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Hong Kong scouts gain IP proficiency badge

Dib dib dib, MPA style

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Contest No group cares more about nurturing the moral fibers of Hong Kong youth than the Motion Picture Association (MPA). That much is obvious after the Hollywood trade group announced a deal with the Hong Kong Scout Association to kick off "the world's first Scout merit badge program focused on respect for and protection of intellectual property."

Thankfully, it's not as bad as it seems. The Intellectual Property Badge will be more of a secret shame shared by Khaki-clad boys and girls in Hong Kong. "It is really what they call a proficiency badge - the badge cannot be put on the shirt,'' a spokeswoman at China's Intellectual Property Department told The Standard. (Thanks to P2Pnet.net for flagging this sucker.)

To earn their badge, the scouts will need to attend numerous seminars and prove that they've learnt the real value of a copyright. We can only assume these seminars will include information on the merits of suing children and grandparents to protect struggling firms such as Disney and Viacom. In addition, the MPA would be expected to provide information on how keeping the price of CDs artificially high will benefit Hong Kong consumers and businesses over the long-term.

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“Worldwide, intellectual property theft is the biggest threat to creativity today, and the war against piracy will be won through our efforts to educate consumers that buying pirated movies amounts to theft,” said Mike Ellis, SVP of the Asia-Pacific region for the Motion Picture Association. “The Intellectual Property Badge Award Program will provide thousands of young people – future leaders – with a better understanding of the value of intellectual property and of the importance of protecting it.”

The IP Badge was the brainchild of Victor Chan - the deputy general manager for the MPA's Hong Kong program. Chan let word of his deep concern for Chinese youngsters get out, and the Hong Kong Scout Association, Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department (IPD) and Hong Kong Customs & Excise Department rushed to back the program. Is there any warmer or fuzzier group than the Hong Kong Customs & Excise Department? Nothing says, "Welcome to adolescence" like a bag search and a rubber glove.

Picture of a Hong Kong scout

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At the start of April, the IPD "conducted the first 'train the trainers' course for 25 Scout leaders, after which the leaders began to organize intellectual property training programs that will be available to all of Hong Kong’s 100,000 Scout Association members," the MPA said in a statement.

This program will surely lead to the protection of thousands of copies of Shrek III and establish a true disdain for copyright infringing porn.

There's a free Register t-shirt available to anyone who attends enough training sessions with their children to earn a badge and show it to us. In addition, we'll award a shirt to anyone who can design the best Register "Biting the Pigopolists" badge. Send your entries here. ®

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