Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hollywood creates Boy Scout merit badge on copyright


Boy Scouts in Hong Kong now can earn merit badges for learning about the wonders of copyright law--at least the version described by the Motion Picture Association. The MPA, the Hong Kong Scout Association, and the Hong Kong government announced the program this week. It's the first of its type anywhere in the world. "The Intellectual Property Badge Award Program will provide thousands of young people--future leaders--with a better understanding of the value of intellectual property and of the importance of protecting it," Mike Ellis, senior vice president of the MPA, said in a press release. It's not unprecedented for one industry to create a merit badge. The Boy Scouts currently offers a long list of badges including "American Business," "American Labor," "Auto Mechanics," "Electronics," "Law," and "Nuclear Science." It's not clear, though, how much time the MPA's merit badge curriculum will devote to the value of fair use, the problems that region coding on DVDs can create for legitimate purchasers, and the unintended consequences of "anti-circumvention" laws like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. -Declan McCullagh

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