Big Fat Brussels Meeting April 2013. 1st meeting of EU-Policy Working group

Spring’s here again and we’re calling everyone to a strategy meet-up in Brussels! Join us in constructing our strategies and charming our way into EU policy-makers hearts and minds! Wikimedians along with all Free Knowledge enthusiasts are invited to help figure out our next steps in Europe. Prior knowledge about the Wikiverse or the intricate advocacy system is not necessary – diverse points of view produce better results!

Grouping the activists

At the first first Big Fat Brussels Meeting we discussed the inadequateness of the current copyright framework and focused on making some defining organizational decisions. As a result, a contact person in Brussels was implemented to monitor the EU, provide political intelligence, serve as a go-to point on EU issues within the Wikiverse and build up a network with other locally active organizations.

To establish our thematic focus, we mapped relevant issues (kudos to Anna Lena Schiller) and ran them in a community survey. The final step was to write out – as a group of European Wikimedia Chapters – a Statement of Intent, which was afterwards approved by the respective boards. This was done in London at the Wikimedia UK offices and will perhaps one day be considered the founding document of the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU. The whole process can be regarded as an effort to define our goals, as well as define those who will help achieve it.

Activating the group

The Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU monitored and analyzed exciting topics like net neutrality and data protection for their possible effects on Wikimedia projects. We were also challenged to appear on stage on a few occasions: We drafted model answers for the European Commission copyright consultation, requested a study on the “economic benefits of the public domain and open licensing to the European economy” and tried to save (+here) the Collective Rights Management Directive in a last minute attempt.

Big Fat Brussels Meeting Vol. 2

To keep up the momentum we are planning a second meet-up on the 24th and 25th of April in Brussels. Together with UNESCO we’re organizing an event on cultural heritage and mass digitization to honor World Book and Copyright Day. This will include speakers by the British Library, the European Commission and the European Publishers Federation.

Scientia potentia est (knowledge is power)

The fact that wisdom and knowledge can translate into influence is very visible in the field of advocacy. Only if we’re regularly well-informed about current political climate and demonstrate in-depth knowledge of our core issues, might we one day have the chance to push legislative changes through the system. We’re positive that we have plenty of useful information and expertise going around in the Wikiverse, we just need to network it in a sensible way. Our goal remains giving our movement an active group that promotes the concept of Free Knowledge in legislation and policy. Everyone’s welcome to join!

Dmitar Dimitrov has been a Wikimedian in Brussels since July 2013. In assorted blogposts he talks about his experiences vis-à-vis the EU.