Microsoft Takes Another Shot At Brainwashing Kids On Copyright Laws

from the educate-who? dept

One of the popular myths coming from the industries who rely on the copyright crutch is that unauthorized content sharing is really an “education” issue. For years, they’ve insisted that if kids just understood copyright laws, they wouldn’t engage in file sharing. To that end, the RIAA likes to claim that its questionable legal campaign is really just an educational effort and has nothing to do with squeezing money out of people with threatening letters on weak evidence. The various lobbying groups have all set up “education” programs that generally appear to be more like brainwashing programs. They tend to be excessively one-sided and students see through the programs pretty quickly.

Microsoft itself got into the IP propaganda game a few years ago with a contest asking kids to create a video about how important intellectual property rights were. As if to drive home the point, any video you submitted to Microsoft became its exclusive property. Apparently, that little education campaign wasn’t enough, as Microsoft is now announcing a brand new propaganda education campaign targeted at teens, kicked off with a bogus study claiming that teens would stop unauthorized sharing if they only knew about copyright laws.

Now it’s no surprise that many people don’t understand what the real purpose of copyright is — but companies like Microsoft are just as bad in not understanding the real purpose of copyright as the teens they accuse of not understanding it. Given all the previous attempts at “educating” children, this new effort won’t get very far, but perhaps we can get together and craft an “education” campaign targeted at the various industries who insist we need to be educated on copyright. Anyone want to help? We can kick it off with an explanation of fair use. Then follow it up with an economics lesson about how artificial scarcity limits markets. Perhaps we can even dig into the ways that companies like Microsoft admit they benefit from unauthorized use, while holding a special lesson on how unauthorized use and innovation often work hand in hand. To kick it all off, we can put out a study showing how poorly execs in struggling industries understand copyright. I’m sure that would go over well.

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Companies: microsoft

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Comments on “Microsoft Takes Another Shot At Brainwashing Kids On Copyright Laws”

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27 Comments
Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

IP Rights are important

Intellectual Property Rights are extremely important, that’s why we should abolish the mercantile privilege of copyright and restore the public’s original rights to do what the heck they want with the property they purchase whether material or intellectual.

Copyright is the unethical privilege of a reproduction monopoly over published works, it is not a right (despite its name).

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

The Real Education Campaign

Mike, that is an awesome idea.
Can I make the section that describes how copyright infringement is in no way Theftor Stealing, and that it really is Just copyright infringement?

Ooo, and we have to do a section that also shows people doing other more heinous crimes, and then show how they get penalized less than the guy who uploads a CD.

Chronno S. Trigger says:

again WTF

“* Teens were told, “Currently, the general rules and guidelines concerning these types of downloads are that you have to either pay a fee for the content or gain the content owner’s permission to download or use it. When you do not follow these rules, you are open to significant fines and possibly jail time.””

Were they also told that the fins are outrageously disproportional and jail time is not currently a punishment for the standard downloader? Hell I don’t even know if it’s presently a punishment at all. Has anyone heard of anyone going to jail for downloading only?

Were they told that the artist isn’t the “content owner” but some big corporation that likes to rip off the artist and the consumer?

Were they told that the “content owner” could make a boat load more money if they embraced file sharing and didn’t wast their money on all these fruitless lawsuits?

-July, Boycott the RIAA/MPAA

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Walk The Walk

Yeah, Mike. Walk the walk. Do it in the 17 minutes you spend each day not working. Carve another 13 minutes out of your daily 5 hours sleep, and you’ve got a solid half hour. Get off your rear and walk the walk, Mike.

Apparently, it’s not enough to get an education, do some research, collect various supporting evidence, connect and refer to other’s relevant work, make arguments, write, and publish free speech on the issues. Now, because you’ve done this, it clearly is your turn to walk the walk too. Nope…surely not the turn of the poster in #13.

Hey #13 guy, this is like your buddy in college (the one who had all the initiative) planning a road trip to Vegas, booking the cheesy hotel, getting free passes, hooking you all up with some girls he knows at UNLV, and saying “Hey fellas, we can take my car. We leave tomorrow at noon.” Then when you pull up to the first gas station, YOU say, “Dude, the gas is on you. Your idea to go to Vegas, bro, walk the walk.”

Walk the Walk (profile) says:

Re: Walk The Walk

My apologies to Mr. Mesnick. I came across as flippant but my intent was to point out that Techdirt has the knowledge, contacts and capability to create a polished response to the industry’s ‘educational’ efforts. Techdirt in general and Mr Mesnick in particular are widely regarded as subject matter experts so any educational video produced by them has credibility. Much more so than any shallow parroting of the rhetoric on this subject I could ever cobble together.

FUG Buster says:

Kids my have better ethics than Techdirt writers

There might be more kids who understand there is more to the world than a narcissistic view that “I should get everything I want.”
I know my nephews had a sharing program installed. I told them three things:
1) It creates risk from getting trojans etc.
2) It puts the family at risk if any music is shared because of the law suits
3) It is illegal to steal the work of others without paying for it

They actually got all three.

While some of the Disney extensions to the length are more than questionable. The idea that if you can make it digital I should have total right to redistribute, and then receive someone’s work without pay is pathetically immature.

Chronno S. Trigger says:

Re: Kids my have better ethics than Techdirt write

It’s not about ethics, it’s not about morality. Hell, It’s not even about being illegal any more. It’s about Microsoft playing word games and outright lying to people to get the results they want.

