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Be Prepared . . . Oh, and Catch Some Criminals Too


The Chinese governemnt is constripting Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and other youth organizations to track down copyright infringers online. While copyright infringers are indeed bad, this is clearly the wrong way to go about stopping them. The most important problem is the potential harm to the children. Online copyright infringers are savvier than most in terms of using the computer toward their own nefarious ends. First, I disagree with their use of these skills to steal copyrighted material. I would selfishly prefer the use of the skills toward those ends, rather than using them to coax information from my children or load malware on my home computer.

The second problem is that these copyright criminals are not self-policing themselves to steal only PG rated content. Much of the material they traffic is X-rated or worse, some of it criminal in and of itself, regardless of copyright. Third, most of these criminals will not be prosecuted. What are they teaching kids who turn in thousands of online infringers who never get prosecuted for their crimes. I would assume that at least one kid might decide that society does not see online copyright infringement as a societal evil. By using the skills gleaned from monitoring these criminals, it is not a stretch to assume more than one child might actually become an infringer.

There are other ways to stop these criminals. Regardless of how good getting kids mixed up with criminals may sound in theory, it is just not a good idea.

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Posted in Copyright Law. Tagged with , .