S. and Europe throughout the 1980s and 1990s. This is a view of personal computing and network culture that turns traditional internet histories on its head. Rather than professors at big-name universities, you get interviews with dozens of brilliant, funny people from all walks of life who contributed to the development of a rich, vibrant culture. Fidonet, in particular, was a totally different paradigm for a global messaging during a time when the internet was only available to people with military affiliation.

Note: BBS is licensed CC-BY-SA so you might find copies of it elsewhere around the web. If you can get 40$ from school, it's well-worth buying the DVDs.


Documentary about the turntablist tradition in hip-hop culture. Lots of interviews and performance footage. Great exploration of a phenomenon that the music and tech industries could never have predicted. DRM and other kinds of regulatory technologies do not permit the kind of experimentation displayed by these scratch DJs. Mixmaster Mike also shares a memory about aliens visiting after listening to him scratch in his bedroom!


Documentary about Fugazi, the independent rock group from D.C. Discussions of their tour and recording policies illustrate a successful alternate model for live music. Lots of performance footage but even non-fans will enjoy the interviews.

Shield around the K

Documentary about K Records, the label from Olympia that took an uncommonly DIY approach to everything they did. I haven't seen this in a while and never hear people talk about it. If your group has lots of indie rock fans, this could be a nice treat.

Pump Up The Volume

Classic 80s teen movie about a kid who sets up a pirate radio station in his house. He leads a double life as a shy geek during the day and a rebellious anonymous DJ at night. I love to pair this artifact with discussions of low-power FM, pirate radio, and the history of broadcasting.

Sonic Outlaws

Important 80s culture jamming artifact from Negativland. Lots of tape splicing, pirate radio, VHS/cable hacking, HAM, and more.



Document Freedom Day

Document Freedom Day (DFD) is a global day for document liberation. It will be a day of grassroots effort to educate the public about the importance of Free Document Formats and Open Standards in general.

Complementary to Software Freedom Day, we aim to have local teams all over the world organise events on the last Wednesday of March. 2009 is the second year that Document Freedom Day is being called for, and we are again looking for people around the world who are willing to join the effort.

DFD's main goals are:

   * promotion and adoption of free document formats
   * forming a global network
   * coordination of activities that happen on last Wednesday of March, Document Freedom Day 

Software Freedom Day

"Software Freedom Day (SFD) is a worldwide celebration of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Our goal in this celebration is to educate the worldwide public about of the benefits of using high quality FOSS in education, in government, at home, and in business -- in short, everywhere! The non-profit company Software Freedom International coordinates SFD at a global level, providing support, giveaways and a point of collaboration, but volunteer teams around the world organize the local SFD events to impact their own communities."

If you are one of the first 200 teams to be registered, they send you stuff like shirts, brochures, and others to give away.

Open Access Week

"To broaden awareness and understanding of Open Access"

Free Culture Gaming!

Free Culture Gaming

Popular/High-quality FOSS games


  • Clay Shirky - Studies Internet culture and the effect it has on mobilization. He is a popular speaker, and perhaps difficult to reserve, but located in the NYC area, where he teaches at NYU.
  • Nelson Pavlosky - Co-founder of SFC. Recently co-founded an open source internet startup called OpenHatch with other SFC alumns. Currently in between projects.
  • Elizabeth Stark - Is a former member of the SFC board and teaches at Yale.
  • Fred Benenson - Is a former member of the SFC board and now works for Creative Commons. In 2009-10, he is teaching a course on copyright at his alma mater of NYU.
  • Cory Doctorow - Co-author of Scifi author who releases all his work under a CC License. Formerly of the EFF and current activist on free culture topics.
  • Michael Zimmer - Asst. Professor at the University of Wisconsin, primarily concerned with digital privacy and the implications of social networking sites.
  • David Weinberger - Ground-breaking Internet theorist. (Co-) Author of Cluetrain Manifesto, Small Pieces Loosely Joined, and Everything is Miscellaneous. Adviser on Internet policy to Dean and Edwards Presidential campaigns.

Bigger Events

TODO: elaborate these with actual examples

  • Bring a speaker to campus (one of the filmmakers, perhaps?)
  • Put on an art exhibition
  • GNU/Linux installfest
  • Hackathon on wikipedia, or a software project
  • Throwing a big dance party
  • Coordinated political action
  • Have a cook-off and make a collaborative cookbook
  • Big LAN party with free/open computer games