Girl Scouts Get A Badge In Intellectual Property Maximalism

from the not-this-again dept

Way back in 2006, we wrote about how the Los Angeles wing of the Boy Scouts of America had started offering an MPAA-supported patch in “respecting copyright,” in which “respecting copyright” was actually respecting the MPAA’s misleading maximalist view of copyright. It took some time, but it appears that the Girl Scouts are finally catching up. The Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation has helped create a special new “IP patch” for the Girl Scouts.

Through earning the patch girls learn about the importance of the intellectual property system to their lives and to local and national economies. “As STEM fields become increasingly popular, it is important that we teach young people about the incentives and protections available to them through the patent system. IPO Education Foundation is excited about the opportunity to work with the GSCNC and the USPTO to bring the patent system to girls through the IP patch,” said IPOEF Executive Director Herb Wamsley.

Yes, so you have this biased, one-sided organization, whose entire mission statement is to push bogus propaganda, exaggerating the importance of “intellectual property” and intellectual property maximalism, and the Girl Scouts just say “no problem” without thinking that the organization run by corporate lobbyists might be just a little bit misleading? Even worse, is the idea that IP is somehow tied to “STEM” fields. Considering that many in all of those fields believe that intellectual property laws have been stifling efforts towards innovation and education, to pretend that the two are aligned is ridiculous.

Even more ridiculous? The US government is now endorsing this sham propaganda campaign.

This morning a group of Girl Scouts in Washington, DC will be the first to receive the IP patch. The patch curriculum was developed jointly by IPO Education Foundation (IPOEF), U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and Girl Scout Counsel of the Nation’s Capital (GSCNC). Patches will be presented by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and USPTO Deputy Director Michelle Lee at a ceremony at the Langdon Education Campus

In trying to think of an equivalent, I wondered if the Girl Scouts would offer an “energy conservation” badge designed by an oil company… and then discovered that, well, yes, they do. Apparently, if you have a powerful enough industry, you can push propaganda on kids in the form of “merit badges.” Incredible.

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Companies: girl scouts, intellectual property owners, ipoef

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Comments on “Girl Scouts Get A Badge In Intellectual Property Maximalism”

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60 Comments
Pragmatic says:

Re: Re:

Ninja, I’m almost with you there. How about a “Calling Out” badge for calling people out for spouting nonsense and/or baseless propaganda?

The child in question needs to know the industry or political talking points and be able to counter them, TD-style, with evidence that proves they’re full of crap. The symbol should look something like this: ?.o

Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The good news is, if they setup a program that is as effective as DARE was… then they will be pirated out of existence in a few years.

I can just see it now, “This is uTorrent, it is a very bad program that allows you to download movies and music easily. You should avoid all torrents, because they are bad!”

And all the students will sit there scribbling down notes just as fast as they can go. Notes looking something like “uTorrent- google this as soon as possible”

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“It’s not a merit badge. It isn’t even a national badge — it is one optional patch offered by one local council.”

The copyright maximalists stuff was added to the Computer merit badge. It may have been added elsewhere too.

What is interesting is, in the worksheet released in 2014 for this badge, they specifically ask scouts to define freeware and shareware, but not creative-commons, open-source, or the difference between GPL and BSD licenses and their derivatives.

I haven’t been a Boy Scout or associated with BSA in 20+ years, so all I have is what they publish.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“On the upside, scouting offers lots of merit badges.”

As a proud owner of the scouting “Atomic Energy” badge, not all of the boring optional merit badges were largely ignored by scouts. I wore it proudly next to my Camping, Orienteering, Swimming, Hiking, Lifesaving, and First Aid badges.

For the Boy Scouts, they added the copyright stupidity to the existing requirements for the Computer merit badge (which I never received.) What would have been interesting is to hear the discussion with my counselor at the time as to “why copyright laws exist” and “the restrictions and limitations of downloading music from the internet,” but those requirements didn’t exist when I was in Boy Scouts.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Are you suggesting that atomic energy is as boring as copyright?

Not at all, though I’d put the atomic energy (now nuclear energy) merit badge on the same level as the computer merit badge when it comes to stuff in Boy Scouts which isn’t needed in order to obtain your Eagle Scout rank and is included to give you options to make you a well rounded scout.

I don’t know why I didn’t get my computer merit badge (actually, I have to go back and look, because maybe I did)…at the time I was really into computers. The Atomic Energy badge fell into my lap because the troop had a counselor who worked for a nuclear plant and many of the scouts worked together to get the badge. The reason I remember the atomic energy one was because it was the omg we’re all going to die nuclear symbol and I thought that was cool.

Actually most of the merit badges, even the ones we were required to get, were kinda boring, now that I think of it (this was more than 25 years ago.)

the truth says:

whats new?

You hand your kids at the age of 4 (or earlier) over to the government to look after while you slave for that government until they are 18 where they have potentially life threatening immunisations and are propergandised and you wonder why the family is so disconnected!

This is just scratching the surface!

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Intellectual property is an evil capitalist concept, comrade. Your work belongs to us!

Nice attempt at being an agent provocateur, douchebag.

Of course, it’s a total fail. Intellectual property is not a “capitalist concept.” It is a government-granted monopoly, and government-granted monopolies are the opposite of laissez-faire capitalism.

Anonymous Coward says:

It obvious that an ‘idea’ goes against a species natural behavior, when that ‘idea’ needs to be drilled into a species, starting at an extremely young age.

I find this predatory conditioning of our children by corporations, to be despicable.

Drilling an extreme corporate view of copyrights, patents, and trademarks into young people, is similar to drilling an extreme religious view of Islam into young people.

We all know how to Middle East turned out, due to this form of extreme conditioning being drilled into young people at a early age.

PopeyeLePoteaux (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Get them while they’re young… I agree, I don’t think this is different than religious indoctrination.

They need to do this to secure their obsolete ideas and ensure they will prevail when their generation die off, they know more and more people are starting to call BS on their lies and propaganda, thats why they are targeting children.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think the MPAA/RIAA are completely justified in their view that piracy == physical theft. But man, are they scumbags. It’s not really about the view that they’re pushing, so much that a group of people said, explicitly, “We’re going to deceive and manipulate children.” I wish I could get away from these people.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re:

No badge for you, AC. Seriously, this conflation with intellectual output and physical property is not treated thus in the courts (though they’re working on it) or in the Constitution, so on what basis are they justified?

Infringement and theft are different things because nothing is being removed.

IP is about monopoly, which is only meant to be granted for a limited time. Physical property is not a government-granted right and the limitations on ownership are a contractual issue. For example, a leasehold is a limited property right. You don’t really own it, you’re just leasing it for an agreed amount of time. There is no freehold equivalent on IP.

A. Nnoyed (profile) says:

Ascap Asks Royalties From Girl Scouts, and Regrets It

Amazing. I would have expected the Girl Scouts to advise the MPAA to shove it as a result of this shakedown by ASCAP in 1996. How quickly they forget.

From the New York Times December 17, 1996:
“Like everyone else, Mr. Berle had read with disbelief that the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers wanted to charge the Girl Scouts — the Girl Scouts! — for songs around the campfire.”

The entire story can be read here:
http://www.nytimes.com/1996/12/17/nyregion/ascap-asks-royalties-from-girl-scouts-and-regrets-it.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

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