t byfield on Sun, 22 Oct 2006 21:40:39 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Boy Scout IP merit badge

The historical origins of the Boy Scouts and equivalent organizations,
yeah, sure, but the history of specific *merit badges*? I suppose they
seemed 'neutral' or 'natural' enough that it didn't make sense to look
more deeply; now I wonder, and this list looks a bit more interesting:

     < http://www.meritbadge.com/mb/ > 

Here's what got me going:

< http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-scouts21oct21,0,6146565.story?coll=la-home-headlines >

     A Merit Badge That Can't Be Duplicated

     MPAA, Scouts team up to offer an anti-piracy
     award. But will youths who see downloading as
     harmless strive for this patch? By David Pierson
     Times Staff Writer
     October 21, 2006
     Boy Scouts can earn badges for woodcarving,
     raising rabbits and firing shotguns.
     But in the Los Angeles area, Scouts will now be
     able to earn their stripes by proselytizing about
     the evils of copyright piracy.
     Officials with the local Boy Scouts and the Motion
     Picture Assn. of America on Friday unveiled the
     Respect Copyrights Activity Patch -- emblazoned
     with a large circle "C" copyright sign along with
     a film reel and musical notes.
     The 52,000 Scouts who are eligible may earn the
     patch by participating in a curriculum produced by
     the MPAA. To earn the badge, Scouts must
     participate in several activities including
     creating a video public-service announcement and
     visiting a video-sharing website to identify which
     materials are copyrighted. They may also watch a
     movie and discuss how people behind the scenes
     would be harmed if the film were pirated.
     But will the patch be a badge of honor or a
     scarlet letter of uncoolness?
     Richie Farbman, 13, is raring to go, eager to warn
     others about the dangers of illegal downloading
     while adding to his more than 20 activity badges.
     "I think it's really good to get the message out
     that it's bad," said the Redondo Beach Scout. "You
     can see your friends doing it and tell them why
     it's bad. I think if you're a role model, you can
     stop people."
     But Richie said he knew his perspective wasn't
     shared by many of his classmates. "A lot of people
     don't think they're going to get in trouble," he
     said, "so they do it anyway."
     Other teenagers say Richie and his Scouting
     buddies face an uphill battle. "Everyone knows
     it's illegal already, but they do it anyway," said
     Kevin Tran, a senior at Taft High School in
     Woodland Hills. "They can't afford to buy CDs and
     DVDs, and they see it [on the Internet] for free,
     so why not do it?"
     Officials at the Scouts' Los Angeles Area Council
     said they approached the MPAA with the idea nine
     months ago, emphasizing that the entertainment
     industry lobbying group did not make financial
     donations to secure the badge program.
     The inspiration for the new badge came from Hong
     Kong, where the local Boy Scouts organization had
     its members pledge not to use or buy pirated
     materials. In addition, the Scouts agreed to
     search Internet file-sharing sites and turn in
     sites and users they see violating the law. The
     campaign was launched at a stadium before a slew
     of pop stars where the so-called "youth
     ambassadors" pledged to stem the rise piracy.
     The move raised concerns from civil libertarians,
     who feared the group was creating thousands of
     young spies to snitch on copyright abusers.
     Victor Zuniga, a spokesman for the Scouts' Los
     Angeles Area Council, said his group decided on a
     less aggressive approach: The Scouts won't be
     asked to police the Internet for pirates.
     "Our program is educational," Zuniga said, adding
     that the badge probably would be offered elsewhere
     if was successful here.
     Stephanie Scott, a mother of two Boy Scouts, said
     the anti-piracy badge has something other Scouting
     activities lack. "This one is tailor-made for the
     city boy in L.A.," she said. "Scouts may just as
     soon go for this one rather than Wilderness
     MPAA Chairman Dan Glickman said partnering with
     the Boy Scouts made sense because so much of the
     pirating was being done by teenagers. "The truth
     is: So many kids today are savvy with computers
     and Internet technology and can download
     anything," he said.
     Although teenagers might roll their eyes at the
     new badge, some technology-industry analysts said
     it was a good idea.
     "It's actually an incredibly savvy recognition
     that all the legal and legislative protection, all
     the technological intervention is clearly not
     enough to shut down the Internet," said Eric
     Garland, an analyst with BigChampagne, which
     tracks file-sharing networks. "You have to go
     after the will of the people. Make it an ethical
     But to many teens, it's not so much about ethics
     as it is money. "Sure [Scouts] should learn
     downloading is illegal. But if you can't afford to
     buy it, then they're going to do it anyway," said
     Kevin Nguyen, 16, Chatsworth High. "There's no way
     to control it."
     * Times staff writer Amanda Covarrubias contributed
       to this report.


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