Anti-Piracy Propaganda for Elementary Students?

A new elementary school curriculum is being developed by the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, and several of the nation’s top ISPs to teach children about the unlawfulness of sharing copyrighted material.

Mitch Stolz, an intellectual property attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, reviewed the material at WIRED’s request and said, “This thinly disguised corporate propaganda is inaccurate and inappropriate.”

“It suggests, falsely, that ideas are property and that building on others’ ideas always requires permission.”

Stolz continued, “The overriding message of this curriculum is that students’ time should be consumed not in creating but in worrying about their impact on corporate profits.”

Each grade level’s curriculum material consists of a short video and a worksheet with discussion points for teachers to use- with questions such as, “In school, if we copy a friend’s answers on a test or homework assignment, what happens?” — and attempts to teach the little ones that using works without permission is “stealing.”

A pilot project is to be tested in California schools later this year.

Check out the video: 

34 Responses

  1. rikki

    People steal music becuse they know it’s McMusic cheap disposable, throwaway crap, like a cigarette lighter

    But then every so oftern you really find a great artist and you want to honor them by BUYING all their music, accessories and concert tickets!!!

    • Visitor

      just sayin…consider the source.

      Inaugural Nyan Cat Award- Mitch Stoltz of Electronic Frontier Foundation

  2. Visitor

    “Mitch Stolz, an intellectual property attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, reviewed”

    Oops — you forget to say that EFF is a notorious pro-piracy organization.

    Makes all the difference.

      • Visitor

        I’m not so sure. Pirates and pedophiles have done a great job making it look like a consumer organization.

  3. Marc Beeson

    Yep, that’s what people who actually write something for their living really need. Another opinion from a quasi intelectual vulture. I wonder how Stolz would feel if he had worked for 25 years learning how to craft a song and then when he finally was good enough to have some songs recorded, he could only earn a fraction of what it was worth? I’m here to tell you Mitch, that there’s a human being tied to that song that’s being illegally downloaded. Someone who worked dilligently to be able to do something that very few can do really well… And for a lot longer than you spent in law school… And I can write something on a legal pad you couldn’t do in a hundred years…

    I’ve never wanted to get rich or famous from it. I’ve just wanted to make enough to continue practicing the craft I’ve worked at my whole life. Does that sound like “corporate propoganda” to you? Is it really so wrong to let kids know that downloading and file sharing without paying for it is stealing?

  4. wallow-T

    “Remember, kids! You’re better off when you listen to less music!”

    • Visitor

      …and less music is exactly what you get if you’re a pirate, whether you steal from physical or digital stores.

      It’s very simple: No income, no new music.

      • Richard Zedalius

        An artist shouldn’t expect to make much, if anything at all, from recorded music. It exists so that people will go to the concert or perhaps even buy some of the merchandise. This new reality will of course make a few lazy artists angry and upset, but no body cares about them or that.

        • Visitor

          “An artist shouldn’t expect to make much, if anything at all, from recorded music”

          Your problem is that you don’t know how the kind of music people want to hear is made.

          Here’s a common scenario:

          First, the lyrics, melody, chords and/or beat are written by a writing team, usually consisting of a variety of producers, composers and lyricist.

          Each member obviously has to be paid. Otherwise, s/he’s just not going to work for you.

          Then the music is often arranged by a arranger. Who obviously has to be paid. If s/he isn’t, s/he doesn’t work.

          Now the vocals and the instruments will be recorded in a professional studio. If the studio is paid, of course. If it’s not, then you’re not going to get in.

          In the studio, you’re going to meet the recording engineers and the hired musicians. If you pay them. If you don’t, you’ll just find an empty studio with a bunch of nice gear (if you have paid the rent).

          When everything is ‘taped’ — using equipment that is way more expensive than ever before — then the mixing engineers take over. If you pay them, of course. Otherwise, they won’t work for you.

          When they’re done, the whole thing is sent to the mastering engineer who makes it ‘sound like a record’. If you pay him, that is. Otherwise, it’s going to sound like a song recorded on a stolen Cubase copy in a tin can in your mom’s basement.

          So now you know why it is so incredibly expensive to make the kind of music people want.

          Now, where do you think all that money comes from?

          • GGG

            You really think Wrecking Ball was arranged by someone besides the producer (s)? You really think Roar uses many real instruments besides synths and software?

          • Visitor

            “we’re in 2013, not 1955”

            That’s for sure.

            Back then, a truck driver could walk into Sun Records, have fun for a couple hours and make history.

            Try that today.

          • Visitor

            Now, where do you think all that money comes from?

