Downloading Is Mean! Content Industry Drafts Anti-Piracy Curriculum for Elementary Schools

By David Kravets
Wired
Sep. 30, 2013


Listen up children: Cheating on your homework or cribbing notes from another student is bad, but not as bad as sharing a music track with a friend, or otherwise depriving the content-industry of its well-earned profits.

That’s one of the messages in a new-school curriculum being developed with the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America and the nation’s top ISPs, in a pilot project to be tested in California elementary schools later this year.

A near-final draft of the curriculum, obtained by WIRED, shows that it comes in different flavors for every grade from kindergarten through sixth, to keep pace with your developing child’s ability to understand that copying is theft, period.

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

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

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