RIAA's in-school propaganda asks kids to act as unpaid PR staff

The RIAA has updated its Music Rules! school program -- which contains blatant falsehoods about copyright. The new version asks kids to act as unpaid PR staff: "Take your campaign a step further by contacting the editor of your community newspaper or the director of your community cable television station to see if you can submit an article or video about your campaign."
Last week, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced an update to Music-Rules!, its flagship "curriculum" for teaching copyright law to schoolkids.

We wrote about Music-Rules! and similar industry propaganda efforts in May, outlining some of their falsehoods and biases. For instance, the RIAA tells kids, "Never copy someone else's creative work without permission from the copyright holder" -- omitting the important right to make creative fair use of existing content. It also coins a misleading term, "songlifting," (which the curriculum says is "just as bad as shoplifting") [Ed: if only! The penalties for shoplifting are so much lighter than they are for file-sharing!]. Perhaps most disturbing of all given that the curriculum is supposed to be adopted by schools, it teaches kids bad math as part of its lessons on peer to peer file-sharing.

The updated curriculum goes a step further and asks kids to contact their local media and act as the RIAA's own unpaid public relations staff.

(Thanks, Tim!)


  1. Extortion, corruption, intimidation, censorship, brainwashing, AND child labor!

    At least they’re enthusiastic about self-immolating.

    I think I’ll write to them and suggest that their senior executives start wearing jackets made from the skin of murdered orphans. They might just do it!

  2. I rather like “songlifting”. It’s a new word, so it won’t get confused with stealing, but it also conveys a certain amount of wrongness.

    I know we’re all copyfighters here, but I find it hard to justify songlifting from somebody who wants you to pay for their song. If you like it enough to want it, you like it enough to pay. Besides, it’s theirs, so can’t they do what they want, even if it’s self-destructive? You can’t songlift it and justify it by saying, “but it’s good for you!”

    Anyway, the rest of it seems like BS. But I love the RIAA suggesting you call the (soon to be dead) community newspaper.

  3. As a teacher, I immediately throw shit like this in the garbage when it appears at my school. Every private interest group has their education wing which spends thousands on developing “lessons” for dumb teachers. Of which there are many.

  4. Here’s a long overdue news headline I still expect (and hope) to see one day:
    “Coalition of Performing Artists firebomb RIAA HQ!”

  5. @2 I like. I once pondered whether or not we’d ever see a SUV that ran exclusively on small brown children.

  6. Look at it this way: they’ve existed from day one by lying to kids. They’ve merely branched out from lying to their newly signed 18 year olds to lying to everyone else.

  7. LOL. “Songlifting”? I can’t wait for a brilliant lawyer to pick up on this and point out that, since the RIAA even considers downloading a song equal to shoplifting, the penalties should be the same.

    None of this several thousand dollars per song non-sense.

    Whatever these morons try, they’ll just keep digging themselves deeper.

    Artists need to realize that they don;t need these labels to sell their music. Seriously, as an artist, do you want to give away a huge percentage of money to these jackasses for the art you produce. Screw the RIAA and release your own stuff. Get richer, be your own boss. Do it. NOW!

  8. Ripping off children has been the recording industry’s MO almost since the invention of the phonograph, but propaganda as curriculum is a new low. This could never happen anywhere but in the United States of Avarice.

  9. It reminds me of those culture where you punish a man by cutting of his hand. Totally barbaric and out of proportion. The image of fat greasy Studio executive and their lawyers preaching moral to school children is quite revolting.

    ..change or die.

  10. The RIAA is in denial. They blame their lost revenue on illegal downloading when much of the loss can be attributed to their own actions. The RIAA has abandoned sound business practices like innovation in favor of intimidation and coercion.

    Just because people stop downloading music illegally doesn’t mean they will rush out and purchase what the RIAA is selling.

    I personally want to thank the RIAA for influence they’ve had on the the current evolving music industry. I believe the RIAA’s unethical tactics sped up the idea process bringing us the quality entertainment that was lacking. The demise of the RIAA can’t come soon enough.

    Now there is an extensive selection of free, legal music that artists give away to their fans. They are the real winners in all of this. They no longer have to fight to maintain the rights to their own music. They are free to market themselves instead of having to grovel to some suit behind a desk who has no problem distributing garbage if it generates profits. The $20 album with one good song days are over.

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