If You Thought YouTube's Copyright Lesson Was Bad…

from the wow dept

If you thought YouTube’s ridiculous copyright lesson was bad, you haven’t seen anything. Copyright lawyer Ray Dowd points us to this hysterically awful copyright “public service announcement” that appears to have been put together by a schoolteacher, but which gets a bunch of basic things wrong (or relies on some questionable “suggestions” about what constitutes fair use). It also appears to use a bunch of music that it almost certainly did not license. I don’t think Britney Spears’ reps licensed “Oops I Did It Again” to this teacher. Oh, and then there are the zombiefied children. As Dowd notes, he originally thought it was a parody, but it appears to be serious. Misguided. But serious. It includes no mention of the public domain, and even suggests you can’t show more than five images, even though they’re in the public domain.

As Dowd explains:

The video shows children chanting that a teacher can show no more that 5 images from the artist Wassily Kandinsky in a classroom. Really weird. Even when things are in the public domain, teachers are brainwashing children that use of the images are verboten. And then using music samples in a way that is clearly NOT fair use…

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Comments on “If You Thought YouTube's Copyright Lesson Was Bad…”

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Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re:

It’s not hypocrisy, it’s sheer ignorance.

I checked out the credits at the end, and they referenced this PDF:
Copyright and Fair Use Guidelines for Teachers

That’s the one referenced on the Tech & Learning website. It appears to be written by Hall Davidson (the same guy who does Media Matters for Discovery). It’s meant as a guideline for using copyrighted material in a teaching environment. It’s not of much use outside the classroom.

So, having the kids repeat it in unison is not just annoying as hell, it’s actually useless to the kids themselves.

Anonymous Coward says:

So violating copy’right’ law is wrong because if you do it then you will face undue punishment? So if drinking water resulted in huge fines, we shouldn’t do that either?

What does the legal punishment have to do with the moral nature of copy’right’ law to begin with? Just because something is illegal doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done if there were no such law. That’s what this video misses, it misses the fundamental questions of whether or not copy’right’ should even exist to begin with, whether or not the fines are reasonable, and it simply skips over to the part that says, if you break this law you will be heavily punished. But that misses the point.

Kaden (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Your obsession with something as unquantifiable as ‘morals’ makes it hard to take you seriously. Morals are societal behavioral paradigms tacitly agreed upon by the collective as a whole; they’re not dictated by the supposedly aggrieved and righteously indignant.

You may be better off looking into ethic or value based arguments, which can at least have a logical explanation for their existence other than ‘because’.

Honestly, you sound like a particularly petulant evangelical preacher sometimes.

Kaden (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

That’s the sort of talk that’ll get you covered in spittle flecks if you broach it near any university philosophy department. Ethics are the subject of millennia old philosophical discourse, and are to be taken VERY SERIOUSLY.

For morals, you need Religious Studies… that’s the building with the gargoyles across the quad.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Type define ethics into google. First answer:
1. Moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior.
2. The moral correctness of specified conduct.

I am aware that many people who split hairs take hair splitting VERY SERIOUSLY.

The reality is that ethics and morality (and whatever other term you like) are very closely linked. Trying to imply that people “should” behave in a certain way falls into similar categories for most people.

For example, I tell you what to do. You get angry. It doesn’t matter if I was quoting my religious text or if I was providing a reasoned argument for some ethic. You are still angry because other people are trying to control your behavior.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Morals are societal behavioral paradigms tacitly agreed upon by the collective as a whole”

So then, by your logic, if the collective as a whole naturally copy things without the need for brainwashing and without fines then it’s perfectly ethical because the collective whole would do it without the fines and so that suggests they tend to agree with it. and if the collective whole disagrees with piracy strongly enough, then there is little need to impose ridiculous punishments to prevent it because those who do agree with it will be a minority that hardly makes a difference in anyone’s revenue stream.

The video doesn’t even try to touch upon the subject of ethics, even from your convoluted perspective of what the collective whole wants, it just dives right into the “if you do this, you will get punished” argument, as if the unethical nature of an action, outside its illegality, is based on how much legal punishment that action will bring upon you thanks to its legality, and not even on what the collective whole agrees on.

