Big Content and Big Telcos make copyright propaganda for California public schools


Shhhing. I love the everything about the first few seconds. The happy music being cut violently by the sword sound as “Copyright Matters” invades the screen like a slide from a 90s PowerPoint presentation. The slightly off-center text is a nice touch, ten pixels or so, just enough to poke you in the subconscious. The ribbed gradients crosshatching into chaos and even the control bar conspiring to bring the text further into the basement of the image.

This was clearly made by a master agitator. A troll king.

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This stuff just gets stranger. Meet Faux Paw the Internet Cat.

I guess that Captain Copyright never quite took off, eh?

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dafuq? Seriously, is this how you folk develop curriculum?


If you tell a lie often enough…

EFF made put together a counter to this sort of propaganda a few years ago:


Ah but what kind of incentives does the MPAA give for teaching it’s version of copyright?

Access to educational DVD’s on the cheap that you’d otherwise be forced to show a recording of a screen of?

I think it’s great how the EFF publication cuts to the heart of the matter, explaining how “substitution for the original” is not the same as “transformative works”, and proceeds to give clear examples of the difference.

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Very compelling…but I think it might be more persuasive as a film strip with beeping to move from image to image. The circus-calliope soundtrack is sure to be a big hit with the kids.


So long as it is not incorporated into the teaching standards (eg Common Core), it is likely that these new educational materials will be largely ignored. One of the few upsides to the trend towards teaching to the test.

(Although I strongly suspect that inclusion of copyright protection into standards will be proposed soon. It will come under the guise of “fighting plagiarism,” but will not emphasize attribution as much as ownership.)

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I suspect that staff quality varies wildly; but the teachers and librarians of my aquaintance (in school settings) have usually harbored no personal confusion about the difference between ‘plagiarism’ and ‘copyright infringement’. If some wild copyright maximalist hackjob of a test comes out, where the kiddies need to dutifully recount how the invention of copyrights saved academia from a hellish morass of unattributed quotations, they won’t necessarily have much of a choice; but the usual vibe, in the places I’ve seen, is “Plagiarism is serious business, and if you misrepresent others’ work as your own Things Will Be Bad. As for copyright infringement, the IT department would really prefer if you didn’t do any on the school network.”

Absolutely. In fact, every educator I know has had the discussion that “yes, you can copy wikipedia. No, you can’t say it is yours” with a student at some point. It is a point of occasional confusion with students, but absolutely not with teachers.

That said, I can easily see a standard being included in common core that says “Students should determine the copyright status of any work being quoted, to ensure ownership is maintained.” Once that is in there, every teacher is going to be searching for planning materials on how to teach that standard. Without it, teaching materials are going to rarely be utilized.


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