Totally False Propaganda About File Sharing Being Given To Students As Educational Material

from the will-the-next-pamphlet-be-about-lying-to-students? dept

It's no secret that both the MPAA and the RIAA have created so-called "educational campaigns" for students about copyright. These educational programs are incredibly one-sided, of course, and it's amazing that many schools actually allow this sort of corporate propaganda to masquerade as educational material. Even more problematic is when an entirely separate organization, supposedly offering a non-biased educational campaign, starts parroting the propaganda. The nonprofit National Center for State Courts, whose charter apparently is as an "organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to court systems in the United States," has done just that. As part of that, it created a set of "graphic novels" (more like a pamphlets) designed to teach students how the court system works. Except the first such graphic novel actually teaches a bunch of RIAA propaganda about file sharing that is mostly flat-out false.

Among the things that aren't true is a claim that file sharing is a city level crime that will get you arrested by the local cops, and that you can face a 2 year jail sentence and a criminal record for downloading songs. You would think that a pamphlet designed to teach kids how the courts would work would actually get the legal issues correct. But, instead, it's just a bunch of propaganda that is completely incorrect about the law.

Filed Under: copyright, educational campaign, file sharing, propaganda
Companies: national center for state courts


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2008 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re:

    Neither Florida nor California specify "selling", "offering to sell", etc. as necessary elements of the offense. File sharing per se can get a person in trouble with state authorities.

    California's statute is interesting (Section 653aa) because of a twist it contains. Generally, it requires a file sharer to provide an email address that can be read at the time of download and that identitifies the location of the file sharer.

    Doubtless, "Hollywood" was behind its enactment, and that it is difficult to apply given what one can do with email addresses. However, if an address is not provided and "Hollywood" still finds you, the authority of the state can also be invoked to place a file sharer in even hotter "hot water".

    The necessary elements of a particular crime vary from state to state, so what is criminal conduct in one may not be in another. The important point to note, however, is that file sharing is not necessarily just a matter of federal law.

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