Wait, Was That An RIAA Education Campaign... Or Is It About Turning Schoolkids Into Unpaid Shills?

from the why-is-this-in-our-schools? dept

We recently took a look at the many problems with the RIAA's "educational materials" that it's pushing on schools. The EFF (who has its own -- much more accurate -- curriculum for schools) has noticed one other significant problem with the RIAA's propaganda material. They include an exercise that involves having schoolkids pitch local newspapers and TV stations to present propaganda:
Imagine that you are in the music industry... With your team of fellow music industry employees, plan an information campaign that lets others know why it's important to get their music the right way... You'll want to convince your classmates that your teams' plan is the one that will become the class project!

Challenge: Take your campaign a step further by contacting the editor of your community newspaper or the director of your community cable television station to see if you can submit an article or video about your campaign.
Of course, since we were suggesting more reasonable responses to the RIAA's proposals, why not have those same kids do a class project where they talk about artists who have embraced what their fans want, and have showed that it's possible to do quite well with models that don't involve going to war with your best fans. In the meantime, we're still wondering why any school would use obviously biased materials from an industry association, rather than impartial materials that are actually accurate? Does anyone know of any schools that use the RIAA's materials? We'd love to speak to some teachers who do...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Doctor Strange, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 1:35pm

    In the meantime, we're still wondering why any school would use obviously biased materials from an industry association, rather than impartial materials that are actually accurate?

    I hope you are not implying that the EFF's "Teaching Copyright" curriculum is impartial. It is extraordinarily biased, although perhaps only to an 80% level compared to the ridiculous levels of the materials from the various industry groups.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Designerfx (profile), Sep 18th, 2009 @ 1:36pm

    soft bribes

    that's what the RIAA would very likely do in order to get a school to "Teach" this "lesson". Aka music discounts or providing school software/hardware such as new computers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 1:37pm

    Re:

    ...not to mention it reads like a legal textbook way above the heads of most laymen, much less K-12 students.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Sep 18th, 2009 @ 1:50pm

    Re:

    Have you examined the EFF's curriculum or are you giving an exemplary example of being prejudgmental?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 18th, 2009 @ 1:52pm

    My question from before remains

    What in the world is this type of curriculum, on EITHER side of this argument, doing in a K-12 school?

    More importanty, why is the RIAA able to bend the ear of those in charge of curriculum? I'll go back to what I've said before: allowing industry to determine curriculum is an extraordinarly BAD idea....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 2:06pm

    As if any kid who likes music gives a crap about the RIAA's 'teaching material' or new music business models. The threat of actual jail time is ineffective at dissuading kids from underage drinking or illicit drug use so what dip stick believes this 'educational material' will have any impact whatsoever?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Pitabred, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 2:28pm

    Re:

    The EFF's copyright position can be backed up by research and facts. The RIAA's campaign cannot claim the same.

    Personally, I'm in favor of teaching my kids facts, and letting them form their own opinions from the facts. But that's just me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    maclizard (profile), Sep 18th, 2009 @ 2:29pm

    Growing up I never once thought about going through the trouble of placing a video camera in a dark room pointed at a TV in order to copy a VHS to circumvent the copy-protection on it. However, my step-father did so hundreds of times, and being proud of his bootlegging has since told me all about it. Now I have knowledge of a method to illegally copy a VHS tape.

    I wonder how many kids would have never thought to download music illegally that will now have knowledge of a practice that will fizzle out given the opportunity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    Elohssa (profile), Sep 18th, 2009 @ 2:51pm

    Re:

    "what dip stick believes this 'educational material' will have any impact whatsoever?"

    The organizations that are presenting this are sloshing over with sweet cash money, and they are headed by friends of the family (public education unions andor industry.)

    And never doubt this all gets filed as a charitable act.

    No one cares whether it is effective. The worst thing that could happen would be if the program was too effective, because then it wouldn't be able to justify itself in the future.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    william (profile), Sep 18th, 2009 @ 3:27pm

    Techdirt Educational Material

    wouldn't it be interesting, if Techdirt actually put out their own curriculum?

