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 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Another example can be found under Oregon's criminal statutes at Section 164.377, "Computer Crime". The prima facie elements of the offense are certainly broad enough to subsume file sharing withing its terms.

    I do have to note that I have not made a comprehensive search of the laws of all states, commonwealths and territories of the United States. I will leave that to be performed at some future date by an academic who needs to publish something to add to his/her CV. I do believe, however, that the major lobbying groups for the "entertainment content industries" do have as one of their goals the lobbying of state legislatures to add matters such as unauthorized file sharing to the extensive laundry list of criminal conduct.

    Merely as an aside, patent infringement is not a criminal act under federal law. Given how the federal courts have interpreted the issue of "federal preemption", I would not be surprised to see at some time in the future patent lobbying groups to urge such conduct be subject to criminal sanctions under state law.

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