Copyright Education

Photo Credit - opensource.com

Photo Credit – opensource.com

In California, USA, they’re letting the copyright industry draft educational policy. An article on Wired and another on opensource.com will give you all the details, so I’ll just do a summary here.

Copyright education is how the industry looks at it. To them it makes perfect sense that the school curriculum should be tailored to protect their income. They seem to have some allies in government who feel the same way, and a long and determined propaganda campaign has much of the public indoctrinated with their message. And if it was only a message to inform people of their responsibilities and their rights when dealing with copyrighted material, that would be all right. Unfortunately, the message is more often that copying is stealing, and that anyone who doesn’t pay for the privilege is evil.

copyright-fair-useThe copyright education envisaged by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America,) the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and some other acronyms focuses entirely on what they will lose if they can’t stop people from sharing. As the Wired article puts it, “Downloading is Mean!” This copyright education will be fine tuned to the comprehension level of children from kindergarten through grade six. It is the childrens’ comprehension level that forces them to not complicate the material with concepts like fair use. Instead, they want to be sure that the children understand that any use of copyrighted material without permission is stealing.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

Meanwhile, the article on opensource.com thinks the message to children should be about what they can do, rather than what they can’t do. They can learn all the stuff about copyright and fair use later, when their brains are more sophisticated. In addition to that, they point out that there is no mention of the commons, the public domain or open licenses. The children aren’t being told that there is material out there that is free to share, or that they are actively encouraged to share by its creator. No Musopen. No Green Comet. That must be something else that they’re not ready to understand. Opensource.com counters this self-serving deception by offering links to many better sources for copyright curriculum.

If the government allows corporate propaganda in the classroom, then they’re betraying the children they’re meant to nurture.

rjb

About arjaybe

Jim has fought forest fires and controlled traffic in the air and on the sea. Now he writes stories.

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8 Responses to Copyright Education

  1. megatotoro says:

    Unfortunately, corporate propaganda is already well-entrenched in education, especially with everything related to technology. The worst is that educators, instead of breaking these enslaving models, often reproduce them and are the ones who take technology least critically. As a result, younger generations are indoctrinated through education instead of being empowered through critical thinking. The good news is that some schools encourage students to break free from the lock-in of technology-providing companies by using open source/ free software in their labs.

  2. megatotoro says:

    Well, my university is migrating to FOSS. Also, I know of several elementary schools here in my country that have already migrated all their systems (not just their computer labs) to Ubuntu and couldn’t be happier.

    Unfortunately, the section of the university to which I belong is one of those that reproduce the discourse of corporations. Most of my colleagues think of themselves as tech-savvy educators, but in reality all they do is using a couple of MS tools and teaching their students (future teachers) how to use such software. My brother and I are doing all we can to change that by showing both our colleagues and our students that FOSS is not just a tech alternative, but also a choice better aligned with the goal of education: to make individuals free.

    • arjaybe says:

      There’s a computer course offered in my town where they promise to teach you how to use Windows 8, and call it teaching you how to use a computer.

      I take heart when I see people living by principles. Also when people realize what free and open tools can do for them. And especially the people who create those tools and make them free.

      rjb

  3. megatotoro says:

    You have already made a significant contribution in my university: Green Comet.

    Last semester, I was able to show my students the power and importance of FOSS thanks to your novel. They could reflect on the advantages of a world in which people share both their knowledge and the tools to create it.

    I’ll always be thankful to you for sharing your work and knowledge with us. I’ll tell my students about Musopen, too.

  4. emmylgant says:

    You’re the man! 🙂

  5. mixedupmeme says:

    This doesn’t have anything to do with copyright. But Texas is big on buying textbooks. And often as Texas goes……so goes the nation. A lot of the textbook choosing board would like to exclude evilution. But progress is being made. Some places textbooks are being replaced with computers and access to the real stuff can’t be stopped. 🙂

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