MPAA, RIAA want anti-piracy lessons taught to elementary school kids

Detailed within the L.A. Times yesterday, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) are commissioning and attempting to push a school curriculum aimed at teaching young children the dangers of downloading illegal music and movies. Also partnering with the main Internet service providers in North American,  a non-for-profit organization called the Center for Copyright Information is currently developing these new lessons. Of course, educators would have to work these lessons into a teaching schedule that’s already focused on important subjects such as math, science and literature.

The entire program is called “Be a Creator” and includes multimedia lessons that teach kids about the importance of giving content creators credit for their work. Some of the names of the lessons include “Copyright Matters,” “It’s Great to Create” and “Respect the Person: Give Credit.”

Directed at students around the age of 7, one of the video lessons shows a student trying to decide if he should sell photos that he owns through an online portal or just give them out to friends. After the video, the teacher is promoted with the response “You’re not old enough yet to be selling your pictures online, but pretty soon you will be. And you’ll appreciate if the rest of us respect your work by not copying it and doing whatever we want with it.”  

When asked about his opinion on the piracy-related curriculum, attorney and copyright law expert Stephen Smith said “The idea that time would be taken out of kids’ days to teach them copyright law, when they ought to be learning reading, writing and arithmetic, I find to be strange. I just don’t think it’s appropriate curriculum for kindergartners to sixth-graders.”

According to a representative of the Center for Copyright Information, the current draft of the anti-piracy curriculum has not been completed yet, but expects the elementary school section of the lessons to be finished by early 2014. The group hopes to test the lessons on a pilot basis in California before eventually pushing out the curriculum across the nation. 

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