Home Microsoft: Kid Pirates Just Don’t Understand, We’ll Teach ‘Em

Microsoft: Kid Pirates Just Don’t Understand, We’ll Teach ‘Em

Microsoft released the results of a survey today indicating that the small percentage of young people who know the laws around copyright are much less likely to violate them than are kids who do not.

The survey was released along with a new website at mybytes.com (“They’re MY bytes, not yours!”) and a newly announced curriculum for middle and high schools to teach the Microsoft economic and political agenda. “Intellectual Property Rights Education” is the innocuous name of the Microsoft provided curriculum materials.

Key survey findings include:

  • Almost half of the teenagers surveyed (49 percent) said they are not familiar with the rules and guidelines for downloading images, literature, music, movies and software from the Internet.

  • Only one in 10 (11 percent) said they understood the rules “very well.”

  • Among teenagers who said they were familiar with the laws, more than eight in 10 (82 percent) said illegal downloaders should be punished. In contrast, slightly more than half (57 percent) of those unfamiliar with the laws said violators should be punished.

The MyBytes Site

MyBytes is a charming site where young people can remix their own, newly copyrighted ringtones and watch short video interviews with good kids and a couple of bad kids having IP revelations.

To be fair, the remixed ringtones can have one of four licenses attached to them, including unrestricted, unrestricted use without remixing and two variations of for sale. It’s a ways from Creative Commons, but it’s interesting.

There’s one tepid perspective mildly critical of the copyright regime on the site. It’s pretty remarkable and it’s coming to a school near you.

Teaching the Children

The survey indicates that kids learn more about copyright from their parents than from anywhere else. So if you’ve got kids in school, make sure they know that other perspectives exist on sites like CreativeCommons, CopyFight.Corante.com and Genetic Resources Action International – Grain.org – because this issue extends beyond music and movies to include debates over IP law in genetics, agriculture, cultural tradition and more.

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