Archive:About

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Launched in April 2004 at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pa., FreeCulture.org is non-partisan, not-for-profit group of student activists dedicated to promoting the power of technology to enable cultural participation. Named after the book "Free Culture" by Stanford Law professor Lawrence Lessig, FreeCulture.org is part of a growing movement, with roots in the free software / open source community, media activism, the blogosphere, and civil liberties groups. FreeCulture.org was founded by two Swarthmore students, after they sued voting-machine manufacturer Diebold, Inc. in 2003 for abusing copyright law. Today, Free Culture groups exist at nine colleges, from Maine to California, with more starting up across the United States and around the world. Groups with which FreeCulture.org has collaborated include the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, Creative Commons and Downhill Battle.

FreeCulture.org has two major functions: building a network of local chapters at campuses and community centers around the world, and from that assembling an international movement which can provide resources for the local chapters and organize broad, internet-based campaigns.

We approach our activism in a bottom-up fashion: although we do fight bad legislation, and occasionally involve ourselves in court cases, we try to focus on community-based solutions, which require neither changes in our laws nor our political structure. Our organization does not oppose business or capitalism per se, nor do we oppose people making money from their work. We do not advocate the overthrow of the government, notwithstanding the countless hours of entertainment which a good revolution would provide.

Although we have an overrepresentation of pasty computer geeks, due to the importance of technology to our movement, we draw our support from all demographics and all walks of life, including artists, journalists, biomed activists, you name it. You do not need to be technically inclined or attending a college or university to be involved, although it may be easier if you are. You certainly do not need to be a political radical; FreeCulture.org is intended to be a mainstream organization.

Board of Directors

  • Nelson Pavlosky, Swarthmore College
  • Gavin Baker, University of Florida
  • Nicholas Bergson-Shilcock, Franklin & Marshall College

Steering Committee

  • Nelson Pavlosky
  • Gavin Baker
  • Abhay Kumar (alumnus, New York University)
  • Stephen Compall (University of Evansville)
  • Elizabeth Stark (Harvard University Law School)
  • Benjamin Li (University of Miami)
  • Fred Benenson (New York University)
  • Asheesh Laroia (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Aphid Stern (University of California - Santa Cruz)