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IP Protection: You’re Never Too Young To Start

If you are a parent residing in California looking to give your elementary school child a head start on a career in intellectual property law, there’s good news. Some school districts will soon be offering a new course of study, entitled “Be a Creator," commissioned by the Center for Copyright Infringement and developed with cooperation from the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, among other organizations on the front lines of the fight against digital piracy.

According to an article on legal news site Mondaq, the curriculum will be piloted in some schools later this year and will focus on helping young children to become more responsible in both their creation and consumption of art by equating, for example, stealing answers from a classmate with copying digital content.

The article also points out that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has voiced criticism of the curriculum for focusing on the evils of digital piracy while ignoring “fair use doctrine,” considered a vital provision for encouraging creativity and artistic expression.

The news comes even as new data available from Google reveals that the company has been hard at work removing links known to be associated with copyright infringement from its search engine. The Guardian reports that, as the pace of such activity has increased, Google took down 5.3 million such links in just the last week of September – more than 8 every second.

Coincidentally, the increased pace of takedowns follows sharp criticism from the MPAA that Google has not been doing enough to prevent digital piracy, which Hollywood sees as a threat to its business (even as market data shows that both the movie and music industries are seeing increased sales despite file sharing).

Some would argue that the MPAA should spend more time making it easier for people to purchase convenient digital content (a la Louis CK) than expensive, cumbersome products, but those are discussions for others and have more to do with marketing strategy and final products than safeguarding intellectual property.

When it comes to IP or other high value information, few would argue that such should be left unprotected or shared freely. Using available legal, technical, and procedural tools to protect the integrity of your intellectual property is good advice for anyone.

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