1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Kindergarten Copyright

One of the lesson's accompanying
Elementary schools in California are soon to include copyright law on the curriculum.  In a pilot scheme to be rolled out later this year, children aged five to twelve will receive compulsory lessons introducing copyright law and the consequences of copyright infringement.

Material for the lessons was drawn up by the California School Library Association and the Internet Keep Safe Coalition in conjunction with the Center for Copyright Infringement (whose board members include Motion Picture Association of American, the Recording Industry Association of America, as well as the country’s largest ISPs). Each lesson includes a video on some aspect of copyright law and a guided discussion on the subject.  The lessons emphasize the creator’s right to control how the work is used, as well as the harm that copying could cause him.

Suspiciously absent from the lesson plans is the concept of fair use. President of the Internet Keep Safe Coalition, Marsali Hancock, initially explained that the doctrine was omitted because it was too difficult for children to understand. Subsequently some have claimed the lessons are a simple attempt at indoctrination. Mitch Stollz, an IP attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation claims the lesson plans are “thinly disguised propaganda”. In response to such criticism, the California School Library Association’s vice president, Glen Warren, has conceded that he has “some editing to do”.

Details can be found on Wired.com.

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