These undue punishments and brainwashing mechanisms are introduced exactly because those introducing them know that the public doesn’t care for these laws enough for them to be adequately enforced at will because the public doesn’t really disagree with them all that strongly and so the only way to get people to comply with them is through insanely excessive punishment and indoctrination.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Despite the hideously long run-on sentences in your post, yes that’s how laws work. They are intended to stop people who violate the norms of society. If laws punish those who participate in activities that a large majority of the population thinks are OK, they will not work. For example: prohibition. However:

“those who do agree with it will be a minority that hardly makes a difference in anyone’s revenue stream”

Erm, what? By “it”, I’m assuming you’re referring to piracy (your horrible writing makes it difficult to tell)? What are you arguing here?

“the only way to get people to comply with them is through insanely excessive punishment and indoctrination”

No it’s not. If the laws cannot be enforced through normal means, then they are either irrelevant or unenforceable. Changing the law to something workable is a good alternative option, as is taking public opinion rather than those of corporations into account. Cracking down on a majority never, ever works.

The real way to deal with piracy is to shift to business models that make piracy a non-issue. Your alternative is Stalinist propaganda and brainwashing – hardly a positive move.

David Muir (profile) says:

Re: Undue Punishment

Adjective: Unwarranted or inappropriate because excessive or disproportionate: “$375,000 fine to an individual for sharing 30 songs is UNDUE punishment”.

According to the teacher, violating copyright law is wrong. Period. I think we can then take that point and turn it around: Copyright law is wrong because the big media companies have lobbied to make the punishments UNDUE.

I actually didn’t mean to nitpick, but I thought it was kind of neat how you covered two aspects of the problem with public perception of copyright law in one sentence (even if you did it unintentionally).

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

You can't start too early

Kids need to learn that everything comes with rules, most of which are vaguely written and enforced harshly. They need to learn that art should be feared rather than shared or valued. They also need to learn how to answer more questions in unison. Nothing is as wholesome as a bunch of kids parroting someone else’s overwrought copyright spiel.

Of course, these kids probably could teach their teacher a thing or two, like how to shut off the timestamp on her digital camera.

Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile) says:

Also: the 30-second rule

I think the point of the fair use rule is to find music or whatever that is useful in context. I really don’t think that fair use was meant to cover a person using 30-second clips of whatever happened to be cued up in the media player at that point in time.

However, it does make the point that those who spend this much time pushing copyright maximalism really have no artistic sensibilities.

charliebrown (profile) says:

In Australia, copyrighted material may be reproduced for the purpose of EDUCATION! So this video is not relevant to Australia.

But that aside, I have seen “amateur” videos on YouTube filmed on some kid’s mobile phone that looked more professional than this thing!

And the opening bit about downloading was very vague. Took me a moment to work out what the heck was going on!

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“In Australia, copyrighted material may be reproduced for the purpose of EDUCATION! So this video is not relevant to Australia.”

Since most of the major corporations pushing this kind of nonsense are American, they tend to assume that American rules apply anywhere, and push to change the laws if they don’t.

At least I didn’t buy a ?20 DVD to be faced with this nonsense *this* time, whereas the “pirated” download contains no such anti-“piracy” message….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:


Brainwashing is introducing one side and one only side of an issue. That’s what our mainstream media practically does when it comes to pro-IP issues.

“the knowledge or training acquired by this process: his education has been invaluable to him”


Based on your context and the intended meaning of the word that you seem to imply, A better opposite word might be ignorance.

Kadinza (profile) says:


This is why we need to privatize education in this country. Unions are letting these stupid teachers remain even though it’s obvious they are no good. Now I am not on the anti union bandwagon with the exception I figure since they make more than us and we pay for our health and retirement they should do the same. I say we draw and quarter her to make and example of what needs to happen to bad teachers.

harbingerofdoom (profile) says:

Re: Re: quality.

both of you need to be a LOT more realistic and honest with yourself in your viewpoints.

its actually BOTH are at fault with a large helping of parental apathy to top it off.

there is not one single “There is the problem!” item in education…. there are always lots of problems and always more than one group with plenty of blame that can be laid at their doorsteps….

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