May 21, 2007

I See … [4:43 pm]

That recent spate of copyright-maximalist ink has the smell of Astro-turf: Backers of stronger copyright laws form lobby group

Some of the staunchest advocates for stricter copyright laws have formed a new alliance designed to pressure Congress into preserving stronger intellectual property rights.

The Copyright Alliance–which launched, complete with electric-green and white T-shirts displaying its logo at a morning Capitol Hill event here–consists of 29 national organizations and companies that purport to represent 11 million workers in copyright-related industries. Those members include the Recording Industry Association of America, the Association of American Publishers, the Motion Picture Association of America, Microsoft, Viacom and Walt Disney.

The group’s members aren’t expected to agree on all the nuances of policy debates, said Patrick Ross, the alliance’s executive director.

But according to a press release, they’re all committed to broad goals like promoting the “vital role” of copyright in the U.S. economy and job market, encouraging inclusion of copyright protection requirements in international agreements, supporting civil and criminal penalties for piracy, and advocating against “diminishment” of copyright law.

Both the membership and academic advisors list are instructive on any number of levels. But it’s the “For Educators” link that really sets you up:

For Educators

It’s never too early to learn the value of copyright. In fact, every time a child takes crayon to paper, he or she has created a copyrighted work, but how many know the rights they’ve just earned?

Educators across the country recognize the value of incorporating an understanding of copyright into lesson plans, but the resources haven’t always been readily available. The Copyright Alliance, as part of its educational mission, aims to identify valuable curriculum guides and other educational resources and make those resources available to educators.

You will find some materials here, and more will be added. If you are aware of valuable lesson plans or other worthwhile teacher guides, please let us know at info@copyrightalliance.org.

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