Crowdsourced Agenda for Free Expression

From forming our own trans-pacific partnership to building a global pro-Internet community



Launching “Our Digital Future”



For the 17th round of TPP negotiations in Lima, Peru in May 2013, OpenMedia joined with coalition partners to organize distributed events taking place in Canada,15 New Zealand,16 and on the ground outside the negotiations.17 In Canada, organized a “Copyright Cabaret” in Vancouver. The event featured a diverse mix of web innovators, Internet freedom advocates, and renowned experts (including speakers Geof Glass, Martha Rans, Eric Ashdown, Kimberly Baker and Kirby Ferguson). We used this event to engage the public in the launch of “Our Digital Future,” a participatory conversation about how copyright laws impact sharing and creativity online. The public dialogue at these events helped shape the “Our Digital Future” recommendations, and the subsequent Listening Tour.

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Throughout the event, the audience was encouraged to interact in multiple ways: wearing nametags labeled with their twitter handles rather than first names; sitting in clustered group tables rather than single file and equipped with pens and cards for questions and comments; contributing cardboard tombstones to an “Innovation Graveyard” of online services that might be harmed by Internet censorship; being invited on stage for a reverse Q&A session; and being photographed at an interactive photo booth holding up their wishes for copyright on a mini-whiteboard [Image 5]. By creating multiple opportunities for input, OpenMedia aimed to empower event participants to see themselves as copyright experts already – that is, to see copyright as not so much legal jargon but as a tangible aspect of their daily lives.

Drawing an audience of over 150 people, the event sparked insightful feedback from participants. Most importantly, it brought together engaged and curious Internet users in a brainstorm fueled by timely, practical input from experts, and helped set the tone for the subsequent Listening Tour.

Internet Voice

“I think when it comes to fighting legislation or trade agreements that would negatively impact privacy or access to information on the Internet, we must recognize that our biggest strength is community. In our case, the online community. We can clearly see this if we look at the SOPA blackout,, and virtually any other campaigns for affecting legislation. The success of these efforts have always rested on two things: The ability to spread awareness and the ability for the public to present a united front. So when we ask “how do we stop current and future anti-Internet trade agreements?” to me the answer seems to be that we must build community. A global Internet activist community open to the public.”

– reddit user, March 2013 AMA