back to article Microsoft swoops into schools to teach P2P morality

Teenage intellectual property (IP) law swotters are less likely to illegally download music and film files from the internet than their clueless counterparts, Microsoft claimed yesterday. Redmond is now looking to bring the rest of the kids up to speed by pushing its own IP curriculum in schools. The software giant reckoned …


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  1. Chad H.


    who will teach microsoft morallity?

    Eh? Teacher! Teacher! Leave those kids alone.

  2. Colin Wilson

    Teach the kids... ask the IP Ambassadors "where can I download linux via p2p ?" - followed up by the comment "Microsoft stuff doesn't let me use MY computer any more"

  3. Christian Berger

    The problem is

    The problem is, althought Microsoft might suffer a bit from pirate copies, the people who actually care about copyright are far less likely to buy Microsofts products than the others.

    Just look at all the promoters of free software. They do that because they want to play by the rules. They don't want to run a Windows system where they essentially have to pirate software in order to get things done.

    Typical Windows users, on the other hand, don't care a sh** about copyright. They download software, crack it and often even have their operating systems pirated.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is parallel importing good?

    Might be worth discussing at length with the kids about parallel importing. Where an importer finds a cheaper legitimate supplier for a product and imports from that supplier. UK getting the product from the cheapest supplier in the world is a GOOD thing it's what keeps prices down.

    We could discuss with them how the copyright lobby lobbied Blair to get an exception to free trade, to prevent parallel importing of copyrighted goods. That this is why you pay double the price for Windows Vista that an American pays and why nobody simply imports the cheaper version from the USA to drive the price down here. How come we were put at a competitive disadvantage, and how come USA doesn't do the same to our products?

    We could then discuss copyright violation vs stealing. How making a copy doesn't deprive the owner of their original, it *might* deprive them of a potential sale. So it's a bad thing, but nowhere near as bad as stealing.

    Indeed if it was stealing we wouldn't have to have special laws, it would just come under the laws that cover theft. So the need for extra laws to cover this indicates it is not theft.

    Then we could discuss criminal vs civil law. How private copyright infringement is civil law, and not 'illegal', although it may infringing someone elses rights.

    Then we could discuss the USA DMCA, how a lock that protects the warehouse holding CDs has to work. *Really* work. And if it didn't work, we could discuss all the ways in detail how it doesn't work. Whereas the lock on a digital copy doesn't have to work, it can still be called a lock and it is a crime to spread information on how broken this lock it.

    The we could discuss the dirty player that is Microsoft, and how they defeated the DOJ case against them by paying a heft amount of money to the campaign of Mr Bush, and how they also threw a few bucks to his opponents. Bush wins, kills case against them as promised. Bill Gates must regret that choice.

    So there's a golden opportunity to discuss at length the mess that is copyright law and how we got here today.

  5. Michael Compton

    As the guy above said

    Asking people to spend a large wad of cash for a product and then getting them to agree to a contract thats says it may not be fit for purpose is rather suspect as well :)

    Other products have failure rate as well but no one but software developers get a way with this, EULA have to be the most bizarre thing ever.

    Don't get on about the difficulty of software developments and unknowns its still balls.

    Anyone want to buy my 'pig in a poke'

  6. Michael Jolly


    ..get down with the kids it makes everybody look like idiots, and the gov even more so

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Instead of indoctrinating the kids that COPYING files is wrong, (not stealing as defined here, why not come up with a bloody business model that keeps everyone happy, something like itunes but without DRM perhaps...

  8. Jonathan Samuels

    No one will ever buy something

    When they can steal it for nothing without any real chance of getting caught

    Doesn't matter if its software, a tv, a car.

    Your average human being works on risk/gain not morality or ethics

  9. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Microsoft rip off

    Given the 1:1 dollar to pound price conversion is it any wonder people don't want to buy Vista?

    Are Microsoft going to teach kids abuse of power as well?

  10. Howard

    @AC - Parallel importing... not copyright violation.

    It's "Trademark Infringement".

  11. Steve

    Completely back assward

    What we need is to get a group of these kids and take them to Redmond and then on for a tour of the major labels. The kids can then explain in depth about how they understand IP/copyright but just don't give a fuck.

    They can explain how they are in favour of free trade and how MS is working against it.

    They can explain how they see the collapse of the music industry as a positive thing that will free music from the monopoly control of the labels.

