The Content Industry Is Designing Anti-Piracy Lesson Plans for Kids

Illustration for article titled The Content Industry Is Designing Anti-Piracy Lesson Plans for Kids

This painfully reductive video obtained by Wired represents what the movie and recording industries want our kids to know about copyright. It does a really nice job of making "share" sound like a bad word.

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The video—which was designed for sixth graders—explains that illegally sharing copyrighted material puts working creative people out of work. Which is true to a certain point. And from what we can tell, the lesson doesn't go so far as to indoctrinate children into some of the more controversial pro-censorship views of the content industry.

Now, while there's nothing objectionable per se in the video, it's a little weird that the Center for Copyright Information is getting involved in designing lesson plans. Launched last year as a pro-industry lobby, er, "education group," the CCI was basically created to administer the Copyright Alert System. The "six-strike" response system seeks to teach baddies caught pirating content that what they're doing is wrong, as well as to make sure they know there are legal options for obtaining content. If offenders don't learn, their ISP will throttle their data connection. It's simple, mostly painless, and importantly, it keeps hapless people from getting sued into oblivion.

So far, there's no data on whether or not the seven-month-old effort is having any effect. Even if it is, we should all ask ourselves where the CCI's impact should begin and end. Do you want lobbyist groups designing lesson plans for your kids? [Wired]

DISCUSSION

"Do you want lobbyist groups designing lesson plans for your kids?" That's a loaded question, because the obvious answer is Hell no. Lobbyists, by their very nature, are not people who present nuanced, balanced views of anything. I am old enough to have violated copyrights by some of the most primitive means possible: in the early '80's I'd borrow my dad's mono tape recorder, invert it on top of my clock radio and record songs from the radio. They'd sound like shit, but then I could listen to Dr. Demento whenever I wanted, AND share my hilarious discoveries with my friends. This blatant thievery cost the authors zero dollars, as I had no money to buy said recordings at 11 year old and neither did my friends- but it made us aware of acts like Monty Python, the Frantics, Weird Al, the Young Ones, Kip Adata, and a whole host of other people who in adulthood I would grow to actually spend real grownup money buying crap from. The same thing is true of my little girls and their unholy obsession with what passes for music these days. Sharing music with your friends is a rite of passage that probably goes back way further than that, and while it might be technically similar to wholesale torrenting and file sharing from strangers it feels qualitatively different. If I'm an artist and two elementary school kids like my music and expose their friends to it and increase my audience, I'm stoked, especially when they don't have any freaking money to begin with.