When it comes to government decisions that will affect all of us, OpenMedia doesn’t just want a seat at the table – instead, we actively work to put citizens at the center of government decision-making, and our own decision-making as an organization. In order to include as broad a community as possible in the conversation about copyright laws, we came up with several online engagement tools and strategies that were as simple and user-friendly as possible. We were motivated by the belief that copyright should be an everyday issue, one that can be understood based on its impact on our daily lived experiences with the Internet and other technologies.
The “Our Digital Future” consultation included a range of activities, platforms and tools. Over two years we connected with citizens and other stakeholders using several social media platforms, online petition tools, our ‘Internet Voice’ tool and crowdsourcing drag-and-drop tool, a multi-country listening tour and the hosting or review of several interactive in-person events, policy letters, and a real-time online townhall. Working with several partners we also sought to connect our process directly with decision-makers to increase our impact and to inspire greater participation – we know that one of the best ways to engage citizens is to show how their input is being brought before decision-makers.
Our approach engaged a diverse range of stakeholders from those who only use the Internet to check their email, to web entrepreneurs, to software developers. Copyright should be determined by all of us, not just a select few with extensive legal expertise, who are overwhelmingly hired by entrenched interests. After all, the Internet is our shared public platform – all those who use it should be engaged in key decisions that will shape its future. Through “Our Digital Future,” we’ve experimented with a more inclusive policy-making process – these are seeds that our political institutions now need to tend and water, so they can flourish into a healthy, living democracy that supports sharing, creativity and free expression.
“On the Internet, free expression, creativity, education, public discourse and debate thrive like never before. The courts of the United States are already acknowledging that patent reform is needed. Copyright laws are also in desperate need of reform. The big companies scream infringement when none is intended. Do not simply hand the Internet to multinational corporations and lawyers. The people of the world finally have a voice.”
– Chris, Sweden