Kids, Just Say No To Downloading

Unless you want to lose your scholarship

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Last time I saw brain-scrubber propaganda like this was almost 25 years ago when, just a kid, I was terrified by some creepy comics left behind by some men my dad was talking to at the front door. Even at 7 and hungry for comic-anything, I couldn’t imagine why anybody’d want to read stories like that.

We’d be insulting today’s youth if we thought they couldn’t see through the thin veil draped over 50,000 "graphic novels" handed out to students warning about the dangers of sharing music online.

Though nobody you or I know has done any jail time for file sharing, or paid any fines to anybody but the RIAA in lawsuits, comic books distributed by the non-profit National Center for State Courts is warning kids they could face 2 years in jail and a $25,000 fine for state-level theft.

Much different than the narrative I discussed in this article, the narrative of one of the comics has a girl facing a loss of her scholarship because of file sharing. But, as Wired and other bloggers have pointed out, any charges brought against a file sharer would be brought at the federal level. The feds have been pretty reluctant thus far to go after downloading teenagers.

That’s the RIAA’s job, though don’t let the ominous string of initials fool you into thinking they (or the NCSC) is another enforcement branch of the government.

The NCSC was founded in the Eighties by Justice Warren Burger, and describes itself in its material as more than just a think tank, which is only slightly less vague than bigger than a bread box. Among their services, aside from interpreting the law for people, they offer research, educational, and publishing services, kind of like LawMedia.

Before you go thinking it a fair question to ask how much the RIAA "donated" to the NCSC for disseminating their creative interpretation and scary consequences propaganda material, it should be noted how difficult it is to find anything on Google by pairing terms like [RIAA] and [donations] or [charitable contributions] or [philanthropy].

The only things Google brought back —through page 3 of the results anyway, well beyond where anybody actually looks—were posts from people seeking donations so they could fight the RIAA in court, or reports about the "donations" the organization provides to politicians. (One post suggested they donate to the Hitler youth but, ho hum,  that appears to be satire.)

It’s probably only a coincidence politicians appoint a lot of judges, maybe even judges interpreting "justice" for the NCSC. And it’s very, very likely all those lawyers in the entertainment industry have no lawyer friends outside of the industry, in government or in connection with the NCSC, or otherwise. Probably. Most certainly. Just like the piracy battle has more to do with justice than with money. Right?

Kids, Just Say No To Downloading
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  • http://court-o-rama.org Anne

    Trust me, the NCSC had probably never heard of RIAA (much less received donations from them) until this week when, for some reason, the blogosphere latched onto this year-old story.


    The goal of the project was to education the public about how courts work, not about any particular type of case or any specific law. Piracy was just part of the story line (there is another one with an eminent domain case).

    • Guest

      So why the strong final message that "file sharing is wrong" underlined with the relief that Megan got caught; thus preventing further suffering for the musicians? I don’t see what this "message" has to do with how the courts work? What does a derelict stage have to do with the courts?

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