Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Today I received the following press release from our local copyright czar Steve Franklin, who -- in his official capacity -- actually manages to be enlightened without being a despot:

The Copyright Office has launched an interactive website aimed at middle-school children. The goal of "Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright" is to explain U.S. copyright law. The colorful and animated website includes a set of learning activities and employs a character named Detective Cop E. Wright, together with other original characters, to help bring a greater understanding of how U.S. copyright law operates.

On the scale for web materials about copyright for children, which range from the merely horrible to the absolutely execrable, Taking the Mystery out of Copyright doesn't at first look so bad. I'm not sure that I'd agree that progressively more repressive intellectual property restrictions are really "copyright milestones" on a timeline that goes back to the monks in the scriptorium, but at least it acknowledges the existence of fair use, which amazingly many so-called educational sites for kids don't.

I'm still pretty tired of anti-media media social marketing and government websites with cartoon characters being pushed on kids rather than real research materials to help K-12 students with information literacy skills and school reports. Shouldn't the Library of Congress do better?

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