According to a Microsoft survey, most children learn what they know about copyright from their parents. That must be why only 11% of the 7th to 10th graders surveyed said they had a clear understanding of what was legal and what was illegal when it came to downloading music, video and other creative works from the Internet.
85% said it was a punishable offense to steal a cell phone, CD or DVD from someone’s locker at school, but less than half said the same about downloading music illegally from the Internet. Even after learning about copyright law and how it relates to downloading music, a quarter of the students surveyed said they would continue to break the law because, “Rock stars don’t need the money.”
As a copyright educational tool, only 14% of the kids said TV, magazines and newspapers were effective. Apparently students don’t learn about copyright at school at all. Our normal educational system wasn’t even mentioned in the article.
Where would copyright fit into a school’s curriculum? I was at a meeting tonight at our local school. I asked the Social Studies teacher where he thought copyright should be taught. He agreed it was an important topic and probably fit into the Social Studies curriculum, but didn’t know if there was a state standard requiring it.
There isn’t. I checked all the academic content standards on ODE’s web site and the only time copyright is mentioned is when technology is involved. The technology academic content standards are the only ones with benchmarks and grade-level indicators that deal with copyright. Since there is no achievement test for the technology standards, most schools probably don’t have a course that addresses them.
I think I have a better understanding of why most college freshman don’t have a solid understanding of copyright law.