Thanks to Greg DeKoenigsberg for the reminder and most of the letter text!
The Open College Textbook Act of 2009 - read it, go "DUDE THAT WOULD BE AWESOME, " and then go bother your senators to pass it. To make it as easy as possible for most of the people I know (students and recent grads in Massachusetts) to do so...
If you live in Massachusetts, your senators are Paul Kirk and John Kerry. For the latter, that link will take you straight to Kerry's contact form, and it will take you less than 30 seconds to copy-paste the below letter into the little box and click the "send" button. (Current students may want to delete the "As a recent college graduate" sentence clause at the start of the 3rd paragraph, but I wrote it so you could do that and the capitalization and grammar would still work if you did.)
Paul Kirk does not have electronic contact information that I could find. The link I listed above contains his phone number (it's 202-224-4543), so you can call him now and say "this is <your name> from <city>, Massachusetts; I'm calling to ask Senator Kirk to support the Open College Textbook Act of 2009, thank you!" and you are done. However, I know how hard it is to break out of one's computer-happy flow state even for something like a phone call, so: if you post your name and as much of your address (city and state should be sufficient) in the comments below, I will print out and mail a letter for you. Or rather, I'll add your info to the bottom of my printed letter, resulting in Sen. Kirk getting one letter with a bunch of names and cities on it. Not as great as a lot of letters, but at least it's something.
What are you waiting for? Go! Go!
I'm writing to ask you to support the Open College Textbook Act of 2009.
In particular, I would like to call attention to the text of Section 5a: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, educational materials such as curricula and textbooks created through grants distributed by Federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, for use in elementary, secondary, or postsecondary courses shall be licensed under an open license."
As a recent college graduate, I've experienced firsthand the great things you can learn from textbooks, as well as the financial sting it currently takes to obtain them. As a student, I was told that someone had to pay for textbooks to be written, and if you wanted to read them, you should pay for them. As a taxpayer, I am already funding the creation of educational materials - and I'd like to read them. If the public pays for something, the public should be able to use it; I want to be absolutely certain that those materials are placed into the commons, where everybody may make use of them.
I think this is a great bill, and long overdue. I hope that we can count on your support when it comes time to vote on it.
Thanks for everything you do for Massachusetts.