Copyright Lobby Wants Access to K-12 Schools

We’ve got DRM in our games, the RIAA continues to sue small-fry, individual file sharers, the consumer-unfriendly Digital Millenium Copyright Act is the law of the land, the IP industry is trying to push DMCA-like legislation in Canada, and the secret ACTA copyright negotiations are ongoing.

But the copyright lobby would like to be in your kid’s school, too.

The Copyright Alliance, a lobbying group which includes game publishers trade association the Entertainment Software Association among its members, has just launched the Copyright Alliance Education Foundation, which it bills as a non-profit, charitable organization:

Its mission as of now is K-12 schools, and… we are already working with many schools across the country… The focus of our curricula is student empowerment; communicating how the U.S. Constitution gives each and every one of us rights and ownership over our creations.

Taking classroom time away from the 3R’s is not a new idea for those in the IP protection business, however. As GamePolitics reported in 2007, the ESA’s top enforcement exec, Ric Hirsch, told attendees at an anti-piracy conference:

In the 15- to 24-year-old (range), reaching that demographic with morality-based messages is an impossible proposition… which is why we have really focused our efforts on elementary school children. At those ages, children are open to receiving messages, guidelines, rules of the road, if you will, with respect to intellectual property.

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  1. hellfire7885 says:

    That line is pretty hilarious, as if I remember right, it was the recent flexing of copyright muscle that destroyed a four year long project.

  2. Kharne says:

    I think it has less to do with us being immoral, and more to do with kids being impressionable and thus ripe for corporate brainwashing. You’ve got to get ’em young, once they age a bit and start having opinions you’ll never be able to bend them to your will.

  3. Conster says:

    Wait, did they just imply 15- to 24-year olds are immoral shits, and that therefore they need to be indoctrinated before they reach that age? Or did they downright say it?

  4. Father Time says:

    Taken from the video

    "Teaching kids about copyright will give them confidence in their creative talents."

    "Copyright helps creativity"

    Dear Lord this is truly despicable.

    This basically tells us ‘we have no hoppe of winning so we’re going to try to indoctrinate your kids and hope our BS will work on their feeble little minds’.

    People who have a political, financial or religious agenda should not be teaching our kids values, period.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  5. Father Time says:

    "communicating how the U.S. Constitution gives each and every one of us rights and ownership over our creations."

    I thought copyright laws weren’t in the Consitution. If that’s the case then who knows what else they’re teaching.

    EDIT: Nevermind found them.

    Who wants to bet that they won’t teach them that public domain is what allows their school to put on Shakespeare without licensing fees.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  6. Pinworm says:

     Since when are morality issues handled in schools?

    If this happens, I want schools to start teaching how stupid religions are, how ridiculous, and how stupid any religious person is

    (note that I’m not saying that’s how I feel, merely hyperbolically pointing out how fucked up it is to teach morality related subjects in school. Keep that shit out, our kids are dumb enough and need more real education as it is.)

  7. Lou says:

    First we have organizations like PETA infiltrating our schools and throwing garbage propaganda to our kids and now this? I’m sorry but this is getting seriously out of hand. I guess our goverment is not smart enough to realize that these people don’t give a crap about us, they only care about how many zeroes they get on their paychecks.

  8. Thomas McKenna says:

    Shit….does that count on IP infringement on my part then?

    (short answer is no…no it does not)


  9. Wormdundee says:

    Man, if this actually happens it seems like you can just ask to teach kids whatever you want if you’re big enough. Hello, I’d like to teach the benefits of social drinking!

    But wow, that line about getting them when they’re younger. "Damn, if they’re too old they’ll see through our bullshit, head for the elementary schools!"

  10. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Oh yes dare for fictional societal damages…. Oh wait!…..

    It would be interesting is fair use as it was written is a fundamental part of copy right that overrides sadly either way laws and rules are followed and enforced as how the majority in government precive it…


    I am a criminal because I purchase media,I am a criminal because I use media, I am a criminal because I chose to own media..We shall remain criminals until Corporate stay’s outside our bedrooms..

  11. Thomas McKenna says:

    Hmm…this could actually be something.  They can be like the early 90s green movement in every way (obnoxious, out of touch with the real world, horrendously idealistic, and willing to enforce their mindset on anyone).  This means that we may get a reboot of Captain Planet!  Though it wouldn’t be Captain Planet….probably something like Captain IP, or Captain Copyright.

