MPAA, Weekly Reader Campaign goes to the dogs

MUMBAI: The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Weekly Reader unveiled a new curriculum that will be used to educate millions of children about the importance of protecting copyrights.

The new curriculum features Lucky and Flo – the world’s first-ever DVD sniffing dogs – and is geared towards students in grades 5-7.

"These canine crime fighters have helped law enforcement and governments all over the world hunt down illegal DVDs leading to arrests of some of the criminals who are smuggling them. Now these special dogs are helping us educate children about the importance of respecting copyrights while presenting it in a fun and exciting way," said MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman. "Education is a crucial element in our efforts to fight and prevent piracy. By speaking to kids at this age level we are working to instill early-on the importance of protecting copyrights and the negative consequences of piracy."

While kids are frequent users of copyrighted content—every time they open a textbook, listen to their iPod, power up their PC, or visit the movie theater, they come in contact with intellectual property. Many students are unfamiliar with the basic concepts of copyright protection.

"At a basic level, children understand the concept of theft and know that it is wrong," said Weekly Reader Custom Publishing president Terry Bromberg. "By teaching students about copyright protection, we can further educate them on what else constitutes stealing and the negative effects DVD piracy and illegal Internet downloads have on others. It’s great to be able to bring them this message with Lucky and Flo’s help."

The Weekly Reader curriculum will educate children about copyright theft and various forms of piracy, how to identify counterfeit DVDs, the consequences of film piracy, and most importantly, why protecting copyrights is important to them. The curriculum includes: a teacher’s guide, workbook for students, and posters for classrooms and libraries.

It will be distributed to 20,000 schools and will be part of the curriculum in nearly 60,000 classrooms in ten states that including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and the District of Columbia.

The MPAA and its member companies have a multi-pronged approach to fighting piracy, which includes educating people about piracy and its consequences, working through governments and courts to strengthen copyright laws, taking action against Internet thieves, working with law enforcement authorities around the world to root out pirate operations and working to ensure movies are available legally using emerging technologies.

The worldwide motion picture industry, including foreign and domestic producers, distributors, theaters, video stores and pay-per-view operators lost $18.2 billion in 2005 as a result of piracy – over $7 billion of which is attributed to Internet piracy and more than $11 billion attributed to hard goods piracy including bootlegging and illegal copying.