The Los Angeles Council of the Boy Scouts of America will offer rewards to Scouts who absorb a brainwashing regime written by the MPAA. The merit
badge patch in "respecting copyright" will almost certainly not include any training on fair use, anything about the fact that the film industry is located in Hollywood because that was a safe-enough distance from Tom Edison that the its founders could infringe his patents with impunity; that record players, radios and VCRs were considered pirate technology until the law changed to accommodate them; or that the entertainment industry enriches itself without regard for creators, who are routinely sodomized through non-negotiable contracts and abusive royalty practices. I'm sure it won't mention the anti-competitive censorship masquerading as the Hollywood "rating" system, or the way that the studio cartel's copyright term extensions have doomed the majority of creative works to orphaned oblivion, since they remain in copyright, but have no visible owner and can't be brought back into circulation.
Bravo, Scouts — letting an industry group brainwash the children in your charge is the only way you could sink lower than being mere religious bigots — now you're religious bigots who shill for a cartel of Fortune 100 companies.
Boy Scouts in the Los Angeles area will now be able to earn a merit patch for learning about the evils of downloading pirated movies and music.
The patch shows a film reel, a music CD and the international copyright symbol, a "C" enclosed in a circle.
The movie industry has developed the curriculum.
"Working with the Boy Scouts of Los Angeles, we have a real opportunity to educate a new generation about how movies are made, why they are valuable, and hopefully change attitudes about intellectual property theft," Dan Glickman, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, said Friday.
Update: Liz sez, "Mel Horan of Garbage Island made up Photoshop versions of possible copyright merit badges several months ago, and I posted them on Sivacracy in connection with a story about the Hong Kong scouting program already policing piracy on the government's behalf. Check them out!"
Update 2: Ed sez, "The copyright merit badge is *not* sanctioned by the Boy Scouts of America. It's a local initiative by one group in LA. That's why they called it a "merit patch" instead of a "merit badge". The real list of BSA merit badges here here. The newest one is "Composite Materials"."
Update 3 Jay is disturbed to hear about the Los Angeles Boy Scouts offering a Merit Patch in copyright. He sez, "As a frequent reader of Boing Boing, a supporter of the EFF, and someone who plans on making a living as a future online communication technology consultant, I feel fairly informed about copyright issues. So myself and my roommate, another Eagle Scout, are in the process of acquiring the Merit Badge Handbook for this badge to review the requirements and information it presents. If it's as one-sided or erroneous as your post worries it will be, I'd like to get other current or former scouts to take part in a concerted effort to write the Los Angeles Area Council with our concerns.
"If you could update the post on Boing Boing with this e-mail address(BSACAC@gmail.com – Boy Scouts of America Concerned About Copyright), or pass it along to any other scouts that might contact you, I'd very much appreciate it. Not all scouts are religious bigots or industry shills. A lot changes between the time when you're a kid joining a group for fun, comraderie, and self-improvement, and when you're grown up and able to form your own views. I'd like to see the scouts improve where they can, and while some changes may be too big to hope for, I'll do everything I can to make sure they don't change for the worse. Help us out."
Update 4 This tacky monstrosity is the "Respecting Copyrights merit patch."