    With that bit settled, we can now figure out who the 5 "hip" teens are and what they’re powers are.  We obviously need a someone from South America (a piracy hot spot), and they obviously need him to have the worst power (thanks for setting a precedence, Ma-Ti).  Let’s give him "heart" again, cause obviously that’s the dumbest one.  Since he’s the most ambiguous one in terms of looks, he must encompass all the other stereotypes, so we’re never sure if he’s South American, Indian, or whatever.  In fact, he should be all of them together.

    Now we need a black kid to be PC.  Bonus points if he’s actually from Africa and has a totally kick ass generic African name, like Kwame or some such.  He’ll have a cool power, because that’s just how he roles.  He’ll know a surprising amount about IP protocol despite being from the middle of the fucking kalahari.  He can’t be stupid, afterall, as that’d be racist.  Let’s give him the power of the internets, cause that’s an awsome one.

    Then we need someone from some generic Asian country, since they’re so huge in the piracy there.  She can have some sad sob story about how a childhood friend of hers was killed by downloading stuff off the internet.  She can have a totally generic asian name so as not to be offensive to anyone, and she can also be the smartest and most acrobatic of the group of 5.  Why is she smart and acrobatic?  Cause her parents were scientists….ninja scientists.  Not because she’s asian…oh no.  Because she’s smart and in tune with the internet, she can control electricity or some such, as it’s the lifeblood of the internet.  The voice actor has to sound like an annoying asian lady, but also must keep that racist engrish to a minimum.

    Next we need some white chick that’s totally not american.  Let’s make her…say….russian cause they have bad piracy problems there, too.  No one really cares about her, but her power can be diametrically opposed to the white guy she’s in love with, cause we need to harp on this fact that goes nowhere (after all, it’s a children’s show).  In the end though, she just fills out the 5th spot, and no one really cares about her.

    Next we need someone to connect with the audience, which will the the white guy.  He can either be american, as is the target audience, or we can say he was originally from canada, and now he fights for the IP protection in his homeland.  He’ll be the "troubled kid" and will be the most "cool" out of all of them.  However, since we need him to ask stupid questions all the time so this horribly fascist RIAA style IP protection message can be shoved down the throat of impressionable young minds, he needs to be an idiot.  He can be best friends with the black guy to show he’s totally not racist as white people tend to be.  No, this guy must set an example.  His power can be the firey rage of litigation.  Yeah…that’s a good one.

    Then there needs to be an awsome tagline…like "by your powers combined" or some such.  Let’s check to see if that’s been taken yet.  Then Captain Copyright could come down in a swirl of IP forms and EULAs and beat up those nasty evil people who steal movies and music that doesn’t belong to them for nefarious reasons, like old people and poor college students.  However, these people aren’t really evil, so they have to be made to be evil.  The old people could be greedy old capitalists that just don’t want to part with their money, sort of like old man Scrouge.  In fact…let’s make him the main mastermind, and he can even have the catchphrase "Bah Humbug!"  Then the college students needs to be druggies and otherwise unsightly in character.  In the end they’re just pawns to old Scrouge.

    Man, this idea sounds so new, fresh, and can totally work!  (No….no it’s not and no it won’t).

    *if anyone read anything more than parody of "Captain Planet" cartoon or the making fun of said cartoon and it’s stupidity, then you’re an idiot.  If you find my comments hurtful or racist or anyways, guess what…I stole those ideas from the CP cartoon and I was making fun of the fact. 

  12. cjovalle says:

    How in the world can you have an Educator’s Guide to Copyright without mentioning copyright exemptions for educators? All they address is fair use (and with a fairly unsurprisingly narrow view)! I’ll have to write to them about this, as well as post on ALA’s site.

  13. Spartan says:

    In my classes I taught students to hate copyright law in the current incarnation because it do not serve the public’s interest to any degree. I wish every teacher would do the same when ever possible. The copyright lobby has done nothing but fuck education over – time and time again. The classroom is where hearts and minds are won.


    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  14. hellfire7885 says:

    Heh, now that I think about it, the headeri mage saying "If I copy Halo 3, terrorists win" will likely be more along what they may try.

  15. Father Time says:

    We should take George Carlin’s advice and teach kids to question what they read and question authority.

    Or at the very least tell them that people with an agenda are willing to lie or distort the truth to help their case. No exceptions.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  16. Mechadon says:

    This just screams wrong.

