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Microsoft Media Music Patents

MS Calls On Kids to Stop Thought Thieves 709

Posted by Zonk
from the borg-is-your-friend,-citizen dept.
theodp writes "Microsoft is calling all UK kids aged 14-17 to enter its Thought Thieves Competition. Remember kids, finalists must agree to formally license all intellectual property rights in their film on terms acceptable to Microsoft. And don't forget to download your free Thought Thieves Poster!"
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MS Calls On Kids to Stop Thought Thieves

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:34AM (#12527886)
    That's Microsoft's job.
  • Oh get to the youth. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Saven Marek (739395) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:34AM (#12527887)
    No it's not the hitler youth, it's the Thought Police Youth.

    Just took 20 years longer than 1984.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:35AM (#12527892)
    "Ms. PEEAAABODDDYYY!! Bobby is stealing my THOUGHTS!!"
  • I'm speechless. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by commodoresloat (172735) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:37AM (#12527897)
    I tried to think of some witty comments here but there is nothing I can say funnier, darker, or more ironic than the story itself. This is even richer than when the MS Front Page license including a clause forbidding the use of Front Page to make web pages critical of Microsoft. The gall of these people! This is a new low, though, even for them. "Thought thieves"?! Someone up at MS is having a huge laugh over this.
    • Re:I'm speechless. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:24AM (#12528056)
      Actually I think it's quite ingenious: They ask what you would do if your creative ideas where "stolen" in the sense that someone else declared them his idea. That's subtly different from what the BSA, RIAA and MPAA are fighting. Nobody tries to pass MS Office as his own creation. But most people would agree that doing so would not be right. Even the most hardcore warez guys take attribution very seriously. So there, "intellectual property" intermingled with a topic that most people can agree on.

      Copyrights, patents and other non-tangible goods are a complicated topic, but if you can dictate the terms which are used in the discussion, you've almost won, as far as the general public is concerned.

      Oh, I hope you got the memo: It's "Thieves" now. "Pirates" have too much of a romantic connotation (thanks MPAA!).
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:46AM (#12528129)
      EVERY web page made with FrontPage is a criticism of Microsoft...
    • by OwlWhacker (758974) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @05:02AM (#12528174) Homepage Journal
      This is even richer than when the MS Front Page license including a clause forbidding the use of Front Page to make web pages critical of Microsoft.

      Ah!

      So that's why all the anti-Microsoft sites seem to display correctly in Firefox.
    • Re:I'm speechless. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MoonBuggy (611105)
      I'm seriously wondering if we can turn this around on them. If I were to make a film and make it available publically under some form of open content license at the same time as submitting it to MS, would they be able to revoke the license on the copies already distributed? If they could, wouldn't it demonstrate that their own EULA's are just as easily revoked?

      I love the title "Thought Thieves" though. I'm actually very tempted to make a film with that title now, although I don't know if it'd be approved o
  • Lame. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:38AM (#12527898)
    Thought Theives? So if I have an idea, never share it with anyone and never act on it or put it into any real tangible form and someone else has the same idea and acts on it, they're a thief and I'm a victim?

    Talk about poorly labeled.

    Oh well. Nothing surprises me anymore. I just hope kids remain indifferent enough that they don't buy into this. What's unfortunate is that I think - if they get to these kids early enough - they'll change their attitudes for life. Kind of like those school programs that convince second graders that their parents are evil if they smoke and that they're alcoholics if they have a glass of wine.
    • Re:Lame. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 14, 2005 @05:19AM (#12528218)
      I just hope kids remain indifferent enough that they don't buy into this. What's unfortunate is that I think - if they get to these kids early enough - they'll change their attitudes for life.

      I had the same worry up until a few years ago. I was on a bus in London and some kids wanted to tag the bus. However, Britain being the camera society that it is they would have been caught on film.

      Two of the girls staged an argument on the stairs and blocked the view of the camera. The boy sneaked up behind them and tagged the stairs. Even though it was an act of vandalism it revived my faith in human nature and I had a Jurassic Park like moment "life will always find a way". Yeah, I think the kids will be fine...
    • Re:Lame. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sam Nitzberg (242911)
      So if I have an idea, never share it with anyone and never act on it or put it into any real tangible form and someone else has the same idea and acts on it, they're a thief and I'm a victim?

      Didn't Leibnitz and Newton come up with similar ideas and methods of calculation for Calculus - independently, and at about the same time? And they didn't steal....

