[p2p-research] "Respect Creativity" school campaign doesn't say all about copyright

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Wed Nov 18 17:34:54 CET 2009

M. Fioretti wrote:
> Greetings,
> here you can find some info about a campaign launched by the Italian
> branch of the European Music Copyright Alliance in order to teach kids
> in school how wonderful copyright is, but, as far as I can see,
> forgetting to mention that it can be used in many ways besides "all
> right reserved":
> http://stop.zona-m.net/education/respect-creativity-project-emca-italia-do-they-tell-whole-story
> I am posting this here because, after months without answers from EMCA
> Italia, I am trying to find out as many details as possible (it may be
> a new article) about similar campaigns in other countries and how
> "incomplete" they are. Thank you in advance for any feedback and for
> forwarding this request wherever you think it appropriate.

Similar brainwashing has been tried in the USA and the UK:
"RIAA's Elementary School Copyright Curriculum"
""In a blatant campaign devoid of any subtlety, the RIAA is fighting for the 
hearts and minds of our children with its Music Rules, a collection of 
education materials on how to respect copyright. The curriculum includes 
vocabulary such as 'counterfeit recordings, DMCA notice, "Grokster" ruling, 
legal downloading, online piracy, peer-to-peer file sharing, pirate 
recordings, songlifting, and US copyright law.' There is no mention 
whatsoever of fair use. Compounding the bias, it includes insights such as 
that taking music without paying for it is 'songlifting,' and that making 
copies for personal use and then playing them while your friends come over 
is illegal. On the bright side, it includes math showing that the total 
damages from copyright infringement by children in the US amount to a measly 
$7.8 million.""

I can't find the story about the UK just now, but there was one several 
years back about a similar campaign.

Even musicians are against harsher penalties:
" Musicians Oppose Anti-Piracy Measures In the UK"

A resource to struggle against that:

Or, my satire on it:
"There are many reasons for the value of proprietary law. You all know them 
since you have been taught them in school since kindergarten as part of your 
standardized education. They are reflected in our most fundamental beliefs, 
such as sharing denies the delight of payment and cookies can only be 
brought into the classroom if you bring enough to sell to everyone. But you 
are always free to eat them all yourself of course! [audience chuckles 
knowingly]. But I think it important to repeat such fundamental truths now 
as they form the core of all we hold dear in this great land."

But, ultimately, I don't think this issue will get solved struggling one by 
one against this craziness of artificial scarcity. We need a bigger movement 
that sees all these things as part of a larger problem, and looks at larger 
solutions, like a basic income. If we had a basic income, there would be no 
questions about "how do musicians make a living". They would not have to. 
And if they wanted more money, then sure, they might try not giving away 
their music or they might give live performances for fees or tips.

So, somehow, these movements need to connect together. They are all about 
the same thing, IMHO, with a transition to abundance despite people who have 
built businesses around "artificial scarcity" as well as coming up with ways 
to prevent people from cooperating and sharing.

Sharing (as well as some local exchange) are fundamental parts of human 
community. But modern economics is not about creating happy communities full 
of abundance, it is about making decisions about managing scarcity:
A definition that captures much of modern economics is that of Lionel 
Robbins in a 1932 essay: "the science which studies human behaviour as a 
relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses."[3] 
Scarcity means that available resources are insufficient to satisfy all 
wants and needs. Absent scarcity and alternative uses of available 
resources, there is no economic problem. The subject thus defined involves 
the study of choices as they are affected by incentives and resources.

So, if there is an abundance of music, then music is no longer part of 
economics, in that sense. :-) Unless people create an artificial scarcity 
with the power of the state. :-( But, is not the legitimate purpose of the 
state to bring us all abundance? If we have abundance in some area, like 
music, then why should the state intervene on behalf of those who want to 
make money off of artificial scarcity?

It's a legitimate question to ask, how should intellectually creative people 
get enough money to live from in a market economy? But that is not the same 
question as, how should intellectually creative people get paid per song 
they write or per essay they produce. And, as I pointed out elsewhere,
if one asks that question about "intellectually creative people", then why 
should parents get any less? Is not raising the next generation even more 
creative and important in some ways than producing a new song, if one had to 
choose which is a more important occupation, even though both are important?

Anyway, we need ways to get parents, musicians, essayists, and mimes all to 
work together on this. :-) A basic income is one approach that changes the 
least at first about our current market-based economy.

So, maybe we need an elementary school campaign about a "basic income"? :-)
If people truly "respect creativity", then they should be all for a basic 
income, right? Sure, respect the law, and let's change it to something more 
respectable. :-)

--Paul Fernhout

More information about the p2presearch mailing list