Report: MPAA and RIAA Teach Copyright at California Public Schools

According to this TorrentFreak article, the trade groups representing the music and movie industry are indoctrinating kindergartners in the state of California with an "educational program" about "sharing creative works." The Center for Copyright Information, a partnership between the MPAA, RIAA and five of the largest Internet providers in the United States, are teaching copyright classes in California public schools. The group, which is also in charge of the six-strikes alert system for copyright violation enforcement and education, has developed a curriculum targeted at kids from kindergarten through sixth grade.

CCI’s Executive Director Jill Lesser addressed the House Judiciary Subcommittee today, explaining what efforts the group has taken so far and what it hopes to achieve in the near future. Lesser told the Subcommittee that it was too early to properly evaluate the effectiveness of the alert system. The CCI did say that it has learned a lot valuable insights from "customer research " that will help to frame their educational messages in the future. But the research, according to the CCI, also found that most consumers don’t understand or appreciate copyright.

"We found that most consumers do not understand or appreciate concepts that many of us in the policy and legal communities take for granted – like the meaning of copyright," Lesser notes.

But the most interesting part of the report from TorrentFreak deals with the CCI's work with iKeepSafe in "teaching children" about "copyright." Together they have developed a new curriculum that will teach the value of copyright to California kids, starting at kindergarten.

"We have developed a new copyright curriculum that is being piloted during this academic year in California," Lesser told the House Judiciary Subcommittee. "The kindergarten through sixth grade curriculum, entitled 'Be A Creator,' is the result of CCI’s partnership with the California School Libraries Association and iKeepSafe, a leading digital literacy organization."

A pamphlet from the curriculum can be found below:

TorrentFreak talked with both Public Knowledge and the EFF about the curriculum. Public Knowledge president and co-founder Gigi Sohn, who is a member of CCI’s advisory board, said that there are several safeguards in place to assure that the end product will be objective.

"Rest assured if this curriculum is perceived as being anything but fair, it won’t proceed beyond the pilot stage," Sohn says.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation was a bit more skeptical about the educational program, and fears that it will put copyright holders in a more favorable light.

"Based on what we’ve seen so far, that curriculum will do little to help kids understand the copyright balance," and EFF representative noted. "Instead, it is going to teach kids that creative works are ‘stuff’ that can be owned and that you must always check before using that 'stuff.'"

Source: TorrentFreak, image via

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