    There was music before the industry and there'll be music after the industry and the kids this age that I know are more interested in finding and listening to independent artists than the souless tripe put out by the big four.

  12. Dunstan Vavasour

    Free content copyrights

    Will they include:

    1) The difference between "rights reserved" copyrights, which forbid copying and distribution, and Copyleft/Creative Commons copyrights, where copyright law is used to ensure the right to continue copying and distributing content is preserved

    2) How to identify whether literature or music is in copyright or not. When author's copyright has expired, whether it is still subject to copyright on modifications or is an original version which has passed into the public domain

  13. Chris Bradshaw
    Gates Horns

    good online citizens - ha ha ha

    Perhaps Microsoft could try to become "good online citizens" themselves by not releasing software until it is fully tested, not when it still has so many bugs and security holes allowing takeover by botnets, spammers and other such scum.

    And then they could stop their designed-in obsolescence, which is immoral and should be illegal.

    And then they could let go of the monopoly on OSs and browsers and office suites.

    And stop throwing chairs...

  14. Spleen

    Were these people ever teenagers themselves or were they grown in pods?

    They seem to be assuming that teenagers are ignorant of the law and intellectual property rights and when told The Truth will say "Wow! I'll sure never pirate again!" like in an educational comic strip. They're not. Teenagers, taken as an average, are probably the most tech-savvy age group in existence. They understand very well, probably better than the muppets who will be teaching this IP curriculum. They choose to illegally download not because they're ignorant, but because they either know that free sharing of music only threatens commercially-driven shite, or they don't know but don't care either.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC - Parallel importing...

    "It's "Trademark Infringement"."

    It's both!

    The case against Tescos brought by Levi's (Levi argued that Tescos importing Levi jeans intended for a different market where they are sold cheaper infringed it's trademark), Levi won, Britain lost).

    But then the copyright lobby got an exception stuck into copyright law to also make it a copyright infringement to import (legitimate) copies of copyrighted stuff. Resulting in everyone claiming copyright on everything to protect the high price they charge to UK customers.

    Sucks to be UK.

  16. Mostor Astrakan

    Sir! Sir! Siiiir!

    Given that about two-thirds of Windows was stolen from somewhere else... Who the fsck are you to teach us about ethical behaviour?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    I seem to remember something from my own school days. History class told me of a man who decided to get children to behave his way, and think how he wanted them to think.

    They were called the Hitler youth.

  18. Colin Jackson
    Gates Horns


    Do they think that 15-year-old Johnny is going to BUY the software if they can't pirate it? With what? He's 15 ffs!

    So if he can't pirate Windows and Photoshop, basically he's going to grow up not knowing how to use Windows or Photoshop, and is therefore very unlikely to buy it when he finally does get a job. In fact, he's unlikely to get a job that involves using Windows or Photoshop.

    They should be handing the frigging stuff out at the school gates. Knobs.

  19. meredith

    bring back lynchings

    Teach children the very important lesson that you must never give in to extortion. Hang these copyright-abuse criminals on the spot.

  20. Morely Dotes
    Jobs Horns

    @ Colin Jackson

    Funny how that works.

    I give away at least 10 copies of Linux every week. I also give away "Software for Starving Students," from, because even Windows users need to be taught that there *is* such a thing as free-of-charge software, and that it's every bit as good (or in most cases, better) than the commercial stuff that's sold in shiny landfill-destined plastic boxes.

    Education works. Thing is, the educator needs to know at least one more lesson than the student does, and Microsoft has a dismal track record in that regard.

  21. b shubin

    Lessons from the Evil Empire

    when totalitarian governments do it, it's called political indoctrination, or propaganda. when corporations do it, it is the same, but with a more pronounced financial motive.

    in both cases, it is presented as education.

    letting MS present in schools is no different than letting any other corp present in a public education venue, with an assumed government endorsement. how about we get the tobacco, liquor, or pharma companies in there, see what they have to "teach the children"?

    this is corporatism in its most refined form. Mussolini would be proud.

  22. Hiro Protagonist

    At Least...

    At least they're not yet trying to teach the children business ethics the Microsoft way.

  23. night troll

    @ Morely Dotes

    Thanks for the info on Just what I have been looking for for my kids and their friends. You have opened up a whole new outlet, I can not believe their school / teachers do not know about this!

  24. night troll

    @ Hiro Protagonist

    That lesson is next week.