    Wait, wouldn't it be Much More interesting, if we crowdsource this curriculum and have techdirt or eff editors check over it for correctness?

    Wait, WAIT! Wouldn't it be EVEN MORE interesting, if we let the higher grade students crowdsource a curriculum on copyright for lower grade students and have techdirt or eff or some learned people edit it for correctness?

    Hmm... perhaps I am onto something here... or not.

    ;-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    net625, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Techdirt Educational Material

    I am a senior in High school. I like it. But it would be interesting to know what my econ teacher thinks of copyright law and if he is going to teach about it. Then I could ditch that day and come out on top.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    antitheman, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 5:30pm

    not in the school I work for! (at least until they fire me hehe)

    I teach computer classes to HS students at a California public charter school. I teach my students what is the law. Then I teach 'em how to use peer guardian, torrent client's and where to go. I also teach them how evil the MPAA, RIAA etc are. I feel it is my moral duty.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 6:10pm

    Re: Re:

    We can not have communism taught in our schools /s

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Doctor Strange, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 6:13pm

    Re: Re:

    I have reviewed the EFF's curriculum thoroughly. Have you?

    Let's assume it is strictly accurate. Even so, it is, as I noted, extraordinarily biased, through selective presentation of facts and opinions.

    The most egregious example is on the "copy quiz":

    The Motion Picture Association of America has anti-piracy sniffing dogs.
    True. According to the MPAA, they've trained two black Labradors named "Lucky" and "Flo" to sniff out DVD piracy.


    Is this factually true? Sure. But what is the purpose of this question? It's to denigrate the MPAA. It's not to teach anything about copyright. (The dogs, if I recall right, are not sniffing out "piracy," per se, but counterfeit DVDs.)

    The remainder of the campaign focuses disproportionately on the limits of copyright. It is clear that the message of this curriculum is that copyright needs to be returned to the original limits set at the time the Constitution was drafted. That is not a fact, that's an organization's subjective position.

    Surprise surprise, these are exactly the feelings of founding EFF member John Perry Barlow. Mitch Kapor, the other founder, is less specific about his feelings on copyright, but clearly thinks that things need to be more limited than they are.

    The remainder of the campaign focuses disproportionately on the limits of copyright, and positions supporting the limits of copyright. There is no serious discussion of anyone benefiting from copyright protection at all (a few references exist to compensating creators, but these are always couched).

    The irony, of course, is that Mitch Kapor made the (many) millions of dollars he uses to spend so much time founding and bankrolling the EFF and flying from speaking engagement to speaking engagement on his private jet (no, this is not hyperbole) thanks to selling copyrighted software.

    The two papers assigned for homework in the first lesson are both paeans to weakened copyright.

    The lesson about P2P has a first exercise where the discussion surrounds an Unnamed Big Industry Organization suing a 12-year-old girl. Is there a case of this happening? Probably. Is this typical? If you're going to pick a case, why not pick one where the case was against an adult who knew better, and then lied about it, or maybe just lied about it until changing his position at the last minute on the stand?

    Despite Fair Use being a tiny portion of the actual copyright statute (even among many other limitations of copyright that are not "fair use"), it is the focus on 40% of the lessons in this curriculum.

    Copyright is an interesting subject that should be debated. A good curriculum would present the strongest arguments from both sides, but neither the industry nor the EFF curriculum come close to achieving this. The industry curriculum is histrionic, and the EFF curriculum is reactionary, and both are deeply biased.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Doctor Strange, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 6:17pm

    Re: Re:

    The EFF's copyright position can be backed up by research and facts. The RIAA's campaign cannot claim the same.

    Both positions can be backed up by research and facts, if you select the correct research and facts and draw the correct conclusions from them.

    That both sides have developed a curriculum based on research and facts that only support their own positions is the tragedy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Doctor Strange, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 8:34pm

    Re: not in the school I work for! (at least until they fire me hehe)

    I teach computer classes to HS students at a California public charter school. I teach my students what is the law. Then I teach 'em how to use peer guardian, torrent client's and where to go. I also teach them how evil the MPAA, RIAA etc are. I feel it is my moral duty.

