Captain Copyright And His Amazing Powers To Mislead Children

from the who-probably-see-right-through-it dept

In the US, the MPAA has been running a project to send biased industry representatives into school to brainwash kids about copyright that (not surprisingly) is extremely biased towards the entertainment industry’s position of supporting their business model. It’s not clear why schools think it’s okay to have one industry write the lessons, but apparently it’s not just happening in the US. Michael Geist points out that up in Canada, the industry has just launched an “educational” website for teachers and students on copyright issues that features the lessons of Captain Copyright, a super hero of sorts, designed to teach kids right from wrong when it comes to copyright. As Geist outlines, it appears that things like fair use and personal copies don’t seem to be a part of Captain Copyright’s vast store of knowledge. In one set of activities, students are even told to write letters to newspaper editors in support of the industry’s view on copyright — which seems like an attempt to get young kids to help with an astroturf campaign. No matter what your position on the state of copyright law these days, it seems odd that a clearly biased industry should be allowed to create the lesson that teaches young kids about such a topic. Of course, as with the US brainwashing campaign, it will likely turn out that many kids are smart enough to see that the lessons are bogus, and will have no problem saying so.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Captain Copyright And His Amazing Powers To Mislead Children”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Diivva says:

Re: IP of pictures on the net?

“Intellectual property” refers to original creations in the fields of literature and the arts. Most countries in the world provide automatic copyright protection to any item of intellectual property at the instant the item is created. At the instant a photo is taken, it automatically becomes the “intellectual property” of the photographer who took it. It makes no difference what the subject is or why the photograph was taken.

Read more here:

Fearless Coward says:

Re: IP of pictures on the net?

No, a copyright is assigned to the creator the moment the picture is created. It does not need to say ‘copyright’ for the copyright to be valid. (In the US).


I can’t speak to whether or not your usage of those pictures in a personal (non-commercial) way is legal or not. If the usage was intended to be educational, then the usage is probably legal. That’s Fair Use.

Grateful for a smart mom says:

Re: heh

Sorry, but WHO DO YOU THINK HAS BEEN WRITING THE TEXTBOOKS FOR THE LAST 100 YEARS? Seriously: Ever actually verified the “facts” in one of your kids’ textbooks? Are you aware of the tremendous amount of errors which creep in (by faulty writing/research on the writers’ parts, by faulty editing by the publishing staff, or by PURPOSEFUL INSERTION OF PERSONAL or CORPORATE BIAS by same)? And do the teachers ‘check behind’ to make sure it’s right? You know they don’t! With apologies to the fine teachers I had many decades ago, there are some true dodos out there merely parroting what the teachers’ edition says, unaware of actual facts, and uncaring the quality of information they’re imparting.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: heh

If they get the same response out of this “war on piracy” the same as they got out of the War on Drugs, we won’t have that to worry about soon enough. I mean with the losing streak on all the “wars” declared, we should declare a war on wealth so we could all be as rich as Bill Gates by the end of the week.

War on Terrorism – losing

War on Homelessness – lost

War on Drugs – lost…TWICE if you count the previous Prohibition in the 30’s

Ben Robinson says:

re: IP of pictures on the net?

Copyright is very complicated and varies between countries but basically, no it probably isn’t legal. If someone creates something (i.e. an artistic or creative work) then they own the copyright automatically in most countries. There is no requirement to register or mark copyrighted works.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: re: IP of pictures on the net?

Breaching copyright has nothing to do with whether you are doint it for commercial purposes or not. If i put up a website containing no ads and made available for free, all of the beatles songs as MP3 downloads, i would make no money out of it, but I would still be breaching copyright. However you have to remeber that if you breach someones copyright they can only really do anything about it if they have the money and motivation to sue you. A bunch of random tourists are unlikely to sue you for using their holiday snaps in a website. It’s not worth spending $10,000 to get someone to take your holiday snaps offline.

Wolfger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: re: IP of pictures on the net?

Right. Using somebody else’s pictures without permission is in violation of U.S. copyright law, regardless of whether or not the copyright notice is posted. But illegal and prosecutable are two different things. To be prosecutable, the owner(s) of the picture(s) would have to be able to prove ownership, and would have to be able to afford to sue you. As ever, our legal system is heavily in favor of those who have money.

