Feeds

Microsoft swoops into schools to teach P2P morality

Down with the kids

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Teenage intellectual property (IP) law swotters are less likely to illegally download music and film files from the internet than their clueless counterparts, Microsoft claimed yesterday.

Redmond is now looking to bring the rest of the kids up to speed by pushing its own IP curriculum in schools.

The software giant reckoned that many youngsters between the delicate, transitional ages of 13 to 16 are woefully ignorant of the law when it comes to free file-sharing over the web.

Microsoft based this on a small survey (501 teens) in which it found that nearly half of all youngsters were unfamiliar with the rules and guidelines for downloading images, literature, music, movies, and software. In contrast, only one in 10 said they understood the rules "very well".

Those wholesome teens steering clear of illegal downloading credited their good behaviour to their parents, and stuff they had read in magazines, on the web, or from watching the television.

But schools appeared to lag behind when it came to teaching the kind of web etiquette a software multinational like Microsoft would – and is – openly encouraging.

So the firm has put up its own beta website in the hope of convincing young miscreants to abandon their BitTorrent-loving ways and become "good online citizens".

MyBytes, which looks and feels like a middle-aged man hopelessly trying to get down with the kids, is a clunky social networking style site that is thinly-veiled as a fun forum for teens to get their cultural kicks. Look! ringtones!

The main nuts and bolts of the survey hinges on Redmond's decision to push an IP rights curriculum, aimed at middle and high school teachers.

Topics Education will help Microsoft carry out its field test, which will initially run until the end of next month. If it proves successful the firm said it would give it the red carpet treatment later this year.

This is not the first time Redmond has attempted to condescend to educate kids. In 2004, it backed the Business Software Alliance's "Play It Safe in Cyber Space" campaign.

So far, however, there's no real sign of swaths of people turning down the volume, unplugging their computers, and abandoning peer-to-peer networks in favour of actually parting with cash for Britney's latest single.

Just last month The Pirate Bay claimed that it had hit 10 million peers and one million torrents on its BitTorrent tracker site. Perhaps ignorance is bliss, afterall. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.