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Announcing: Kids Smell Bullshit

Today we’re announcing two new websites in response to the attempts by lobbying groups for Hollywood and the software industry to force misleading and propagandistic curriculums about filesharing and online rights into public schools.

The first page is called Kids Smell Bullshit (kidssmellbullshit.com) and, as you may have guessed, this one’s for the kids. Complete with a letter / photo contest (win an ipod mini!), a wiki to transform the bogus curricula, and a ton of crazy crap that kids love.

The second is a slightly more serious page called the Collaborative Copyright and Technology Law Curriculum (copyrightcurriculum.com). This one’s for the grownups in the house who want to do some serious ass-whooping. It’s a wiki (a collaborative editing/writing tool) for building a balanced, accurate copyright curriculum for teachers that want to address these issues in their classroom. Help us make a real alternative to the self-interested materials foisted on teachers and students.

For some background on these projects, the MPAA has hired Junior Achievement to go into schools and teach an anti-filesharing, “safety on the internet” class, intimidatingly-dubbed, “What’s the Diff?”. The Business Software Alliance, meanwhile, is paying the Weekly Reader to include their anti-piracy curriculum in the publication which goes out to millions of students. Putting aside the extremely problematic nature of a education system that lets companies buy their way into the classroom, both of these curriculums are narrow, misleading, and intended simply to scare students away from using filesharing software (and the internet). They do not discuss the purpose of copyright law, the role of fair use rights, or the many different ways that filesharing technology can and is being used. On the plus side, both are lame enough that they probably aren’t making much of a dent into these impressionable young minds– nevertheless, substantial alternatives are in order.

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