“I think filters are there mostly for teachers.”

On the one hand, I think it’s quite disturbing that children have to really learn about copyright now while they’re children- so much for unfettered creativity. On the other hand, I had the opportunity to talk to several middle schoolers participating in a community-sponsored film workshop series, and they seriously give me hope for the future. They asked great questions – “What about AMVs [Anime Music Videos]? In Japan, they have fan comics and people are okay with that, why can’t we do that here? What about fan fiction? What if you mix up songs? What about posting clips on YouTube? What about game reviews? Does giving credit matter?” ALL of them had read fan fiction. ALL of them were familiar with P2P technology. ALL of them decided to share their films with a Creative Commons attribution-non commercial license. ALL of them wanted to allow people to create derivative works- even if there was the risk they wouldn’t like what people did with it.

There was even one student following the Harry Potter Lexicon case.

The other funny thing happened as we were going to find a computer with Internet access. One of the younger boys described in passing how he used a proxy server to bypass school filters in order to get to MySpace at school. Most of the students seemed to know of a few ways to get to the sites that they wanted to visit. Referring to the filters, one of the girls confided,
“I think they’re there mostly for the teachers.”


  1. Mechanic said,

    July 8, 2008 @ 2:02 pm

    I think it’s more important than ever that children learn the laws associated with copyright. The Internet has given children greater access to materials and a much easier avenue to plagiarize. How easy is it to copy and paste a document off the Internet opposed to copying something out of a book? Learning the consequences of plagiarize should only spur children to think for themselves and to be more creative.

  2. Carlos said,

    July 9, 2008 @ 4:57 pm

    Plagiarism and copyright infringement are two related but distinct concepts.

    I’m skeptical that recent changes in copyright law promote creativity. There isn’t any empirical evidence that points in that direction, and some that points to the opposite effect.

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