    • Re:Lame. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mr Smidge (668120)
      So if I have an idea, never share it with anyone and never act on it or put it into any real tangible form and someone else has the same idea and acts on it, they're a thief and I'm a victim?

      This really plays to the immature mentality of young children, who tend to be very selfish. Imagine a child finds a marble (or something children like) on the floor, and a friend asks if they can look at it; a young child's response would typically be "No! Mine mine mine!", wouldn't it?

      I suppose that's because kids
  • by deminisma (703135) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:38AM (#12527899)
    No-one wants to steal Microsoft's idea for a "Thought Thieves" competition.
  • Some advice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Renegade Lisp (315687) * on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:40AM (#12527918)
    Start earlier, Microsoft. You won't be able to make somebody aged 14-17 think something that he would not naturally think. Especially when your method has indoctrination so obviously written all over it.

    So start earlier. I recommend early childhood, age 4-6. I recommend showing movies to those kids where "thought thieves" are evil, dark figures that, preferably, linger under kids' beds. You'll make very powerful subconscious fears your ally that way.

    Alternatively, start later. Most teenagers and students will really like the idea of sharing thoughts, and software, and music, and they will only part with it when they enter business life and get a chance to make money themselves by stopping to share. I recommend offering every potential free software/open source developer a large amount of money if they license their stuff to you, exclusively. If that doesn't work, offer them a job at Microsoft, and pay them well. Very well. You might be able to stem the tide that way.

    But seriously, I don't think you will. There have always been developments in history that were so natural and unstoppable that it made those who tried to stop them extremely funny to look at. You're in the process of becoming such a comic figure, Microsoft.

    • Re:Some advice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Seumas (6865) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:42AM (#12527928)
      I don't know... in America, a shocking percentage of highschool students think free speech goes too far and that the government should have to "okay" everything that is reported in the press and that people have too much free speech.

      I would say the school system has already done half of the job for Microsoft.
  • by Xpilot (117961) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:41AM (#12527919) Homepage
    Microsoft brings us Orwell's grand vision of 1984, but 21 years late. Slipped deadlines, that is so typical of Microsoft.

  • by AEton (654737) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:45AM (#12527936)
    (And not just for the 14-17 year old British girls).

    I wonder if they'd like my entry "GPL Wars: Revenge of the Linksyth".

    "Anakin, don't use that code! It's a trap!"
    • by 0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:51AM (#12527959) Journal
      Actually there's an 18 and older category [msn.co.uk] as well.
  • Newton (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:51AM (#12527958) Journal
    "If I have seen so far, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants" -- Isaac Newton.

    Microsoft only have got where they are today by standing on the shoulders of giants - people who were free with their (highly insightful) thoughts. Don't they remember this?

    I shudder to think how progress would get held back if each individual jealously guarded their thoughts from each other. This campaign sends entirely the wrong message.
    • Re:Newton (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Microsoft only have got where they are today by standing on the shoulders of giants

      Microsoft have gotten where they are today by climbing over the dead bodies of giants...
    • Re:Newton (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Halo1 (136547) <jonas...maebe@@@elis...ugent...be> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @05:43AM (#12528285) Homepage
      How about Shapiro [berkeley.edu] ("slightly" more recently, and "somewhat" less known than Newton):
      Today, most basic and applied researchers are effectively standing on top of a huge pyramid, not just on one set of shoulders. Of course, a pyramid can rise to far greater heights than could any one person, especially if the foundation is strong and broad. But what happens if, in order to scale the pyramid and place a new block on the top, a researcher must gain the permission of each person who previously placed a block in the pyramid, perhaps paying a royalty or tax to gain such permission? Would this system of intellectual property rights slow down the construction of the pyramid or limit its height?
    • Re:Newton (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jesus_666 (702802) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @05:53AM (#12528308)
      I shudder to think how progress would get held back if each individual jealously guarded their thoughts from each other. This campaign sends entirely the wrong message.

      Dear <appropriate representative>,
      Microsoft's "Thought Thieves" campaign has convinced me that Microsoft has officially gone nuts and is a danger to progress and the society as a whole. I implore you to consider proposing governmental action against Microsoft while they still haven't indoctrinated our youth with their twisted opinions. The past has shown what propaganda is capable of and I fear for the future of the United States/the European Union/our country if Microsoft continues to mess with our children's heads.

