April 27, 2004

More gut-wrenching MPAA/RIAA news

The latest in the MPAA/RIAA's campaign of pure evil is a program called "What's The Diff?" The program targets middle-school children with the goal of teaching students about the liabilities of downloading music and films from the Internet. At the end of the course, students are supposed to write an essay ''to get the word out that downloading copyrighted entertainment is illegal and unethical". In exchange for being tools of the industry, students can win a trip to Hollywood or free DVDs. The program's motto is ''If you don't pay for it, you've stolen it."

Holding back the vomit, I continued reading and found this golden tidbit:

''But [the motto's] not true," said Wendy Seltzer, a senior attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. ''That may be what the MPAA would like the copyright law to be, but that's not what the law says."

The ''fair use" doctrine allows the public to use copyrighted material for educational purposes. One can use another's work to parody, review, or critique that material. You can even legally swap material, as long as it's not for commercial gain, said Seltzer. ''People tape movies on their VCRs and swap it with friends without getting arrested for piracy," she said.

That about sums it up for me as well.

Posted by dr_v at 12:02 PM