Archive:Protect Your Right to Tinker

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It is an innate human instinct to try to understand what surrounds us — from the natural world to the computerized devices that pervade our lives. Vital to that understanding is our ability to observe, experiment with, and modify our environment — processes that not only spur intellectual and scientific advancement, but also frequently yield technological innovation.

But the freedom to tinker — to make our current devices do new and incredible things — is being threatened by dangerous regulatory legislation:

  • In just six short years, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 has already stifled innovation and academic research.
  • The federally mandated so-called "broadcast flag" will go into effect July of 2005 and all digital television devices will be forced to include digital rights management, which will greatly restrict the production of new types of recording and communications devices.
  • The Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act (IICA), which was introduced into the Senate in June 2004, aims to spread legal liability to those who "induce" copyright infringement. Potential targets range from operators of peer-to-peer networks to open source programmers to tinkerers of all stripes.

The result of all this legislation? Innovation and advancement will be stifled, and future inventors will need more than simply novel ideas. They'll need expensive lawyers.

If you don't want this to be our future, join the Free Culture student movement and fight to protect your right to tinker.

Learn more: - the home of the international student movement for Free Culture - Free Culture's campaign to save the iPod from the IICA - Free Culture's fight to save future innovations from the IICA - the Electronic Frontier Foundation; fights to protect digital liberties - blog of Princeton computer science professor Ed Felton is an international student movement dedicated to defending a free and open cultural space and protecting public intellectual capital from privatization and exploitation. promotes a bottom-up, participatory structure to society and culture, in which cultural elements are accessible to all citizens for interpretation and innovation. sees opportunity in technology, opportunity to cultivate this intellectual commons, opportunity to build a culture to support and cultivate the new freedoms that we have found in the digital age.

Download flier as PDF - Updated to reflect wiki version as of 6:36PM EST on 8/27/04