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Unpacking an activist toolbox: EFF's tools and tips for effective copyright advocacy

Maira Sutton
Global Policy Analyst, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

Parker Higgins
Activist, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

Creative Commons Global Summit 2015, Seoul, Korea

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Unpacking an activist toolbox: EFF's tools and tips for effective copyright advocacy

  1. 1. Unpacking an Activist Toolbox EFF's Tools and Tips for Effective Copyright Advocacy Maira Sutton, Global Policy Analyst Parker Higgins, Activist
  2. 2. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 The Challenges • Diffuse interest countering a concentrated power • Sorry to break it to you folks, but copyright policy is not, by default, very interesting to mere mortals • The irrational arguments against sensible policy can feel very strong – Starving artists! – That's stealing! – Property!
  3. 3. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 Theory of change ● “I am increasingly convinced that the difference between effective and ineffective people is their skill at developing a theory of change.” –Aaron Swartz ● Move backwards from the outcome you want, not forwards from what you know
  4. 4. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 ● Not always explicit, but it can help! ● Will “awareness” drive policymakers to make better decisions? ● Can public pressure convince a platform to implement better policies? ● Will a well-placed message or anecdote reframe the debate?
  5. 5. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 ● OR do we really need something less glamorous, but just as important? Is it just about making sure the right people hear the right thing at the right time? ● Not every campaign has to be a blow-out grassroots uprising
  6. 6. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 Walking the talk EFF's core values, around privacy and empowering users, shapes the campaigns we run
  7. 7. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 ● We don't collect more data than necessary or use “tricks,” so our absolute numbers may be lower ● BUT we can really embrace the sharing ethos, and our campaign messages spread further than we could push it
  8. 8. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 What did we need from our tools? ● Deploy attractive web pages quickly that explain issues and urge users to action ● Contacting legislators, signing a petition, picking up the phone, tweeting a message* ● Control as much of the stack as possible, after SOPA headaches
  9. 9. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 *an aside on tweeting ● Often lumped in with “clicktivism,” but let's talk theory of change! ● Lawmakers still frequently check their own Twitter accounts, and a few well- placed tweets matter ● It comes up in hearings! It's wild!
  10. 10. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 The result: Action Center
  11. 11. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 Petition action
  12. 12. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 Contact congress action
  13. 13. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 Tweet action
  14. 14. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 Built on contact-congress
  15. 15. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 democracy.io
  16. 16. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 What about social media? ● Awareness-raising and messaging efforts are totally valid and can be exciting campaigns ● Where do we do these? Follow Sutton's Law, and go to the platforms people use ● But prepare to invest time. It takes effort to meet people where they are.
  17. 17. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 Twitter campaigns ● Images, images, images. Current trend is ~2:1 ● Look at how SOPA coverage unfolded! ● Think about theory of change. Right now, you can ask yourself the Snowden question.
  18. 18. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 ● Really, can't overstate the importance of knowing the platform. This is a cost of doing business. ● You should be able to tell a story of who will be taking part
  19. 19. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 Hashtags? ● EFF basically does not use hashtags. ● Why? Well, for one thing, they make your tweet uglier. ● But also, you lose control of the arena. ● And, they don't provide much value to the people you're trying to convince
  20. 20. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 Exceptions! ● Hashtags are great for names of people, for news around a story, or that very rare opportunity where people can run with it
  21. 21. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 #freebassel
  22. 22. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 #tellviceverything
  23. 23. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 Other messaging guidelines ● Think about the words you're using – Can we avoid “intellectual property”? – Do you mean copyright “protection”? Or do you mean “restriction”? ● Verbs. Gotta love verbs. Especially action verbs. ● First few characters before people stop reading
  24. 24. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 Big room discussion ● Let's talk about campaigns or strategies or tactics that you've led, worked on, participated in, or just observed. Local and regional are a big plus! ● What worked, and what didn't? ● What software or tech would have helped you? How can we get that to you?
  25. 25. CC Summit, 2015-10-16 questions? Parker Higgins // parker@eff.org // @xor Maira Sutton // maira@eff.org // @maira