So can you use these pictures? Sure. The chances of you being prosecuted are exceedingly slim.

Should you use these pictures? Not without asking permission. In my experience, most people are happy to share. If I ask and get no answer, I treat that as a “yes”. I figure if they can’t be bothered to reply to my e-mail, they can’t be bothered to sue me either.

L0ki says:

Re: Re: Re:2 re: IP of pictures on the net?

As pointed out depends on the countries. Aus is a great example, whilst you may breach copyright by using others works, that isnt actually a criminal offence, there is no way you could be prosecuted for it, and you could always claim fair use, which allows you to use 10% of any article etc. Also if you claim your a student fair use goes to 100% as long as you dont claim its your work thus rendering it almost impossible for you to be sued civilly. Seems the lawyers and the US in particular are still litigation mad.

a product of the american educational system says:

Re: Next Reps

Neil, you obviously are not a product of the American government run educational system. If you were, you would know the official ministry of truth position that smoking costs the taxpayers because the government provides some of the medical costs when the smokers get sick and die before being able to enjoy a long retirement. Retirement is another subject all together so it is excluded from the debate entirely. The american arguement is that if you smoke you get sick and therefore cost the government money. If you don’t smoke, you don’t ever get sick and you never cost anything and can keep on working and paying taxes past the age of 85… that is why the goverment was able to win huge billion dollar extortion fees from the big tobacco companies.

See, I am a product of the American education system…. and I know what you are going to say next. You are going to say that people will eventually get sick and die anyway, right? Well, you are obviously short-sighthed and are ignorning the problem of what our governement taught us was “the effects of second hand smoke”. :)) LMAO

Tyshaun says:

I wouldn't have a problem with this except...

I really wouldn’t have reps from the RIAA or MPAA come to schools and talk about copyright from their perspective HOWEVER I think it would only be educationally worthwhile to invite groups with opposing viewpoints and let them debate the issue. The kids get an opportunity to hear both sides of the arguement and make a real decision, as opposed to this obvious brainwashing.

Phillip Vector (user link) says:

Just called

I just called the company that puts out this book and spoke to a woman named susan. She stated that she wasn’t a lawyer, but she can assure me that the company is in no position to sue anyone for linking to their website (it’s in the disclaimer that you can’t link to the website if it’s negative).

What surprised me is that she mentioned that they are working with teachers and will be putting out shortly other sides of the issue. Fair use, IP law, etc. She honestly sounded like they are interested in providing all sides of the issue.

Let’s see what happens, eh?

Its_Bo says:


To the people with children…don’t you find it the *least* bit disturbing that the school in your district is letting movie/music cops into your schools to *educate* your children on this matter? Not to mention the fact that what they are preaching *if* allowed to is skewed and totalitarian? I mean, does that assembly come with a free juice and lunch at least? Seriously, people wake up, they only seek to control you and the media you ingest. This really doesn’t even have to do with movies or music…it’s distribution of content(news, sports, advertising)and they want us to pay premium rate for them to control us.

Weird huh?

Harold Flath says:

Captain copyright

This is one more problem added to the list of our incompetent school system techniques of learning importance. Letting a biased industry get into the classroom and teach copyright is absurd. If they intend to let this happen, why don’t they also let companies that produce steel products in to teach the students of the importance of buying items that will last longer, made of metal, over the cheap plastic products that you have to replace frequently. Why were at it, when are we going to teach the students how to count money, figure interest rates, proper use of credit cards, balancing a checkbook,,,,I could go on and on. Our school system is gradually going to pot. I’m a computer technician as well as a retail owner, and it is very obvious there are many countries that have a better education system than the US.. The evidence is there.

Captain copyright needs to have his ship sunk, and his crew fed to the sharks…..

Wayne Goode (user link) says:


It seems odd that a clearly biased industry should be allowed to create the lesson that teaches young kids about such a topic.

Seems odd that they are allowed? Not if you remember the 1st Ammendment to the US Constitution. Who should get to decide who can create lessons? Let anyone create the lessons and let the people who will teach the lessons choose what they want to use.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...