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MPAA, RIAA: Kids need to learn 3 Rs – reading, writing and NO RIPPING

Curriculum suggestion: 'Be a creator' not a freetard

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A collection of copyright enforcement groups including the Motion Picture Ass. of America and the music label body RIAA want to use school time to teach youngsters about the perils of internet piracy.

First unveiled in September, the plan calls for elementary schoolchildren (up to grade 6, or 12 years old) to be given lessons on copyright infringement and media sharing. Dubbed "Be a Creator," the curriculum is touted as a means for educating students about handling and sharing digital content.

According to co-creators iKeepSafe, the curriculum would include lessons and media presentations as well as handouts aimed at teachers and parents.

"Knowing how to create, collaborate, and share responsibly are twenty-first century skills," the group said. "And, teacher-librarians are the best prepared to teach it."

Backers of the program say that the aim of the plan is to teach students the value of creating and protecting digital content before they are old enough to be seduced into the ranks of the freetards.

"The goal of the curriculum is to introduce age-appropriate concepts to children about artistic creations, including that children can be creators and innovators just like their favorite musicians, actors and artists," said the Center for Copyright Information, a group which helped to build the plan.

"Ultimately, the curriculum will extend through the twelfth grade, and will explore concepts educational experts agree are more appropriate for teenagers such as the rationale for copyright and important issues like fair use."

The program is not without its critics. The Los Angeles Times notes that the California Teachers Association has been critical of the plan, questioning whether valuable classroom time be spent preaching the ills of illegal downloading and file sharing.

That the plan would be met with skepticism is hardly a surprise given the history of its backers. Both the RIAA and the MPAA have made themselves into villains when it comes to digital rights and data-sharing.

The groups have built reputations for draconian enforcement tactics such as seeking small fortunes from single mothers and strong-arming hugely unpopular legislative efforts such as the infamous SOPA bill.

With such backers, even a well-meaning campaign could draw the ire of the public and face a bumpy-road to implementation. ®

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