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05.29.08

The Ballmer Youth (Updated)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 1:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s already here

How does Microsoft fight GNU/Linux? Just as it explicitly stated in its most recent SEC filing, it’s about education, otherwise known as well-funded brainwashing for ‘IP’. The company said it would approach children. Do have a look.

Update: It seems clear now that this post lacks context, so here is something to bring you up to date:

1. Can Microsoft teach tots digital-age virtue?

The basis of Redmond’s pitch was a small survey they sponsored where nearly half of the kids polled said they were unfamiliar with the rules and guidelines of using copyrighted media. Microsoft figured tots would be less inclined to steal someone’s IP if they knew about the alleged consequences.

A lot of digital ink was used to slam Microsoft’s scheme. People need Redmond telling them about IP rules like they need Pavorotti schooling them about a well-balanced diet.

2. Threat Of Jail Time Increases Respect For Copyright, Microsoft Says

It’s not clear whether Microsoft’s statement to teen respondents — “When you do not follow these rules you are open to significant fines and possibly jail time” — is entirely accurate, particularly when teens under the age of 18 are involved. Emily Berger, an intellectual property fellow at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is skeptical. “I think it’s being used as a scare tactic,” she said. “It’s a real stretch of the law to say it’s theoretically possible.”

3. Microsoft training youth to love intellectual property

Take, for example, its commitment to help teenagers understand the importance of respecting intellectual property (read: giving Microsoft more money). It just put out a survey showing that when kids understand the rules of copyright, they’re “less likely to download illegally.”

[...]

The one thing it didn’t explain to teens is why they should retrofit 20th-century copyright laws onto 21st-century realities. Digitization is a fact. The web is a fact. Intellectual property is not the same as real, tangible property, and should be treated and monetized differently.

For information about patents, specifically, see Microsoft’s SEC filing. It’s very revealing.

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