Microsoft has released the results of a study it conducted regarding teens, illegal downloads and copyright. Among the findings:
- American teenagers between 7th and 10th grades are less likely to illegally download content from the Internet when they know the laws for downloading and sharing content online;
- 49% of respondents said they are not familiar with the rules and guidelines for downloading images, literature, music, movies and software from the Internet;
- 11% said they understood the rules of copyright and illegal downloading of content "very well";
- 76% of boys and 68% of girls said that they would not continue after being told the rules to download or share content over the Internet without paying for it.
In conjunction with the findings of the survey, Microsoft Education has developed model curriculum and resources for educators to help them educate students on the issues around copyright, digital literacy and illegal downloading of content.
In addition they have created, MyBytes, a site where t/weens can learn more about copyright and "develop their own intellectual property and assign usage rights by mixing music online to create a custom riff that they can download as a ring tone."
I think it would also be interesting to survey teachers and see how well they understand "educational fair use" and other issues around copyright. My guess is that they are as confused about what digital content they are allowed to use as the rest of us.
Thankfully, organizations like Creative Commons are taking the lead on the copyright issue, providing a set of alternative licenses to traditional copyright while the lawyers and publishing/recording/movie industry figure it out for themselves.