Wanted: Political Candidates, Must Hate Software Patents

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 06, 2008

If you live in the U.S., it's hard to escape news about the upcoming presidential elections, but that isn't the only thing happening on the political front. There's a movement afoot to locate congressional candidates in the U.S. House and Senate who support copyright reform and other technology issues, and mobilize the open source community to get them re-elected.

GeekPAC, originally known as BytesFree.org, is a grassroots campaign designed to build political support and effect change in legislation surrounding net neutrality, copyright and DCMA reform, patent reform, and other issues near and dear to the open source and tech communities at large. The group's founder, John Mark Walker, says, “Many of us in the technology community have done a poor job of communicating to the general public why they should care about these issues. With GeekPAC, we hope to change that by driving thought leadership in this area and building a critical mass of concerned citizens who will be able to get the attention of their local politicians.”

To get things underway, Walker is hosting a Birds of a Feather (BoF) session at LinuxWorld Expo Wednesday evening called "Hacking the Election." It's part fundraiser, part getting-to-know-you opportunity. Walker and other GeekPAC members will be on hand to answer questions about the group's goals and organize volunteers.

As with any volunteer-led campaign, a small amount of working capital is needed to fund some of the formalities GeekPAC must get out of the way in order to enter the arena as a recognized Political Action Committee. Donations are being collected through Fundable, an online fundraising site that receives pledges and only collects money if the donation goal is reached -- in this case, $2,220. The money will be used to hire a lawyer to file the necessary paperwork with the Federal Elections Committee, and any funds left over will go toward reaching out to candidates around the country.

To learn more about GeekPAC's goals, read its mission statement or position paper online.