      Sincerely,
      <name>


      This was the first thing that came to my mind when I read about Microsoft's latest scheme.
      Hmm, with a different wording it might be possible to drive German politicians into a frenzy over this. After all, we're still scared of the 1930's repeating; with subtle Nazi comparisons it might be possible to use German politicians to generate some bad publicity for our least favourite 300 pound gorilla.

      Any German Slashdotters who want to mess with our beloved "representatives"' heads?
    • Re:Newton (Score:4, Informative)

      by 26199 (577806) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @06:16AM (#12528375) Homepage

      Google for that quote... true or not, there is a fairly widespread allegation that it was sarcastic, used in a letter to a bitter rival.



      It's funny you should mention Newton's statement as being positive. I'm currently reading "Science: A History 1534-2001" by John Gribbin which suggests that his comment was in fact a barely disguised personal attack. It written in a letter to a scientific competitor, Robert Hooke, who had complained, correctly, that Newton was not giving him proper credit for his discoveries. Newton's response that he had seen further by "standing on the shoulders of Giants" was intended to rule out Hooke, who was famously short and hunchbacked. This is not 100% accepted history but it does seem to fit in with Newton's general demenour and behaviour.



      Apparently other people said it before Newton if you want to quote someone who actually meant it.

  • by AntiCopyrightRadical (690243) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:52AM (#12527964)
    The subject of the videos is supposed to be 'intellectual property theft'. But as I'm most here know, copying something or using a patented device with out a licence is not theft. It does not deprive anyone of anything.
    No one can own an idea.
    If you want to claim you own data, keep it private. Once you sell it to me, it is mine, to keep or to give away.
    Copyright is immoral. If you tell me a story, you do not have the right to tell me that I cannot repeat it. Everyone has the right to say what is on their mind, regardless of who first thought of it. The mere act of creation does not give you any special rights to tell other people what they can do with their property.

    This is part of a pattern of major IP holders brainwashing children,
    there needs to be an alternative voice in the classroom.
  • by FidelCatsro (861135) <fidelcatsro@@@gmail...com> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:53AM (#12527967) Journal
    Currently in my mind i am breaking a hell of alot of copyright laws.
    Songs that get stuck in my head , many many ideas , Songs i remember .
    I occasionaly hum a tune thats most likely copyrighted .
    I have an idea that may already be patent.

    When you start labeling copyright/patent infringment Thought theft then your walking on a really dodgy line. it really does sound incredibly facist .
    We should be teaching children to share and help others , instead we are teaching them suspicion and greed .. Way to go microsoft ..

    I really hope alot of kids send MS vidios depicting facist states Abusing its citizens in some cyber punk future where your thoughts are monitored .
    as it was the first thing that came to my mind when i heard thought thieves

  • by twigles (756194) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:54AM (#12527969)
    I seriously feel sorry for those guys. Oh, woops they're filthy rich, nevermind.
  • by alizard (107678) <alizard&ecis,com> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:55AM (#12527971) Homepage
    Here are some good ones:
    • this may only be viewed on computers whose operating system conforms with the Free Software Foundation licenses.
    • the intellectual property embodied in the submission may be used freely by Microsoft if only if images of Bill Gates and the image formerly displayed at www.goatse.cx are displayed side by side in a prominent place.
    • Microsoft agrees to make all specifications of Office formats available to the public free of charge in usable form in perpetuity. Final determination of usability to be made by Linus Torvalds or any successor designated by him.
    • Microsoft agrees that these terms override any terms of any "click-through" EULAs accompanying this submission.
    Seems fair enough to me.
  • by lousyd (459028) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @03:57AM (#12527978)
    You think that's funny? Try this:
    http://freetodd.org/MS-Poster.gif [freetodd.org]

    This poster was stuck up all over my San Diego, California college campus.
    • Yeah, we have something similar in the UK. It's a poster of some guy saying to his friends how much he saved on Office (it 'only' costs around 100 quid).

      What really happens in a UK university is that someone with broadband downloads a torrent of it and gives copies to anyone who wants one. No student in their right mind would actually buy it - it's (still) too bloody expensive. I would imagine it's similar in the US.
  • by Harker (96598) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:00AM (#12527989)
    I thought of that first!

    H
  • by technos (73414) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:05AM (#12527998) Homepage Journal
    Everyone has bought a porn tape that was just too disgusting to watch. Or you know someone with a box full of hermaphrodite and scheisse-pron.