    I hate this course of action, for anyone who tries it. Be it commies, global-warmists, vegans, or these new assholes; children should not be taught what to think, but how to think.

  17. Pixelantes Anonymous says:

    That’s half true.

    There are, at least, three kinds of people who pirate digital content.

    1. Collectors

    2. Samplers

    3. Thieves

    The collectors pirate everything they can get their hands on. They are the ones who buy 20TB NAS drives to archive their stuff. Their motivation is to the size of their collection (think of it as a virtual penis size contest of sorts). Often they don’t even actually consume any or all that content, because there simply isn’t time to do so. They also couldn’t possibly buy all the content they pirate. The content industry loses no money because of these people, because they wouldn’t buy any of that content anyway if it wasn’t available for free.

    Samplers pirate content to sample before buying. The content they like, they buy. The content they don’t like, they don’t buy. The content industry actually makes more money from these people, because they do actually buy more content than they otherwise would.

    Thieves pirate content, because they don’t want to pay for it. This is the only group of people the content industry actually loses money on, because a download is a lost sale.

    The unknown issue is the relative size of each of these groups of people. I suspect the thieves is the biggest group, followed by samplers, and collectors coming far behind the other groups. The problem with all the piracy "debate" is that nobody ever phrases the problem in these terms. The content industry is hellbent on lieing through their teeth about how all piracy is bad. It’s not.

  18. Neeneko says:

    Outside health class, I’m not to happy about the anti-smoking or other such groups using the school as a platform either.    Though at least in the case of health groups they have objective information to hand out and do not have corperate backing to push thier own perfered view of the law.

    Looking back I can not see any dirrect equivlent of this IP material in school.

  19. hellfire7885 says:

    Giving the hamfisted approach the industries take to copyrighjt infringement, it’s only am atter of time before a move is made to make torrenting illegal too.

  20. E. Zachary Knight says:

    I hope I knew what you meant in that the application bittorrent itself is not illegal but the action of sharing copyrighted works through bittorrent is illegal. But the way you said it meant that the application itself was illegal.

    But yes, many people are not aware that sharing copyrighted files regardless of the method used to do so is illegal.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  21. insanejedi says:

    Don’t you think the anti-smoking organizations should have a hand in teaching our kids the dangers of smoking? This crap already happens anyways for a bunch of other topics that you might have experienced in Elementry to Junior High. I’m sorry but you have been brainwashed all the time in your life by non-government organizations telling you what to do.

  22. insanejedi says:

    Now your acting in bad faith but i’ll clairfy anyways. You obviously know what I’m talking about in that the usage of bittorrent for illegal actions is sometimes even unknown to people that it is illegal.

  23. Neeneko says:

    Educating kids on copyright in and of it’self is probably a very good thing.

    But I do not think that this group is the one that should be doing it.  They have too much of a commerial incentive for a particular subset of the argument to be taught.  They are unlikly to go over the other areas of copyright, or how copyright can be used by small artists to protect themselves.  They will probalby be given the consumer oriented ‘trust the big producers, since you might work for one’ drivil and that is about it.

    Nor will they teach how they are bending the rules either.

  24. E. Zachary Knight says:

    some people don’t know that bittorrent is even illegal

    That is a new one. I was totally unaware that the primary distribution model aside from direct http and ftp protocols for FOSS was illegal. That seems kind of odd that hundreds if not thousands of legit businesses and organizations were using illegal means to distribute their legal wares.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  25. insanejedi says:


    YES! 1 Pirated copy=/=1 sale lost.

    BUT! 1 Pirated Copy ALSO=/=1 Sale that would have never happened regardless.

    I think it’s fair to educate people where developers are comming from and what they do, and what it means to them when you actually purchase a copy and not pirate it. Some people don’t know any better and some people don’t know that bittorrent is even illegal. I doubt the 90% of people stealing World of Goo was made by 2 and a half people. The best way to combat piracy is for developers and the consumers to educate each other about themselves and what they do.

    And how would you know those people were ever going to spend their money? Some people look at it like "LOL I CAN GET COD4 FOR 60$ OR FOR FREE!"

  26. Monte says:

    I can almost picture it…

    "And remember kids ‘fair use’ and ‘first sale’ is nothing more than liberal propaganda"

  27. Neeneko says:

    I wonder how they will work around how often THEY violate copyright by stealing other people’s ideas wholesale.