  25. Chad H.

    @ Colin Jackson

    I think you bring up an important point.

    How many high school kids, future developers, are banigng away at C++, VB and C# projects as we speak on dodgy copies of Visual Studio.

    I know a lot of kids who learned that way, along with a SAMS 24 hour/21 day guide.

  26. Steve Roper

    Educating the kids

    Don't underestimate the intelligence of kids. Even back when I was in school we knew exactly how to tell the "grown-ups" what they wanted to hear, while carrying on doing exactly what we wanted. I remember the stop-underage-smoking campaigns in school; we wrote brilliant essays detailing what we'd learned about all the dangers and wrongness of smoking, and presented clean, wholesome-sounding speeches about how we'd learned to do the "right thing". Right before popping behind the sports shed at lunch and lighting up.

    So when Captain Microsoft goes into schools to teach the kids about copyright law, they'll play compliant, good little robot-students, just as we did. Then they'll go right on filesharing and swapping games and media without any concern whatever.

    In fact, these propagandist "educators" deliver a vital service in giving our children experience and practice in learning to "buck the system", how to break the rules and defy the law without getting caught, how to look like a good model citizen while forking two fingers at the powers-that-be behind their back. With the police state we are facing down, this behaviour will be a vital survival skill for the children in future. With resistance or overthrow impossible, the only way these children will preserve their freedom is by facade, deception, and secrecy.

    So let the propagandists "educate" the kids. It'll give them valuable life lessons in evading authority!

  27. Anonymous Coward

    "... ignorant of the law ..."

    I've got 500 qatloos right here says that if this goes ahead, it will not decrease ignorance of the law, but that Microsoft will in fact deliberately lie about the state of the law and try and mislead the victims uhh i mean pupils into believing they have far less fair use and consumer law rights than they already do.

    What? No takers?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Who do you trust?

    These guys want to give you morality lessons and then slip a form of internet scouge onto your PC "to help you".

    "Microsoft wants to worm its way into your PC"

    Hint: key word is "worm".

    Crazy, mixed up world, hello!

  29. Tim Bates
    Paris Hilton

    Thick as 2 planks

    Given the high rate of piracy of MS products, if they teach kids to not pirate, MS will lose their market share. Idiots... Like the person in the icon I chose.

  30. Slaine

    (2) - the case against DRM

    but siiiiir??? .... What do you call it when someone installs extra software on my computer without asking me if I want it, which then hides itself inside my operating system, causes my computer to slow down, steals my resources and deletes my legitimately created audio back up files?

  31. Paul M.

    "Kids grow up not knowing Windows"??

    Somehow I find that hard to believe.

    Unless they have a dad like Morely Dotes maybe, who shields them from the Evil that is M$.

    But even then, I think they'll reach adulthood being able to figure out where the "Start button" is ... on a computer, if not a lady.

  32. JimD

    kids who knew the law infringed less?

    I suspect the ones who know somethings illegal are far less likely to admit to any authority figure that they're doing it!

  33. Marco

    Be thankful...

    ...they aren't attempting to teach business morality.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Remember ....

    ... the company with which Microsoft negotiated for over 9 months, because it needed's proprietary streaming technology in order to further their aim of having a Microsoft server at the heart of every AV streaming source.

    MicroScum suddenly broke off the negotiations, and all went quiet until... MS Windows Media Player 9 came out, and discovered that MS had simply stolen no less than 37 patented technologies from them and built these into Media Player, without any permission and paying not a cent in licence fees. The MS response? Tough... the view was that such a tiny company (at one point, consisted of 2 people) would never dare sue, and even if they did, MS would just tough it out.

    But the Redmond-based "giant amongst pirates" reckoned wrongly, and won. So next time these hypocrites start proselytising about why you shouldn't steal MS's intellectual property, ask them why they had to pay $60m in damages - the little matter of the sudden disappearance from the relevant MS executives' computers of all of the records and documents relating to negotiations, immediately after the Court ordered MS to disclose them, was simply a coincidence... honest, guv... MS doesn't regard itself as being above the law...

  35. Steven Hunter

    All I have to say is...

    Don't Copy That Floppy!

    ( Obligatory YouTube link: )

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Kids will be kids

    In the 70's we copied LPs onto cassette, we knew it was 'wrong' but we also knew we couldn't afford to buy our own copy. Same issue, different technology.

    Paris would look good in a school uniform.

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