    How about we steam the labels off all of those and mail em to Microsoft?
  • Haha (Score:5, Funny)

    by t_allardyce (48447) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:07AM (#12528006) Journal
    Its funny because all the school kids will just log on to Kazaa right after this lesson...

    Seriously you can't brainwash 14-17 year olds its too late by then, at this age they are already burning CDR's, smoking behind the wall and trying to use the colour laser to print fake ID's and &pound5 notes for the local off-license! Ah the good old days, when VCD's where as easy to come by as that slutty girl in your class, and everyone was discovering sharing, memories... Kids these days with their Napsters and Torrents, they have it easy!

    If Microsoft seriously wants to brainwash then they're going to have to aim for the 8 year olds or lower. Do some classes where kids make macaroni and glitter pictures and then someone takes them and pretends they made them and then beats the kid to within an inch of their lives while playing Beethoven too loud, now that's brainwashing!
  • Irony (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sfcat (872532) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:11AM (#12528017)
    What if someone made a film about how the very idea of this contest is "stolen" from Orwell's 1984. Then showed goose-stepping soldiers dragging Bill off to a reeducation camp.

    All I can say is wow. Considering MS is the biggest stealer of ideas in history, the multiple levels of irony in this article make that Alanis Morissette song (or more precisely the fact that the song isn't ironic at all) pale in comparison. This can't be real. Would Microsoft be this dumb? Nah, I don't believe it. Good hoax though...

    • Re:Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

      by reverse flow reactor (316530) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @05:20AM (#12528223)
      Here's another idea for a film. Turn the contest around and show how people benefit from the sharing of ideas.

      Setting: prehistoric man, living in a cave. Gork has the idea of rubbing two sticks together to make a fire. He finds that fire is indeed warm, and it is very comfortable to sit near it. The fire keeps him warm during the cold night.

      Grog is very jealous of Gork's fire, and steals one of the burning branches while Gork is not looking, so that he can have his own fire. He carefully takes the branch to his cave, and makes his own fire. Ironically, Gork's fire keeps burning...

      Grog enjoys his new fire, and soon realises that it is also very good for preparing food. Grog roasts himself a good meal. Grok is enticed by the new smells, and cones to check it out. He sees Grog also has a fire.

      Should he be furious and sue for patent infringement??? It took him a lot of work and time to figure out the proper way to rub two sticks together to make the fire. No, Grok tries the food and likes the roasting idea as well. He stays awhile and learns what Grog has been doing. Pretty soon, Grok is enjoying his own home-cooked meals by his warm fire, having benefited from Grog building on his idea. Both are happier and warmer because of the fire. Both have learned something new from each other, and both are better off for the sharing of ideas.

      fastforward a generation, and they are swapping BBQ recipies..

      --
      Please steal this idea and work with it. And then share it with everyone else.
    • Re:Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Halo1 (136547) <jonas...maebe@@@elis...ugent...be> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @06:10AM (#12528353) Homepage
      All I can say is wow. Considering MS is the biggest stealer of ideas in history

      And so you are doing exactly what they want: spread the fallacy that "ideas" or "thoughts" can be "stolen". Even most IPR law scholars agree that "intellectual property" is something entirely different from physical property and that you can't "steal" it.

      The natural rights doctrine (I "made" it so it's all mine and mine alone) does not hold in the world of immaterial creations. It is introduced by creating artificial scarcity using laws, which should only apply in cases where they have overall positive effects.

      With their "How would you feel if ..." oneliners, Microsoft reaches out to the inner desire of many people to be able to get rich simply by being the first to think of something. It can however easily be reversed: "How would you feel if you worked 2 years on a computer program completely on your own and when you tried to sell it, all sorts of people would start asking money from you even though all they did was pay a patent lawyer to file some documents describing ideas they once had?"

  • "Microsoft ruft alle BRITISCHEN kinder vom 14-17 an, um seine Gedankendiebkonkurrenz einzutragen.
    Erinnern Sie sich an Zicklein, finalists muß damit einverstanden SEIN, alle Rechte am geistigen Eigentum in ihrem Film auf den Bezeichnungen formal zu genehmigen, die für Microsoft annehmbar sind.
    Und vergessen Sie nicht, Ihr freies Gedankendiebplakat zu runter-laden! Microsoft in errichness 2005 JAWHOL",

    Sounds alot scaryer ;)
  • by rollingcalf (605357) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:16AM (#12528035)
    Microsoft for stealing the kids' thoughts by having them give up their intellectual property to Microsoft.
  • by mojoNYC (595906) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:17AM (#12528037) Homepage
    Ideas are most definitely *not* 'protected' (see Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture [slashdot.org])--it's only the tangible output of those thoughts.