    Sorry, this is just really funny to me. How about this:

    1. First, let's take away your government-granted monopoly that legally requires your students to show up for your class.

    2. Let's also take away the union, so you can compete fairly with the other players.

    3. Let's also give anyone who wants to teach the opportunity to do so, and let kids choose which teacher (not just school) they're going to go to. If they go to one at all.

    4. Then, rather than pay you directly based on how many students show up, we'll give the money to the students instead. At the end of the class when you're done lecturing, they can pay you whatever they feel you earned, down to and including $0.

    5. The student at the back of the class will also be camcorder-ing your lectures and Xeroxing your instructional materials, and putting them up on the Internet. He will be making money off of ads that are placed alongside all this, but you won't get any.

    OK? Sound fair?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    yangyang (profile), Sep 18th, 2009 @ 9:44pm

    Re: Re: not in the school I work for! (at least until they fire me hehe)

    5. The student at the back of the class will also be camcorder-ing your lectures and Xeroxing your instructional materials, and putting them up on the Internet. He will be making money off of ads that are placed alongside all this, but you won't get any.

    If you camcorder yourself and xerox (would be better to scan) your instructional materials and then put this on Internet YOU can make money off the adds.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 18th, 2009 @ 10:15pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Your comments are a breath of fresh air in threads such as this.

    Each side is presenting something that reflects varying degrees of bias, but at least the RIAA is trying to distill a complex subject into something that is relatively understandable. In contrast, the EFF presents the equivalent of a legal treatise that even I, a copyright lawyer, have difficulty staying awake while reading.

    Of course, this is all a tempest in a teapot since no school will likely give either "curriculum" even a passing thought. Each will be consigned to the "round file" and added to our nation's landfills.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2009 @ 5:19am

    RIAA needs education.

    Fawk'Em!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    luckybleu, Sep 19th, 2009 @ 7:35am

    yet many were enraged when Obama wanted to address school children,but the riaa is OK?Whats next blackwater sending out recruitment letters?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    antitheman, Sep 19th, 2009 @ 8:52am

    actually, you make some great points!

    ...even though I know you did not mean to. Much of what you say would help fix our education system! I don't work in a union school, so we "compete" against union schools for students already (they don't like us.) And we are a school of choice, kids don't have to come to our school, they want to....

    "3. Let's also give anyone who wants to teach the opportunity to do so, and let kids choose which teacher (not just school) they're going to go to. If they go to one at all."

    This is also an excellent idea!!!! You should be in education you could help fix it! this would foster competition between schools and teachers and get rid of the sucky teachers and students all in one wack! Students should be able to choose their schools and classes based on teacher rep. The schools really should be privatized so we could follow this type of model. I would welcome it!

    Your number 4 seems to be working, along with other incentives, for recording artists so this is a good idea also even though your attempt to compare the ed system with the music industry falls short… I think you are trying to compare apples and oranges here…

    Your number 5 is also a good idea. We are in the processes of trying to make lectures, projects available on line. This kind of thing helps draw students to particular schools. I would be honored if my students stole my stuff! All in all that is the whole point of teaching, getting your students to value, take and own the information you are giving them.

    So yea! Many of your ideas are good and sound fair, even though I know you did not mean for them to.
    I think you could do most of these things and still pay teachers while increasing the quality of education!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    antitheman, Sep 19th, 2009 @ 8:57am

    Re: My question from before remains

    You are absolutely correct. That would be almost as horrible as letting the government determine curri.... oh wait.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    antitheman, Sep 19th, 2009 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Re: not in the school I work for! (at least until they fire me hehe)

    Brilliant! Im so doing this, now I can get paid twice! Thanks for the scanning tip too! I was still trying to figure out how to get Xeroxed stuff on the net...hehe. I like it when people say Xeroxed, I prefer stuff that is Richoed, or Savined, or Toshibaed though.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 19th, 2009 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: not in the school I work for! (at least until they fire me hehe)

    Your's are tongue in cheek comments, but they did give me reason for pause.

