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Students for Free Culture, formerly known as FreeCulture.org, is an international student organization working to promote free culture ideals, such as cultural participation and access to information. It was inspired by the work of former Stanford, now Harvard, law professor Lawrence Lessig, who wrote the book Free Culture, and it frequently collaborates with other prominent free culture NGOs, including Creative Commons, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Public Knowledge. Students for Free Culture has over 30 chapters on college campuses around the world,[2] and a history of grassroots activism.

Students for Free Culture is sometimes referred to as "FreeCulture", "the Free Culture Movement", and other variations on the "free culture" theme, but none of those are its official name. It is officially Students for Free Culture, as set for in the new bylaws that were ratified by its chapters on October 1, 2007, which changed its name from FreeCulture.org to Students for Free Culture.[3]

Goals

Students for Free Culture has stated its goals in a "manifesto":

The mission of the Free Culture movement is to build a bottom-up, participatory structure to society and culture, rather than a top-down, closed, proprietary structure. Through the democratizing power of digital technology and the Internet, we can place the tools of creation and distribution, communication and collaboration, teaching and learning into the hands of the common person -- and with a truly active, connected, informed citizenry, injustice and oppression will slowly but surely vanish from the earth.[4]

It has yet to publish a more "official" mission statement, but some of its goals are:

  • decentralization of creativity—getting ordinary people and communities involved with art, science, journalism and other creative industries, especially through new technologies
  • reforming copyright, patent, and trademark law in the public interest, ensuring that new creators are not stifled by old creators
  • making important information available to the public

Purpose

According to its website,[5] Students for Free Culture has four main functions within the free culture movement:

  • Creating and providing resources for its chapters and for the general public
  • Outreach to youth and students
  • Networking with other people, companies and organizations in the free culture movement
  • Issue advocacy on behalf of its members

History

Initial stirrings at Swarthmore College

Students for Free Culture had its origins in the Swarthmore Coalition for the Digital Commons (SCDC), a student group at free culture ideals, such as cultural participation and access to information. It was inspired by the work of former Stanford, now Harvard, law professor Lawrence Lessig, who wrote the book Free Culture, and it frequently collaborates with other prominent free culture NGOs, including Creative Commons, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Public Knowledge. Students for Free Culture has over 30 chapters on college campuses around the world,[2] and a history of grassroots activism.

Students for Free Culture is sometimes referred to as "FreeCulture", "the Free Culture Movement", and other variations on the "free culture" theme, but none of those are its official name. It is officially Students for Free Culture, as set for in the new bylaws that were ratified by its chapters on October 1, 2007, which changed its name from FreeCulture.org to Students for Free Culture.[3]