            Well, if you’re not selling $18 plastic discs (With some ill conceived DRM)……………Nowhere

          • GGG

            Digital downloads (albums and songs), streaming, youtube, synch licenses, tix to shows, guarantees, advances, tshirts, posters, other merch, crowdfunding, sponsorships, etc.
            I dunno who your management is, but they suck if your only income is from CDs. And/or your music sucks or you have to do more work if literally nobody wants to pay you for anything.
            It amazes me how many people think they are entitled to money simply for writing a song. Ok, you poured your blood sweat and tears into an album. Good for you. Now treat it like the job it is in 2013, quit whining when some guy doesn’t walk up and give you $100k to sit at home, and MAKE people care about it. MAKE people want to give you money. MAKE people fall in love with your music. Hate to break it to you all, but if nobody gives a shit, chances are it’s less the decades old institutionalized ripping off of artists and more the fact that you just suck. Delusion is at an all time high in the music world.

          • Visitor

            Hmm…let’s see:
            Digital downloads (albums and songs) – if people just download from free sources, how does this pay?
            streaming, youtube – currently pays almost nothing at all.
            synch licenses – still a source of income, but also more limited than the music marketplace as a whole.
            tix to shows – has always been one of the sources of income for musicians; however, it also means touring constantly – so they don’t get to have a home life, then?
            guarantees – this is concert income, not something separate. Also, you have to be established already to command a guarantee.
            advances – this is not income, this is an advance against future income, typically given by record labels. Fewer and far between in the “new enconomy”.
            tshirts, posters, other merch – these are souvenirs, not the main product.
            crowdfunding, sponsorships, etc. – so you’re proposing making a living by shaking a can?
            Your responses show that you really don’t have an idea how the entertainment market actually works.

        • Yves Villeneuve

          Hi Richard, fans shouldn’t expect videos, merchandise and concerts. I don’t offer these secondary, less relevant but more expensive products… I’m not much into materialism and vanity.

          Music is the primary product in the music industry though not against others using additional products and services to increase their revenues if fans are not taken advantage of because of their seemingly unstoppable worship of their idols.

          • GGG

            Most fans expect videos, merch and concerts. Just because you’re some freak recluse who decides not to do these things doesn’t mean people don’t want it. In your case, none of your “fans” ask you for it because they aren’t actual fans, they’re just randos from around the world who like anything that’s advertised to them on Facebook. In reality, with how many weirdos are on the Internet, you’d probably get some real fans if you actually interacted like a nobody artist should.

            I’m going to see an indie band play one of two nights in a 3000 cap room. They will have, and sell, lots of shirts, posters, etc.

          • Yves Villeneuve

            Yes it’s true, many fans do expect it, but does not necessarily mean they should when the main product is supposed to be music. Everything else is a “monetizing option” the artist/manager can pursue.
            I specifically tweeted and stated elsewhere in the past my only product is music recordings so even though some fans may be endlessly wishing for videos, merchandise and concerts they have been warned of my intentions not to provide these things.

          • Visitor

            Music is the primary product in the music industry

            I disagree when it comes to music “industry”. The product is “the band”, “the singer” etc etc… music is 2nd, it is the media through which the first is conveyed.

          • Yves Villeneuve

            You have a point to a certain degree. However, most people are not going to buy my music because I’m Brad Pitt or Michael J Fox for instance.

  5. Visitor

    Oh that’s Rich…several top ISPs… I recall the television commericals for broadband that touted it’s great benefit of downloading tons of music and movies – BEFORE there was anywhere to legally do any of that!

    Of course, now that everyone has broadband, they can change their tune.

  6. Yves Villeneuve

    Governments should just adopt the France solution to fighting piracy. It’s extremely effective and reasonable but needs to be more active in sending out as many fines as possible in the first year (have many civil servants in one or two year contracts as to not waste their career in this department).

  7. Yves Villeneuve

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but ideas are property especially when they are trademarked, patented or copyrighted. Stoltz is supposed to be an “intellectual property” attorney? This guy has a lot of arrogance going for him.

    • GGG

      You are sort of wrong, just need the next step. You can’t trademark, patent or copyright an idea unless you have a tangible represenation of it. I can’t just go to DC and say “Hey, I have an idea for a flying car! Give me a patent!” You can patent blueprints, though.

  8. wallow-T

    “Remember, kids! Every one of you has a music copying machine! But, you must not use it!!”

  9. AnAmusedGeek

    Am I the only one that finds it ironic they used FREE music in a video talking about paying people for their work ?

    check the credits – CC by atribution from incompetech
    ( )
    So I guess its ok not to pay people, as long as your making video’s about how its bad not to pay people…
    Btw – this guy has has some really good stuff..
    I’d love to seen an interview with him and see how the CC stuff works out for him. Wonder if he actually manages to pay the bills ?

    • Visitor

      Actually, using music where permission has been granted to deliver a message about not using it where permission has not been granted is pretty much spot-on.

  10. Kris

    Very good message in the Video but considering that the cat has already been let out of the bag, it is a little late!