Hollywood Brainwashes them Young

As a former Boy Scout myself, I find this pretty appalling.

Boy Scouts in the Los Angeles area will now be able to earn an activity patch for learning about the evils of downloading pirated movies and music. The patch shows a film reel, a music CD and the international copyright symbol, a “C” enclosed in a circle. The movie industry has developed the curriculum.

I’d like to see a Creative Commons activity patch, which you earn by proving you understand the workings of copyright and of public domain, and you understand the different types of licensing.

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it one thousand times, and I’ll keep repeating it until I’m blue in the face. I don’t think the MPAA and RIAA “wars on piracy” are primarily about keeping you from downloading their copyrighted materials. I think they are about trying to prevent you from downloading anything, whether offered legitimately or not. Right now they control the distribution of almost all entertainment materials. In a world where you can download Rocketboom or Star Wars Revelations for free, their value diminishes. When the dominant player with all the money tries to argue from the high moral ground, check your wallet and count your rings because they are trying to pick your pocket.

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

4 thoughts on “Hollywood Brainwashes them Young”

  1. Eldon says:

    This is the third or fourth place I’ve heard of this (it already having been posted on slashdot and bb), and I’ve been frustrated a lot with the discussion on it. I would like to make just a few point to someone, and I guess you won.
    Disclaimer: I have yet to find the badge requirements online, so my opinion on this is pending confirmation of certain suspicions.
    The first thing I would like to say is that, from reading the opinions of many people online, they judge a large group of people based on the actions of a few individuals. While some members of scouting may be homophobic or intolerant, that does not mean that these ideals are universally accepted. It would seem to me that this would be analogous to saying that all Christians are evil because the says/believes something disagreeable. We at my troup would certainly have been tolerant gay members as long as their actions were appropriate, I think. The fact here is that most troups are largely autonomous in their decisionmaking, and the larger organizations exist mostly as support structures for the local ones.
    The second thing I would say is that it is clearly a fact that copyright infringement is illegal. And a big part of scouting is following the rules to the best of one’s ability, and attempting to change inappropriate rules from within the societally-accepted system. Examples of this change include copyleft/creative commons, and I think it would be great if we could develop this patch. While I don’t have time right now, it may be something on the slate in the near future. However, I think that noone should be subject to the scathing statements I’ve seen directed towards the scouts for trying to get people to follow the rules of a government that we implicitly support every time we pay sales tax, use our drivers license, or vote. All of this has nothing to do with the MPAA in principal, it is simply the case that they are willing to make donations to help the scouts to fulfill their mission to produce law-abiding citizens. Corporate sponsorship for such nonprofit endeavors is not all that uncommon. Yes, the RIAA and MPAA may be evil. Yes, the system may need change. And yes, the people who are hurt the most by copyright infringement are the rich. However, that change can best be affected by individuals who are 1) old enough to vote(most scouts aren’t) to change bizarre policies and who are 2) in a position to control spending and educate the next generation. The punchline is, anyone advocating something legal and fun can probably get a patch made about it. So, rather than complaining that scouts are corporate shills, let’s use to pros of cc (remixing, distribution, etc.) to make scouting the biggest creative-commons advocacy group out there.

  2. Ken Nelson says:

    The MPAA has a pdf http://mpaa.org/press_releases/respect%20copyrights%20curriculum%20and%20patch.pdf

    There is a merit-badge-like drawing at the end of the document.

    Kansas now has Dan Glickman to live down, it appears.


  3. David Jacobs says:

    Mama don’t let your kids grow up to be pirates, unless they’re buying Jack Sparrow gear.

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