Bonum Certa Men Certa

Microsoft Brings the “Intellectual Property” Poison to Schools

Several months ago it was made more evident that our language is carefully getting changed. For instance, copyright infringement is beginning to be called "piracy" in some mainstream press and the RIAA's Dan Glickman even calls downloaders "criminals", not just "thieves" or "pirates". It is obvious why Microsoft chooses to call software patents "intellectual property" instead what they really are. The previous blog posts talked about the value of terminology and the impact it can have through subtle deception and connotation, even daemonisation.

In a long-lasting battle for this notion of anticompetitive intellectual monopolies that stifle open standards, Microsoft carries on with its plan and its strategy seems to be brainwas^H^H^H^H^H^Hducating children.

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."


Matt Asay, seeing this one particular report, adds:

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.


This is marginally off-topic (copyright infringement), but the same type of perception battle is being used to convince authorities to approve software patents, pass DMCA laws and filter out torrents that are used to distribute GNU/Linux (among other things). If Microsoft is permitted to drive and police perception, especially when it comes to children, then the world is in trouble. Microsoft remain pretty close (yet intimate) with the RIAA and the MPAA.

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