What is document freedom?

Have you ever been stuck with some data that you
have not been able to open because it was in a format that needs some
specific kind of software to open it? The same thing
happens tens of thousands of times each day. Can you imagine how much
knowledge exchange doesn’t happen just because sender and receiver
(intentionally or not) are using different data formats? Can you imagine how
much knowledge future generations will lose if we keep on using proprietary,
closed data formats that one day no one will ever be able to open because
the company behind it had business secrets and patents on it but then went

Open Standards, on the other hand, are data formats that have an open
documentation and everyone is free to use or implement in their own
software. The first characteristic (open documentation) guarantees that now
and even in a hundred of years everybody interested can understand the data
format and read it. The second characteristic (free to use) guarantees that
now and in even in a hundred years everybody is free to write some piece of
software to give everyone else the ability to read a specific piece of data.
That is why everyone and every public institution should be using Open Standards.

This is exactly the point where our document freedom campaign comes in.
Every year on the last Wednesday of March, the Free Software Foundation
runs a global campaign that is called
“Document Freedom Day”. The aim of the campaign
is to raise awareness of the usefulness of Open Standards. Therefore we
encourage local groups to organise an event that highlights the
importance of the use of Open Standards. Last year there were more than
50 events in more than 20 countries
. This year, Document Freedom Day
(DFD) will be on the 27th of March 2013.

The most important part of the whole campaign is done by guys like you and
me! In order to celebrate information accessibility and Open Standards, we
heavily depend on local activity on public places, in universities, in
hackerspaces or everywhere you can imagine. I am pretty sure that you have
very good ideas what you can do to raise some attention.

If you are interested, please have a look at some ideas of what you can
and feel free to support your event with our promotion material
that you can order for no cost. You can order the material on the webpage. Finally, if you are planning some activity, don’t
forget to register your event on our events page.

Thank you very much for your attention.
Your participation in Document Freedom Day can make the difference!

Images: Last year’s audience in Jakarta; DFD around the world; Document Freedom Day in Rio de Janeiro. All CC-BY-SA

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Erik is a political scientist and activist. He's long been concerned about user and software freedom. After his studies, Erik did an internship in the Free Software Foundation Europe, where he got involved in the Policy Team. Since 2012, he has been working for FSFE's campaigns team and community. Erik's political interest are democratization, participation and freedom of speech. His legal interests are in copyright and patent law.

2 thoughts on “Document Freedom Day 2013”

  1. Nice Article Erik, We(OKFN Nepal) is celeberating this day by organizing small meetup in march 27in Nepal.

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