As a parent, do you often worry about the dangers of your child pirating movies and music online? Of course not. Which is why we laughed out loud when we read about Louisiana’s new law that mandates anti-piracy classes in schools.
Louisiana House Bill 236, Act 384
The new amendment to this House Bill enacted by Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs dictates that classrooms much teach “internet and cellphone” safety in the classroom.
Representative Hodges said that she changed the bill to “protect our children from child predators” after learning about a child pornography. In order to keep kids safe, the bill requires Louisiana schools to teach kids how to social network, e-mail and chat without revealing too much personal info or accidentally chatting with a sexual predator.
And who’s going to argue with that? Except for the fact that most kids know more about the ins and outs of the internet than their 40-year health teacher, we can’t find anything wrong with keeping kids safe.
The Sneaky Stuff
But the bill only sounds innocuous before you read the fine print that says that part of the classes will focus on instructing students on “the illegality of distributing copyrighted materials without permission.” Under the amendment, school districts will have to spend taxpayer money on developing new materials and training teachers to keep your kid from illegally downloading Mew Two Strikes Back.
And that totally necessary expenditure of taxpayer resources totally makes sense. Unless of course you take into account that Louisiana is the 5th poorest nation in the Union. Or that its ranked last or near last in all facets of its state education (except for number of kids poor enough to qualify for free lunches). And that it demands — by law — that its teachers teach creationism in classrooms.
All in all, the amendments will cost Louisiana taxpayers roughly $20,000 per year. We think that media companies and their lobbyists should foot the bill because they’re not fooling anyone. They just want to keep kids from cluing their parents in on the best new download sites that crop up after the government takes all of the good ones down.
What We Think
Louisiana has bigger problems. And so does the rest of the world. Kids who no longer have access to recess will now devote their classroom hours to learning about how best to protect Viacom from copyright infringement. Does that sound crazy to anyone else?
What do you think? Do we teach piracy laws and cellphone safety to kids at school? Or is that a job best left up to parents?