The Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America have introduced a brand-new educational campaign straight out of the D.A.R.E. handbook specifically designed to teach elementary school kids about the horrors of copyright infringement with all the subtlety of an episode of Ancient Aliens.
Broken up into what both organizations (who have zero background in education) consider "age appropriate" lesson plans, the curriculum will soon be tested in select California schools. It is also no less than the craziest, most brainwashing-est thing anti-piracy groups have ever suggested.
The curriculum begins in kindergarten by forcing kids to create art projects. Instructors then deliberately mislabel them with the wrong names and award credit for the best projects to the wrong people. (Hint: THIS IS A METAPHOR FOR THE INTERNET.) The lesson plan even suggests passing out "Classroom Bucks" in an attempt to teach the punishing financial reality of intellectual property theft to children young enough to think Spider-Man is a documentary.
*sigh* Someday ... uh, the spider powers, not Emma Stone. We're being realistic here.
Despite the fact that the concept of commerce is too much for most elementary school students to fully grasp, the "Be a Creator" curriculum nevertheless uses it as the cornerstone of every lesson. Take this video, intended for first graders, that tells the story of some ginger bastard drawing a dragon and forming a handshake agreement with his classmate to start selling the picture on T-shirts:
"Don't fuck me, Toni. Don't you ever try to fuck me."
What 7-year-old is going to make this connection? The average first grader possesses neither the artistic talent nor the financial wherewithal to create a screen-printing empire. A fifth of them assume their parents deposit their paychecks at Gringotts, fer chrissakes.
This worksheet (intended for second graders) redefines "sharing" as "something assholes do" by presenting a situation in which the student agrees to lend his bike to one person, who in turn "shares" the bike with a burgeoning criminal named Antonio who intends to ride the bike off of a roof into a swimming pool:
GRATTO: Well, why don't you just pull the stick out of your ass and hide it there?
This is an age when kids traditionally learn that sharing their toys and school supplies with other kids is a good thing. But apparently it's way more important that they equate sharing with jackbooted villainy to protect Ke$ha's discography from 8-year-olds.
Grade 3 continues the saga of the dragon picture, showing the red-haired kid selling copies of it for 25 cents, which suggests that perhaps the time spent on this lesson should be devoted to teaching kids how to meet production costs:
Even in children's cartoon worlds the MPAA and RIAA can't come up with reasonable suggested retail prices for anything.
But his blonde friend from earlier starts taking pictures of it, which ruins his entire enterprise because now the whole schoolyard is passing around copies of his drawing and he's not earning a dime.
"Man, business lessons would have been way more useful than just telling me
I can't be satisfied with my creativity unless it's earning me money."
Also, why are those third graders running around with iPhones? When we were that age, the most powerful technology we were allowed to handle unchaperoned was a stump we pretended was a robot.
That goddamned blonde girl comes back in the fourth grade, this time to teach us all that it's only OK to sing a song at an elementary school talent show if you have written the entire song yourself.
"You have to be original. Like our artists."
If you try to sing some One Direction song or Jermaine Jackson or whatever the hell kids listen to these days, you are committing a "BAD SHARE" and must be shamed into contrition like the pariah you are:
"Don't bother going home, either. Your parents have already decided to stop loving you."
We guarantee no musician is going to take legal action against some 10-year-old for singing one of their songs for a talent show, and the only kids who composed their own jams at that age were Mozart and Hanson.
If you're in fifth grade and thinking about recording a movie in the theater with your smartphone, think a-fucking-gain.
Remember, kids: Shooting in vertical video ruins lives.
The video shows the terrible, embarrassing consequences of being caught pirating films, including getting thrown out, fined, or even arrested (and honestly, we wouldn't put it past some theater owners to call the cops on an 11-year-old). More importantly, as the accompanying worksheet points out, most bootlegs are crap:
A lot of us had to wait until our freshman year of college to learn that cold, universal truth.
Sixth grade ditches the cartoons for real-life actors in an effort to drive home the painful true consequences of copyright infringement by presenting two totally real teens whose lives were devastated by piracy, despite the fact that that's something that has never actually happened to anyone ever:
"A burned copy of Yeezus strangled my grandfather."
Lola and Michael, who again are both totally real and not at all Shutterstock models, share their in-no-way scripted stories about how piracy destroyed their parents' jobs as songwriters and video game designers, a set of circumstances that precisely 3 percent of the teenagers watching this video will be able to relate to.
"Your lust for free copies of GTA V are putting moms out on the street. Who here among us
doesn't have a mother in the video game industry?"
So there you have it: a conversation that deserves maybe 30 minutes of half-assed parenting stretched out into a seven-year-long mindfuck. And given the breakneck pace of technological advancement and the fickleness of pop culture, who's to say movies and music will be relevant in 20 years? By then, everybody will be illegally breeding genetically altered tulips that can make shadow puppets or some shit.