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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 5:56am

    Mike, I propose techdirt starts giving "Badges of Utter Bullshit" for those companies/people full of it. Make Time (either or both) the Director of the Bullshit Awareness department for added lulz.

    Ahem. Shall I suggest those cited in this article as candidates for pioneering the badge?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 7:36am

    Indoctrination.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 7:37am

    This reminds me of a story awhile back about the MPAA pushing DARE style propaganda through schools, and the hilarious results it would likely bring about.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 7:44am

    The only thing I wish the Scouts had taught me was how to skin, clean and cook a copyright. Them's good eatin!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 7:57am

    On the upside, scouting offers lots of merit badges. This will likely be shuffled into all the other optional merit badges, and largely ignored because it sounds really boring to kids.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Michael, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 8:09am

    What would you expect from an organization that promotes young girls selling their cookies?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 8:10am

    Maybe the Pirate Party should issue an "iPatch"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    zip, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 8:14am

    I'd hate to see the BSA's version of this program --- as in "teaching" children to rat out their friends and family for money.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Michael, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 8:18am

    Re:

    That would be CRAZY dangerous since you couldn't manufacturer it with rounded corners without getting sued.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    the truth, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 8:30am

    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!

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re:

    What if it's a circle? It wouldn't have corners.

     

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  12.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 8:53am

    Arrrr!

    There's already a rifle shooting badge (for the boys). Rifle marksmanship is quite often done with a pirate style eye patch.

    I might still have mine from PI. Arrrr!

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 8:54am

    Re: whats new?

    Nah. It's not the schools as much as it is corporations encouraging or sometimes even demanding a nomadic lifestyle where you quickly get disconnected from your community and family.

    ...not that I didn't like where you were going with that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I could see a lawyer arguing that a circle is a shape consisting of nothing but the rounded corners.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 9:52am

    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"

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 10:25am

    ahhaha
    Letting corporations "educate" children. Can they go any lower?

     

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  17.  
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    Michael, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    and then you would have someone come along and argue that a square was in fact a clear attempt to illegally work around the rounded corner issue and that shouldn't be allowed either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    Rich Kulawiec, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 10:41am

    But but but without intellectual property maximalism

    We would have never had Newton, Einstein, da Vinci, Plato, Sun Tzu, Shakespeare, Maxwell, Bohr, Socrates, Dickinson, du Chatelet, Austen, Khayyaam, Galileo, Swift, Virgil, Keats, Homer, Doestoyevsky, Darwin, Lavoisier, Faraday, Euclid, Archimedes, Curie, or Bronte.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You mean a lawyer like John Steele right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 10:47am

    Here's what needs to happen...

    Scout masters for both Boy and Girl Scouts need to come up with their own non-sanctioned protest badge that can be given and earned by any scout that can successfully explain why this is bad. They should call it a "Freedom of Speech" badge.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    fgoodwin (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 10:47am

    How do you know?

    Without seeing the actual requirements (for which you provide no link), we cannot know if the purpose of this patch is propaganda.

    OTOH, I'm sure TechDirt never met a copyright pirate it didn't love . . .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    fgoodwin (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 10:50am

    Re:

    It's not a merit badge. It isn't even a national badge -- it is one optional patch offered by one local council.

     

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  23.  
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    PRMan, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 10:52am

    Re:

    as in "teaching" children to rat out their friends and family for money


    You mean for less than $5000?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 10:52am

    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.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 10:58am

    Re: How do you know?

    Given the history and reputation of those is behind this, you don't have to have the actual requirements to surmise what is in there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    fgoodwin (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 11:05am

    I looked at the requirements for the MPAA-sponsored "Respect Copyrights" patch:

    http://torrentfreak.com/images/mpaapatch.pdf

    and I agree its pretty one-sided. It would be nice to see the actual requirements for the GS patch.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 11:07am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 11:08am

    Re:

    "Intellectual Property is no different than physical property."

    And true to form, they start off with a lie in the very first sentence.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 11:28am

    Re: How do you know?

    It's being pushed and endorsed by the MPAA, that's evidence enough.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 11:29am

    What's next?

    A 'Racial equality' badge endorsed by the KKK?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 12:14pm

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

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 1:09pm

    Re:

    That is funny because all I ever hear from people these days is how copyright leaves a bad taste in their mouth.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 1:19pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    Ole Juul (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 1:22pm

    Re:

    It's worse than indoctrination. It is the youth wing of the MPAA. That sounds creepy doesn't it? Actually, I would venture to say dangerous.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 1:42pm

    The MPAA Youth , The movie industry has learned alot from Hitler

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re:

    The 'problem' is all the actual evidence shows they're completely and utterly wrong, so of course they lie, the truth wouldn't support their claims and positions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    MadAsASnake (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 2:17pm

    Looks like they have learned a trick from McDonalds - hook them when they are young.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    observer, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re:

    It's hard (if not impossible) to do "don't download free stuff from the internet" without accidentally making the take-home message "hey, you can download free stuff from the internet!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    PopeyeLePoteaux (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 3:11pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
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    PopeyeLePoteaux (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 3:13pm

    Re:

    Sieg heil Dodd.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    JMT (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 4:52pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sounds familiar...

    "Here's how to have safe sex. Now don't have sex!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
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    JMT (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 4:58pm

    Re: How do you know?

    Are you seriously claiming The Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation is going to be pushing anything other than a maximilist view? I think I'll vote that 'funny'...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sounds better than most US sex education programs, which consist of just 'Don't have sex at all', because of course if teenagers aren't told that sex exists, then they'll never discover it on their own. /s

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
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    Karl (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 6:13pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 8:52pm

    Re: Re:

    That's because they didn't kill it first.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
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    nasch (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 10:02pm

    Re: Re:

    As a proud owner of the scouting "Atomic Energy" badge, not all of the boring optional merit badges were largely ignored by scouts.

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

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Mar 27th, 2014 @ 10:06pm

    Re:

    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.

    That by itself doesn't mean it's a bad thing though. I don't want to live in a world where kids are only taught to do what comes naturally to them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2014 @ 10:56pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 1:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Only if you're lucky.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 4:16am

    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

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 4:18am

    Re: Re:

    We need that "Sad But True" button, stat!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 4:21am

    Re: Re:

    Intellectual property falls into three main branches: Patents, Copyright, and Trademark. All of these require licenses to use. Unlicensed use is called "infringement," which is treated differently in court to theft of physical items.

    I can has Calling Out badge?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 4:23am

    Re: Re:

    .o

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 5:02am

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    A. Nnoyed (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 5:53am

    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

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), Mar 28th, 2014 @ 8:38am

    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.)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    anon, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 8:54am

    Re: How do you know?

    Here are the actual requirements for the patch, and it varies depending on which age the girls are. Also, it looks like it is only regional: http://www.gscnc.org/intellectualpropertypatch.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 28th, 2014 @ 9:56am

    Re: Re:

    A granted monopoly for a limited time is more of a license than it is property anyway.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 30th, 2014 @ 7:05pm

    Re:

    average_joe just can't stand it when due process is enforced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    RIchard Stallman, Apr 2nd, 2014 @ 1:14am

    In addition to the wrong of training Girl Scouts in copyright maximalism, there is the further wrong of calling copyright "intellectual property". See http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/not-ipr.html
    for why that term spreads confusion whenever it is used.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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