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Students Fight Copyright Hoarders

Thursday, January 1, 2004

Abstract

Students at about a dozen colleges and universities have started organizations called Free Culture groups to educate other students about copyright and fight what they see as a tilting of the law to favor copyright owners. The first Free Culture group was started by Swarthmore College student Nelson Pavlosky, known for his successful legal challenge to Diebold Election Systems' use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in trying to suppress leaked company memos.Pavlosky and other Free Culture organizers want college-age people to understand how copyrights have changed in the electronic era, particularly with respect to legislation such as the proposed Induce Act. Pavlosky acknowledged that a danger of the Free Culture groups is that participants will simply be seen as "rich white kids who want free music." Jessica Litman, a law professor at Wayne State University and a speaker at a meeting of the Free Culture groups, noted that copyright law is traditionally written by lobbyists who represent copyright owners and said that consumers should be included in that process.

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