    This is the M.O. of slimy corporations and politicians everywhere--they are basically lying to people through their gross simplification of complex issues (see 'pirates are bad'), misuse of language (this competition), and outright lying (too many examples to mention).

    What's next? 'Find the hidden pirate treasure on your parent's computer? '

  • by todu (560148) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:33AM (#12528084) Homepage
    This made me think about the childrens thought police games and later real life actions:

    "A handsome, tough-looking boy of nine had popped up from behind the table and was menacing him with a toy automatic pistol, while his small sister, about two years younger, made the same gesture with a fragment of wood. Both of them were dressed in the blue shorts, grey shirts, and red neckerchiefs which were the uniform of the Spies. Winston raised his hands above his head, but with an uneasy feeling, so vicious was the boy's demeanour, that it was not altogether a game.

    'You're a traitor!' yelled the boy. 'You're a thought- criminal! You're a Eurasian spy! I'll shoot you, I'll vaporize you, I'll send you to the salt mines!'

    Suddenly they were both leaping round him, shouting 'Traitor!' and 'Thought-criminal!' the little girl imitating her brother in every movement. It was somehow slightly frightening, like the gambolling of tiger cubs which will soon grow up into man-eaters. There was a sort of calculating ferocity in the boy's eye, a quite evident desire to hit or kick Winston and a consciousness of being very nearly big enough to do so. It was a good job it was not a real pistol he was holding, Winston thought."

    ...

    "With those children, he thought, that wretched woman must lead a life of terror. Another year, two years, and they would be watching her night and day for symptoms of unorthodoxy. Nearly all children nowadays were horrible. What was worst of all was that by means of such organizations as the Spies they were systematically turned into ungovernable little savages, and yet this produced in them no tendency whatever to rebel against the discipline of the Party. On the contrary, they adored the Party and everything connected with it. The songs, the processions, the banners, the hiking, the drilling with dummy rifles, the yelling of slogans, the worship of Big Brother -- it was all a sort of glorious game to them. All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children. And with good reason, for hardly a week passed in which The Times did not carry a paragraph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak -- 'child hero' was the phrase generally used -- had overheard some compromising remark and denounced its parents to the Thought Police."

    It's good that I don't have children..
    • by MemoryDragon (544441) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @07:53AM (#12528650)
      Unfortunately that idea comes directly from Sovjet Russia and the german Hitler jugend. Actually that indeed does work to some degree, but only to some, many people who were in the HJ or similar Sovjet organizations still became nice and critical adults during adulthood, because there is always the factor that only a certain percentage of people are sheep.
  • SWEET! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:36AM (#12528102) Homepage Journal
    I bet the person who suggested this was a disgruntled employee with a malicious sense of irony and a very low opinion of how well read his managers are. Kudos to him for getting Microsoft to quote Orwell!
  • Moral rights (Score:3, Interesting)

    by badfish99 (826052) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @04:53AM (#12528151)
    The license agreement in the article says that competitors must license all their IP rights and also "waive all moral rights".
    My understanding of this last phrase is that they give up their right under UK law to be named as the author of the film. So Microsoft could pass off the film as their own production, without mentioning the real author.
    Of course it's not theft if you sign your rights away voluntarily.
  • Alternative contest (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HenrikOxUK (776979) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @05:00AM (#12528171) Homepage
    Someone should set up an alternative contest to make a film about why sharing ideas is a good thing. Even if this turns out to be a hoax, this positive competition would be cool anyway.

    £2000 is not that much, we can match that :) If someone is willing to do the org work, I'd be happy to put up the £2000 (donations might increase that sum and/or reduce my share). The project would need a good website and would need to have the same deadline as the MSFT competition (July 1st). Ideally the effort should tie in with the Creative Commons group UK [creativecommons.org] and possibly Software Freedom Day [softwarefreedomday.org].

    OK, I've opened my big mouth now. Anyone else?
  • by donnacha (161610) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @05:12AM (#12528202) Homepage
    From Microsoft's poster:

    "So how would you feel if you saw your hard work being passed off as the property of someone else?"

