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The MPAA wants schools to teach first-graders the dangers of digital piracy

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School bus emergency exit (Flickr)
School bus emergency exit (Flickr)

The copyright lobby hasn't been shy about pressing the anti-piracy case, but a new LA Times report suggests they're taking the battle to a place it's never been before: schools. A group called the Center for Copyright Information — backed by copyright groups like the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, among others — is currently developing a curriculum in California to teach elementary schoolers the value of copyright and the dangers of piracy.

"It's Great to Create"

Called "Be a Creator," the proposed curriculum would target kindergarten through six graders with lessons like "Respect the Person: Give Credit," "It's Great to Create," and "Copyright Matters." In one section on image-sharing, teachers are instructed to tell the class, "you're not old enough yet to be selling your pictures online, but pretty soon you will be. And you'll appreciate if the rest of us respect your work by not copying it and doing whatever we want with it."

The committee presented the curriculum in September for pilot testing in the current school year — but as you might expect, teachers associations are skeptical, saying the modern curriculum is already full to bursting without the addition of copyright awareness. Still, copyright groups seem undeterred. As one lobbyist told the Times, "it's important to prepare children to succeed and thrive and learn how to share and create and move files in a way that's ethical and responsible."