Copyright pirates, they’re certainly no Boy Scouts

And if they were … well, I guess they wouldn’t be able to get this new activity badge, would they? The MSNBC story notes:

Boy Scouts in the Los Angeles area will now be able to earn a merit patch for learning about the evils of downloading pirated movies and music. . . .

The movie industry has developed the curriculum. “Working with the Boy Scouts of Los Angeles, we have a real opportunity to educate a new generation about how movies are made, why they are valuable, and hopefully change attitudes about intellectual property theft,” Dan Glickman, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in a statement Friday. Scouts will be instructed in the basics of copyright law and learn how to identify five types of copyrighted works and three ways copyrighted materials may be stolen.

An interesting way to try to rein in the Young and the Lawless, no? There are obvious issues here — in particular, whether the Boy Scouts should be turning over instruction on a somewhat controversial issue to an advocacy group. On the other hand, if executed well, this could be a good idea. Given the widespread use of file sharing programs, and misunderstandings about law, I suspect that many Scout-age youth could use a sobering reminder that they can’t just copy anything and everything.

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4 Responses

  1. Frank says:

    Let’s hope they offer a “fair use” badge, for transformative, noncommercial uses that don’t harm the market for the original!

  2. Scott Moss says:

    Next up: Pfizer sponsors a merit badge for education on (1) how good it is to use name-brand drugs rather than generics and (2) hoe bad it is for third-world countries to infringe on patents for AIDS drugs?

    It’s nice to see the Boy Scouts adding Defending Capitalist Investment to their traditional agenda of Excluding Gays. It really rounds out their political agenda nicely; it’s like they have a whole party platform now!

  3. save_the_rustbelt says:

    Fortunately this is only the Los Angeles area, I would hate to have to work copyright enforcement into our next camporee.

    And to think we dropped the rabbit raising badge.

  4. B Leonhard says:

    Perhaps the Boys Scouts are just desperate for corporate sponsorship now that the ACLU has made the public sector inaccessible to the little tykes.