    While I know there are persons who disagree, patent and copyright law were in substantial part driven by the perceived benefit of incentivizing the dissemination of knowledge. Your comments build on this, but on a much larger scale.

    Rather than the constant harping on the RIAA and MPAA, it would be interesting if techdirt took on the subject of the real "A", the "NEA". Education is the touchstone of a strong economic system, so it seems only natural that it would be a proper subject for exploration based upon economic principles.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    ..., Sep 19th, 2009 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Strange -> "(The dogs, if I recall right, are not sniffing out "piracy," per se, but counterfeit DVDs.)"

    and how does the dog differentiate an infringing DVD from a non infringing DVD? Can they really smell the difference? If so, this would be amazing. btw, use of the term "counterfeit" says alot about your opinion in this matter.

    What I suspect is that the dog smells any and all DVDs, CDs, blank or not and then the perpetrator is asked to prove their innocence because it is assumed thay are guilty. The dog probably gets false hits on many other forms of plastic, and then the media police get to strip search you. Brilliant !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Hey teacher - leave them kids alone, Sep 19th, 2009 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I used to think that elementary school was for learning Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.

    Some time ago I realized that is incorrect. School is for indoctrination. The result of which are new members of society who are devoid of critical thinking skills. The few who reject this brainwashing are diagnosed with some three letter acronym learning disorder and forced on a drug regimen.

    Keep up the good work "Doctor"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    ..., Sep 19th, 2009 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "no school will likely give either "curriculum" even a passing thought."

    One can always hope

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Bad Analogy Guy, Sep 19th, 2009 @ 11:24am

    Re: Re: not in the school I work for! (at least until they fire me hehe)

    Bravo !

    That is one of the worst analogies I've seen all week.

    Pro Tip -> Include some sort of analogy to automobiles, the readers love that stuff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    ..., Sep 19th, 2009 @ 11:28am

    Re:

    I can easily see that they would be the same folks also.

    byw, it is no longer called blackwater. They changed it to Xe. Apparently, they want to be known as a noble gas.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    An interested observer from overseas, Sep 20th, 2009 @ 6:04am

    Re: Re: not in the school I work for! (at least until they fire me hehe)

    Why does someone of your level of intelletual development waste so much time providing such faulty logic.

    What "child" would you ever allow to make the profoundly important choices of whether to attend school or what school to attend? (Refer to research done re "Summerhill" in Scotland 1970s)

    Anarchy is NOT a practical and meaningful way to operate any social structures. Or is it just me that thinks so. Clearly the writer has other ideas. Or is the writer a "disillusioned" adolescent him or her/self?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    ..., Sep 20th, 2009 @ 7:46am

    Re: Re: Re: not in the school I work for! (at least until they fire me hehe)

    Typically, a bad analogy is not meant to be taken literally. I think you missed the poor attempt at drawing a parallel to the music industry.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    smartasswhizkidd, Sep 21st, 2009 @ 6:19am

    Re: Re: My question from before remains

    If the school board, ie. local government doesn't determine curriculum, who should? The parents? Ha!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    Nick Stevens (profile), Sep 21st, 2009 @ 6:48am

    Free Eduction

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    icon
    Nick Stevens (profile), Sep 21st, 2009 @ 6:52am

    Free Eduction

    I love the idea that there could be free education - everyone who wants to learn can! espically these days when education can be a lot more interesting than when i was at school.
    http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/09/16/2115207/New-Yorks-Video-Game-Based-Public-School

    And how about free university education.... http://academicearth.org/
    I think the more places that startup like this the better - perhaps in the future we won't need schools in quiet the same way....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Duke001, Sep 21st, 2009 @ 7:56am

    Ass! RIAA=Ass!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 23rd, 2009 @ 10:44am

    That's SICK! These stupid asses are never going to get it. They should propose online education degree to teach people how to give their money to RIAA or how to get sued by it...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This