    Gee, I don't know, maybe you could ask the guys who wrote the BSD stack?

  • by alexhard (778254) <alexhard@@@gmail...com> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @05:22AM (#12528230) Homepage
    From the website:
    Thought Thieves is about people stealing and profiting from your creation or innovation. Think about it: how would you feel if you saw your hard work being passed off as the property of someone else? What would you do?

    ALSO from the website:
    I will formally licence, on terms acceptable to Microsoft, all intellectual property rights
    in my film and agree to waive all moral rights in relation to my film if requested to do
    so.

    I mean.....WTF!
  • by knubee (883969) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @06:05AM (#12528343)
    Many of the comments so far on this story have drawn the parallels to Orwell, etc. -- and the posts have been witty or outraged.

    There is another aspect of this particular "bounty hunting" campaigne that is fascinating, disturbing, and possibly original. Namely, it is deliberately rewarding and encouraging people to MISUNDERSTAND the law about copyright, patent, and "ideas."

    Would such bounties be acceptable if they encouraged other kinds of legal misunderstandings? For example, many people may erroneously believe "it is legal for me to download anything that appears on the Internet." Imagine if some large company provided similar bounties for films like this:

    "Stop Illegal Harassment! Illegal harassment is when some person or company threatens you to stop doing something, even when you are doing nothing wrong. It sounds like science fiction, but it happens all the time. Some people and companies are contacting individuals who download things on the Internet and threatening them. How would you feel if your brother gave you a copy of the book he just finished reading -- and the publisher came and threatened you for 'stealing' the book? What would you do? We want to know."

    Yes, the example above glides easily between different issues and concepts. But so does the Microsoft announcement, as it talks about "stealing thoughts" one moment -- and then asks how you would feel if people stole the *results* of thought, work, and effort.

    In either case, it is frightening that it is so easy to start the equivalent of a vigilante campaigne that plays on -- and encourages -- people's confusion about the law. Even more frightening is that such campaignes may be perfectly legal.

  • by perrin (891) on Saturday May 14, 2005 @06:17AM (#12528378)
    A small group of freedom-loving youth come together to write a very helpful free software program that helps people around the world solve some problem they have, and then an evil corporate entity comes along with an overbroad software patent, files a lawsuit and takes ownership of the program as damages. I wonder how they would deal with such a film ;-)
  • by scupper (687418) * on Saturday May 14, 2005 @06:51AM (#12528449) Homepage
    This campaign - How frightening, like invasion of the thought snatchers.

    A farm truck pulls up outside of your kid's school, chock full of football size pods, and school administrators hand them out to the little children. Then, they walk them into the gymnasium, where they are told to lie down with their pod for a nap.

    when they wake up, they're obedient, EULA-ized little drones, and in the podding process, have divulged their little grade school p2p supernodes [districtad...ration.com].

  • by cortana (588495) <{sam} {at} {robots.org.uk}> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @07:41AM (#12528597) Homepage
    ... article reproduced here from yesterday's NTK [ntk.net]:
    The 1400-word terms and conditions for MSN.CO.UK's strong-IP
    "Thought Thieves" film competition are quite the read, even if
    you're not the 14-17 year-old they're intended to be read and
    understood by and complied with in their therein bywhich
    entirety. Entries must be the "sole work and creation of the
    person submitting the film" (no sharing your precious
    intellectual property fluids with your cameraman, Mr Auteur);
    must not "use third party intellectual property rights" (no
    furniture, no architecture, only clouds as background);

    ...

    http://www.the-future-of-ideas.com/excerpts/index. shtm [the-future-of-ideas.com] - Lessig's book starts at the exact point the T&C gets ridiculous
  • Schools (Score:3, Funny)

    by Deliveranc3 (629997) <deliverance AT level4 DOT org> on Saturday May 14, 2005 @09:12AM (#12528998) Journal
    Actually I think that a lot of the current music crisis was sparked in the schools.

    No seriously it happened before you can even remember.

    Some child psychologist circa 1975 said they should STRESS sharing in kindergarten, we got programs where children were told to share toys and got less toys than kids, teachers stressed that lending toys when you weren't playing with them was good behavior and praised us for it.

    Microsoft's initiative is indeed attacking the source, they're just too late.

    Their next initiative: don't lend billy your toy truck when you're not using it and he'll buy it from you for big $ thus making god happy!

"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?" -- Lily Tomlin

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