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  • Oct 1st, 2010 @ 11:14am

    unfair to the scouts

    Mike, I understand the point you are trying to make here about copyright law and the music business -- and I pretty much agree with you on all of it. But you are being unfair to the scouts.

    Yes, Dr. Aretz has a confused outlook on copyright law. And the connection he makes between plagiarism (which is about intellectual honesty) and piracy (theft) is inapt.

    Yes, Pavarotti is dead wrong about the music business. But he is a great artist, so I forgive his short-sightedness.

    And yes, it is regrettable that the scouts have allied themselves with a business lobby group that is "educating" young people on a very contentious public policy matter.

    Nevertheless, the basic point that the article is trying to make is that adult scout leaders should be careful about the messages they are sending to young kids in their care. I agree with that message. Scouting-age kids don't know about space-shifting, or time-shifting, or fair use, or content licensing, or the difference between a performance right and a distribution right, or any of that stuff. They don't know about the stress that copyright law is under right now, they don't know that the artist and the recording company might have very different views on piracy, they don't know about all the stuff that is discussed on your blog every day. Kids definitely should not be taught one industry's position on copyright law as part of boy scouts.

    All these kids know is that they like music. I think that when kids see an adult scout leader put a burned CD into a CD player they have a vague sense that the leader might be doing something wrong. This vague sense that the leader has done something wrong is the same as what happens if the leader smokes a cigarette, drinks alcohol, curses, says an unkind thing about another person, burps, farts, whatever. These things are all entirely lawful, but kids have been taught that these things are bad. The idea that burning a CD is "bad" comes from outside scouting -- kids already have a sense (perhaps mistaken in many instances) that it is not right. So, when the scout leader plays that burned CD, he or she loses a little bit of credibility, a little bit of trust, from the kids. And this makes it more difficult for the leader/adult to speak with conviction about all of the other values that scouting stands for.

    I've been in scouts for a while. I'm a den leader for my seven-year-old son, the youngest of my six children. We've never talked about file-sharing or piracy or any of that stuff. I doubt we ever will. But we have talked about integrity and honesty, hard work, and respect for public institutions and for each other. A scout leader can't effectively communicate these values if the kids think he or she is cutting corners in his or her personal life. Burning CDs is one of those areas where appearances matter. At least I think so. Kids don't know copyright law, but every kid over the age of five knows the word "hypocrite."

  • Oct 21st, 2009 @ 9:56am

    FDA looking at drug advertising issues with social media

    Mike, this doesn't really speak to concerns about capture, but the FDA is considering amending its drug disclosure rules as they pertain to social media. Here is a link to the Federal Register announcement. The agency will hold public hearings in Wash DC next month, Nov. 12-13.