    Maybe ‘copyright is an absolute right, unless the other side is higher up the foodchain then you, in which case your copyright is a hinderance to other people’s creativity’

  28. Neeneko says:

    Considering some of these groups are against libraries in the first place.. I doubt there will be much conflict in message.

  29. PHOENIXZERO says:

    Man, I forgot it was "Don’t Copy That Floppy" when I wrote my post and posted right after you. >_< Sad that the little company featured on there that made some game called Neverwinter Nights, unfortunely went no where from all that floppy copying. Then there’s the including Tetris which I still find at least mildy amusing.


    Gah, gotta love how just out of date that video is even back in 1992, but I guess it’s to be expected when you have a board room of adults who think this sort of thing is cool nevermind that MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice’s fifteen minutes were up at that point. Just looking at it again and watching some episodes of Sliders on Hulu that featured similar cheesy and awful hip-hop/rap like this is making me think the parody might have been inspiration for it.

  30. SimonBob says:

    Why do I get the feeling this is going to send mixed messages: "don’t download free music, go to the library and read free books instead!"

    On the other hand, if we get an updated "Don’t Copy That Floppy" for the new millenium, I approve wholeheartedly.

    The Mammon Philosophy

  31. axiomatic says:

    No I do not condone piracy, what I condone is realism, and you are being unrealistic with that assumption.

    On topic: If this occurs in my kids school I WILL in fact teach the other side to this propoganda and voice my concerns at whatever level is necesary that I do not find this kind of brainwashing appropriate for school just as I don’t support religion in school either.

    School is for academia not propoganda.

  32. insanejedi says:

    I think this is fair if they do it the "Don’t Copy that floppy" way where they explain that if you pirate games or movies this equation happens.

    Pirate=No one buying the game=No one getting paid=Developer Houses shutting down=No more games : (

  33. GoodRobotUs says:


    Seriously though, I consider this an advert, it’s deliberately designed to promote a particular viewpoint, therefore limiting freedom of the child to make up their own minds regarding something.

    The only stuff that should be promoted in Classrooms in this manner are things like Road Safety, Stranger awareness etc, basically, stuff that will protect the childs’ interests, not the industries’.

    Regardless of people’s opinion on that viewpoint, it’s an opinion they themselves came to, corporations want to target younger children because that way they believe they can snuff out dissent before it happens.

    It’s a whole crock of sh*t anyway, because the minute kids turn 12-13, they want to rebel against the machine anyway, so they’ll simply ignore everything they’ve been taught, and, in fact, deliberately do the opposite, so in many ways, such a technique stands a fair chance of exploding in their faces, but that doesn’t really justify it happening in the first place.

  34. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Taking a look at the site, it looks like they plan to have it integrated with the entire school curriculum. Not too good if you ask me:

    I need to read through what is posted on the site before I can make a better judgement call, but I am at work right now and can’t delve too deep into it.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  35. Mr. Peacock says:

    It would be hysterical if this ended up working like D.A.R.E. becuase, honestly, all D.A.R.E. did was teach kids how to do drugs, not keep them away from them. 

  36. hellfire7885 says:

    Sadly that will likely be the case. They’ll likely target children who are young enough ot not have a concept of fair use or first sale ,just try to drill into theirh eads that copyright is absolutely right, maybe make up a super hero for it.

  37. sirdarkat says:

    I’m sure it will be as effective as DARE was also; oh well Im an outcast and since everyone else does drugs it must be because I don’t do drugs that Im an outcast guess I will go ahead and do drugs (replace drugs with pirating things).

  38. E. Zachary Knight says:

    I am not sure exactly what to think of this. On one hand, it seems like it will be a D.A.R.E. type initiative. On the other hand, it could be seen as a bit of indoctrination of impressionable minds, especially if they try to avoid or talk down on issues of Fair Use and First Sale.

    I would certainly want parents and school boards to be presented with the program or presentations in their entirety. before they are actually approved. Parents especially.

    I certainly want to see the program in action before my kids are subjected to it.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  39. PHOENIXZERO says:

    Somewhere that "rapper" guy from that awful video from back in the late 80s/early 90s or whatever is gearing up for a comeback.


    Just what kids need is more government approved propaganda in schools, as if D.A.R.E. And and Sex Ed (at least how it was "taught" where I live) aren’t bad enough and at the very least the former’s case, a colossal failure.

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