1. Protect your brand, patent and copyrights for good
You need to be able to protect your trademarks from unscrupulous companies, organizations or people who, by being masters of deception, will attack you from every angle in order to bring down your brilliance and feed their own parasitic personality.
You need to have some form of intellectual property rights in place to protect those with the legal resources from coming after you. There have been many-a-genius whose lack of monetary resources has fallen victim to bureaucratic adversity.
Consider filing a patent if necessary with the U.S. Patent Office (or similar). Consider going to a site like legalzoom.com and filing a trademark or copyright.
2. Give it away, make it transparent, make it accessible
The perfect example of protecting common good is the GPL and Creative Commons licensing systems. These are both good places to license your work under, since they have the power and equity to back up their claims. They are used by many people –from an individual to a multinational corporation. They also have a huge community base that will help support your entity.
If you want to take it a step further, consider releasing your works into the Public Domain. This ensures 100% access by anyone, for anything. If you feel that it might be too easy for nefarious peoples to abuse your product, then revert back to the Creative Commons or GPL licensing. This should cover 99.99% of the legal worries there.
Update (1/31/2011): as the increasing debate over net neutrality and even net access heightens, the need for open communication is paramount. Wired magazine has put together a Wiki article that shows how to continue the communication flow even in a scenario whereby a government could in theory, shut off internet access to particularly IP ranges, e.g. communities, cities or states.
3. Disseminate information whenever possible
Information dissemination can be a very powerful tool. The viral age that has descended upon us has shown that anyone with a mic and a webcam can have 1,000,0000+ YouTube views in a matter of months.
Disseminating information is not hard. The more quality information disseminated, the better. This allows for multiple redundancies that while causing fragmentation, ensures no one piece of information can be lost forever. Just imagine what the world would be like if the Library of Alexandria had not been destroyed, but rather reproduced ten times over and distributed globally.
Below are some examples of dissemination streams that you can start using right now.
- PRINT: You can download free design templates, get them printed for very cheap at places like printrunner, psprint, vistaprint and more. Try stickers, postcards, pamphlets.
- CD/DVD/USB Stick: You can burn CDs of information, documents, videos. And distribute them in public places like libraries or colleges.
- Online: You can create websites, forums, social networks, chat channels, groups and other discussion paradigms for free or cheap on the web. Sites like tumblr.com, facebook.com, google groups, wordpress.com, blogger.com, and resources like usenet, IRC etc... will give you a lot of power in little time. In some cases you can make a little money or give to charity too (squidoo.com)
4. Ostracize and criticize those who attack benevolence
Make it your aim to target and hold accountable those who try to confuse or prey upon the good guys. Whether it be on the street or on a forum, you can find these creeps anywhere. They are men and women, black and white, young and old. It doesn’t matter where they live or where they come from, it matters only (in the words of MLK Jr.) “The content of their character.”
How do you ostracize these people? Simply remove them from the conversation. You don’t have to cover up tracks or be sneaky either. You just need to adapt in a way that makes these people redundant.
Don’t argue with them; don’t let them hijack words or meaning to suit their own needs. You will find the art of persuasion helpful in your cause, but use it sparingly, as you don’t want to get in the habit of persuading people. Use the greek reasoning method of “Pathos, Ethos and Logos” or “Logic, Credibility and Emotion.”
5. Watch out for empty arguments and logical fallacies
People will often try to use logical fallacies to persuade you. These are empty and ignorant. For a list of such fallacies, check out all the logical fallacies here. Ad hominem’s are probably the most common. They are basically a personal attack, meant to derail the conversation into a petty fight. They always lead to a spiral of name-calling and they do not do anything good. A great example of Ad Hominems is the comment section of video sites or most any news blog/article. Don’t let your argument fall victim to this; nip it in the bud immediately, by perhaps ignoring the person, ending the conversation or simply moving on to a new topic. If you’re feeling crafty, try complimenting the person. This is the ultimate monkey wrench and if you are sincere, is particularly potent in a crowd setting.
6. Start an aggressive revolution
Sometimes we can’t just sit idly by and let the aggressors take charge of our lives. What I mean by an “aggressive revolution” is not necessarily violence, physical or digital.
But we ought to use our tongue and our brains, to spear these people right in the heart. Perhaps we can give them a second chance, pick them up and dust them off, but first and foremost: we must bring them down.
7. Walk the walk, don't kowtow to the status quo
Most of all, stand your guard. Don’t talk a big talk, then forget to put your words into action. Nothing is more useless to the cause than someone who says they’ll do something, but doesn’t. Just remember you’ll be judged by your peers and you’ll be remembered by history. Don’t go down in infamy. We can all make a difference. Everything counts.
Examples of great resources that are protected
Check out this huge list of pre-compiled resources. I started making my own but then I saw this and decided to just link to it. If there’s something not posted there, feel free to list it here!