Electronic Frontier Foundation Launches School Copyright Curriculum

A couple of weeks back GamePolitics reported that the Copyright Alliance had developed a K-12 curriculum designed to drill the IP lobbying group’s message into school children.

By contrast, the more consumer-friendly Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched Teaching Copyright, a curriculum of its own. As one might expect, the EFF takes a much different approach than the Copyright Alliance.

While I’m not sure that either side in the copyright debate should be permitted to chew up precious educational time, the EFF points out that California law requires such curriculum:

In 2006, California passed a law requiring schools that accept technology funding to educate students about copyright, plagiarism, and the basics of Internet safety. Other states have since considered similar laws…


When we surveyed existing digital education resources related to copyright, we were dismayed to find that… the materials focused on drilling students on the prohibitions of copyright… we could not stand by and let this educational opportunity become an excuse to scare young people away from making full and fair use of the digital technologies that will continue to affect virtually every aspect of their lives.

The EFF’s curriculum includes:

  • What is legal online?
  • How is creativity being enabled by new technologies?
  • What digital rights and responsibilities exist already, and what roles do we play as users of digital technology?

However, Nate Anderson of Ars Technica expressed some concerns about the EFF’s educational prorgam:

The EFF’s curriculum rightly says that P2P isn’t just for copyright infringement… But the material glosses quickly over the absolutely epic levels of infringement taking place on P2P networks…

The [EFF] curriculum seems to presuppose, in fact, that students have already been bombarded with rightsholder concerns to the point that these can almost be left out of the discussion.


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  1. 0
    Chaplain99 says:

    Agreed; lobbyists should stick to Congress, not classrooms (ooooh, catchy phrase! 😀 ).

    Adding to that, we should also be concerned that teaching students what is or is not legal online may also inhibit technological advancement, albeit on a more conservative scale.

    "HEY! LISTEN!"

  2. 0
    Roh02 says:

    urghh it better be optional like sex education so parents can ask to let their kids be excluded from the lesson lets include creationism in that too and any other religious lesson while were at it.

    I dont have kids but if I ever have em I dont want them in any of those their allowed in the sex education class though presuming they dont demonise it or throw out contraceptives like sweets.

  3. 0
    Pierre-Olivier says:

    If this can make so that this generation knows enough about copyrights law to stop (or at least slow) scare tactics (such as the RIAA’s), I’ll gladly support it. The main weapons of the companies that sue individuals as scare tactics is the consumer ignorance (at least not in detail) of the copyright law. If the consumer knows about the fair use laws and that the companies don’t have that much power, they won’t be scared and these companies will lose their weapon.


    That’s how I think of it. Four years ago, there was a similar deal with recovering agencis (not sure of the right terms).

  4. 0
    Father Time says:

    CCFC get on this and we’ll respect you more.

    Lobby groups should never be allowed to make curriculum in the K-12 classroom, 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.

  5. 0
    axiomatic says:

    I do not support this curriculum.

    If we are going to discuss "law" at all in the K->12 range then a more general course on law is appropriate and then if there is time you can start teaching these "hot button" issues as time permits. But without a base understanding of law delivered first I can’t imagine any student really caring or being interestind in any manner.

  6. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    I am with Ars on their concerns. The CA and the EFF seem to be on opposite extremes on the pendulum. If copyright education must be a part of school curriculum, we need a healthy balance. Yes teach them about fair use and First Sale, but don’t forget to teach about plagiarism and infringement.

    Everyone needs to be taught respect for laws and how to obey those laws. But we also need to realize and teach that the laws aren’t as rigid as the CA would have you believe.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

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

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