Sunday, March 2, 2008

Microsoft Launches Intellectual Property Curriculum

The Microsoft Corp. has developed a curriculum aimed to teach students in grade 8-10 about intellectual property rights in a an effort to curb illegal file sharing. Earlier in the year Microsoft performed a survey on 501 teenagers between seventh and tenth grade. The result of the survey showed that many teens had a lax attitude about downloading copyrighted material off of the internet. In fact one of the key findings was that of the teens that participated in the survey fewer than half said that there should be punishment for illegally downloading materials off of the internet. This is in line with a New York Times article in which the author found that an entire group of college students he was speaking to seemed to collectively believe that there was nothing wrong with downloading copyrighted material from the internet.

Another very important finding from the Microsoft Survey was that awareness of the law impacts teen attitudes towards illegal downloading. According to the results of the survey 82% of teens ,who indicated that they were aware of the law, said that illegal downloaders should be punished. The report is very interesting and can be read here. The last key finding prompted Microsoft to launch a curriculum that teaches students about what intellectual property rights are and the possible consequences of illegal fire sharing. The curriculum consists of four thematic units and each unit contains 4 to 6 lesson plans. Right now, Microsoft is looking for teachers to field test the curriculum. The registration is free and the site has an overview of the curriculum and some FAQ's.

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