1)Trojans should never be brought up in these kinds of arguments. I can use that argument to support packet shaping. I can use that argument to push everyone to go back to dial-up.

2)Yep. A low risk, but if you don’t want to risk it, there is nothing wrong with that.

3)Yes, it’s illegal. It is copyright infringement. It is not theft. We need to keep that separate or they will be able to change the law so that our tax money is used to track people down just so that the RIAA can get more money and not have to spend theirs.

Both sides of the argument need to stop bending the truth and start working with the facts. We would reach a common middle ground so quickly if everyone would do that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Teens know file sharing is illegal. No one in high school is kidding them selves. They could either spend 99 cents on one song or download 2,000 for free. Guess which path makes more sense?

If the companies would just take this money that they’re spending on “education” and lawsuits and lawyers and give it to a business planner or someone with brains, maybe they would have made it back by now.

Hell, if they took that money and just kept it, it’d probably make up from the lost revenue.

And I agree with #17. TechDirt could make a stance and try to educate the public about the truth, show business models, and call the big companies out on it. They could, even if they wont.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Teens know file sharing is illegal. No one in high school is kidding them selves. They could either spend 99 cents on one song or download 2,000 for free. Guess which path makes more sense?

If the companies would just take this money that they’re spending on “education” and lawsuits and lawyers and give it to a business planner or someone with brains, maybe they would have made it back by now.

Hell, if they took that money and just kept it, it’d probably make up from the lost revenue.

And I agree with #17. TechDirt could make a stance and try to educate the public about the truth, show business models, and call the big companies out on it. They could, even if they wont.

One challenge, possibly is that these polled kids don’t have jobs because they are not old enough or parents don’t give allowance, etc. This in turn, means less expendable income, and may contribute to some of the overall findings of your study. But why did Microsoft take on the responsibility to become the Monkeyboy for RIAA/MPAA/BSA?

Robert says:

fines and jail time?

If possible fines and jail time would stop illegal activities then there would be no crime. Apparantly Microsoft doesn’t understand why people are in jail to begin with. Anytime you put a public ban on something such as drugs, murder, armed robbery etc people will do it anyway because they beleive they won’t get caught.
A lot of “illicit” activities take place just because they are illicit. People like the challenge and some even get a rush doing it.

Ken says:

What is a CopyRight

Having a corporation/business as a “copyright holder” is a joke. The purpose of a copyright was to protect the creator of intellectual property from corporations. To say that BMG holds the copyright to a cd and not the artist that created it is a slap in the face to those who came up with the concept of a copyright. I am a photography and would NEVER give my rights to a corporation under ANY circumstances.

Rekrul says:

Re: FUG Buster,

1. Using a P2P program does NOT put anyone at risk of getting viruses or trojans, any more than downloading from a web site does. What puts people at risk is pure stupidity. Like using the default of having Windows hide filename extensions so that you can’t tell what a file really is. Or if you still use Windows Media Player with all its hidden ActiveX crap.

3. Copyright infringement isn’t stealing, technically or legally. If I see a table that I like in a local furniture store, then I go home and build an exact replica of that table, have I “stolen” it? What if I start mass producing them and giving them away to anyone who wants one?

As for Disney; The extensions to copyright terms that they’ve lobbied for are downright criminal. Many of their most successful movies have been based on public domain works. As far as I know, nothing that Disney has ever created is public domain and if they get their way, it never will be.

Copyrights were intended to protect the author/artist and ensure that they had a reasonable period of time to profit from their work before it, inevitably, passed into the public domain. This was done to ensure that there would be incentive to create in the first place (profitting from your work), but also to provide incentive to continue creating (because you can no longer profit from older works). Copyright terms that last for the life of the author plus 70-90 years, serve nobody except the large corporations. Because of this, you won’t live long enough to see anything created during your lifetime become public domain. Not only that, but ridiculous copyright terms allow a corporation to suppress a particular work until there are no longer any copies to duplicate. Try to find a legal copy of the Disney film Song of the South in the US.

Finally, while I agree that content creators should be paid for their work, I also think the current laws are stacked too heavily in favor of the huge media corporations. For example, why can I legally buy DVDs from another country, but not legally play them, thanks to region coding? Why can my friend not legally transfer a movie from a store bought DVD to his Sony PSP to watch on his lunch break at work? Since my TV only has a single set of A/V inputs, why can’t I legally hook up my DVD player through my VCR rather than switching cables all the time, because of Macrovision? Why do Blu-Ray players and HD equipment come with restrictive DRM that dictates what I can and can’t do, when pirated copies of every Blu-Ray movie are already available on the net? Why can I watch and record a TV off my cable system for free, but if I download an episode off the net that I forgot to set the DVR for, I’m a criminal? Why is it illegal to download episodes of TV shows from other countries when they aren’t available here in the US, either on TV or on DVD? Why VCRs legal, but yet the movie and TV industry keeps pushing for “broadcast flags” to be made into law so that they can control whether a TV broadcast can be recorded, or how many times it can be watched, or how long it can be kept?

Maybe if they made their content available in DRM free formats that could be played on any system/device, people would do the right thing and pay for it. Many people download pirated copies because they don’t like the DRM-crippled legal alternatives. Sure, piracy will never go away completely, but giving people what they clearly want is a big step in the right direction.

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