The Internet has changed the way we communicate, empowered civil societies and strengthened ordinary people in democratic and non-democratic countries alike.

But we have come to take it for granted.

The restrictive online policies developed over the years, with climaxes such as SOPA and ACTA, have surprised many of us. And their implications are serious: hindrances to creativity and innovation; threats to democracy and privacy; endangering basic principles, such as equality and neutrality.

“Can they do this to our Internet?”, we asked ourselves, with each new such bill. My take is that they surely can, but only if we remain uninformed users. Uninformed about our rights and obligations (which we usually just “tick” away when agreeing to the Terms of Use); unaware of the possibilities and opportunities the Internet gives us, by opening new worlds and new ways of communicating with others, new ways of working, creating, sharing and remixing ideas.

Recommended reading on online copyright, net neutrality, surveillance, hacking, privacy

Every issue has more than one side and each of these sides can be approached from different perspectives. And, beyond staying informed as individuals, we all depend on each other, in becoming the critical mass that can change things for the better. In one of his articles, Rick Falkvinge, the founder of the Pirate Party, talks about how discouraging the battle against copyright monopolies can be. Nevertheless, he highlights a couple of things we can all do:

When hundreds of thousands of people do these small things, it has a tremendous effect”. One of the actions he encourages us to take is to share: “Share articles with your social network on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Two kinds of articles are particularly valuable – those that expose the copyright industry’s bottomless cynicism, and those that propose a better alternative.

But let’s not just stop at copyright – since it is not the only issue that affects the Internet – and let’s share more than just articles.

This is the idea on which the Copy-me Resources section was founded – as a way of celebrating, contributing and sharing information. Together, we can build one of the most well documented sources of informative materials on our favorite subjects: copyright, net neutrality, surveillance, illegal downloading, software, spam, hacking, privacy and everything else related.

The Resources page has several sections:

  • Video Resources, where you can find Documentaries, lectures, Short Films and even inspiring TEDTalks;
  • We select the most interesting, well-argued and thought provoking reads out there in the Books page;
  • In the Publications section, you can find several academic journals’ special editions dedicated to our subjects of interest and other online publications that devote most of their editorial space to these;
  • The Studies and Reports section is the place where you can find reviews of and studies on the implementation of policies and laws and their impact on the Internet. Moreover, that’s where you can also find research studies carried out by media and Internet organizations and institutes;
  • We believe that, for a better understanding of current events and their context, one also has to turn to the Official documents, which the law makers bring into existence. Legislation might be hard to read, which is why this section also contains official green papers (= “government document that proposes and invites discussion on approaches to a problem” – cf. Merriam-Webster.com). It also includes reports with detailed explanations taken at the legislative level;
  • You can create your own periodic reading list with the help of our Blogs section. This is a dedicated blog roll of sorts, with information on the most important blogs that discuss copyright, net neutrality, surveillance, software, spam, hacking, privacy, etc..
  • You can also keep an eye out on some of the most active organizations in the world that fight for our rights, as well as for keeping the Internet as free as possible. You will find links to their websites in our Organizations section.
  • We know that time is money and our exhaustive Resources section may seem overwhelming at first. Fear not, we’ve even got a starter kit for you. The Recommended Works section features the hottest materials you should read. We’re sure you won’t be able to stop at those alone!

We gladly welcome your contribution, thoughts or suggestions regarding recommended reading on online copyright, as well as on how we can improve the Resources section. Leave us a comment or drop us a line via e-mail at info [at] copy-me.org and share your information and ideas with us.

And thank you.

Illustration by: Hobolunchbox