Donating to the EFF

December 12, 2004

Every year about this time, as I prepare to write a check to the EFF, I have a twinge of guilt. It is, after all, an institution that is predominantly of interest to one of the most privileged segments of our society. Instead of supporting Iraqis bombed out of their houses, or Sudanese refugees, or unemployed Americans, or the environment… I choose to funnel checks to the protector of abstract liberties for technocrats. I always feel apologetic and almost furtive about it.

In the end, I can only justify it because no one else cares. Yes, it’s self-interest on the part of the digerati… but that doesn’t make the Bill of Rights in the age of mechanical reproduction any less important. I can barely make intelligent, well-educated, First Amendment-loving non-techies even understand the issues, much less shell out buckage to fight the forces of Big Media and the police. And other interested parties, like librarians and small music publishers, don’t have massive financial resources to contribute. So I guess I’ll continue to squeamishly write my end of year checks, and follow the stories, and hope that the EFF’s finger in the dike buys us some time… but it’s sad that we have to pay money to wage a small rearguard action on behalf of the Constitution.

3 Responses to “Donating to the EFF”


  1. Troutgirl on donating to the EFF: In the end, I can only justify it because no one else cares. Yes, it’s self-interest on the part of the digerati… but that doesn’t make the Bill of Rights in the age of

  2. Dustin Mitchell (remember me?) Says:

    I totally feel your pain. Personnally, I don’t donate to the EFF, and I try to reign in my righteous indignation at the brutal tactics of the RIAA, MPAA, and BSA. I do donate to the ACLU, but even there I still have pangs of uncertainty. All in all, you make a great justification.

  3. Jon Says:

    The EFF is one of the only groups fighting for justice in IP in this country – that means they’re doing public education against the DMCA, the FTAA, and the recently-passed Australia-US Free Trade Agreement. This has profound implications both direct and indirect for folks with less privilege than American coders. It’s about whether Brazil and India can manufacture generic HIV meds. In the case of EFF Europe, it’s about narrowing the digital divide through OSS unencumbered by software patents.

    Protecting freedom of information here helps to protect freedom of information elsewhere, which is what makes alternatives possible.


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