Boy Scouts in the Los Angeles area will now be able to earn a merit patch for learning about the evils of downloading pirated movies and music. […]

The movie industry has developed the curriculum.

“Working with the Boy Scouts of Los Angeles, we have a real opportunity to educate a new generation about how movies are made, why they are valuable, and hopefully change attitudes about intellectual property theft,” Dan Glickman, chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, said Friday.

…. Does this seem just a bit creepy to anyone else, or am I on my own here?

A few problems:

Allowing an industry to develop a curriculum is a recipe for disaster (or should I say “flop”?). I would no more allow the MPAA or RIAA to tell me about copyright than I would allow Exxon to tell me about alternative energy or Microsoft to tell me about “embrace and extend.” Remember, the MPAA’s the same organization that said you aren’t allowed to make backups of the DVDs you buy—if it gets damaged, you simply have to go out and buy another copy. Apparently, this sort of stricture is perfectly OK, but it strikes me as odd, given the Boy Scouts’ fear of homosexuals: apparently, getting fucked in the ass is only all right if it’s a litigious media conglomerate doing the mounting.

Glickman, ever stubbornly flogging the same dead horse, is right when he concludes that the attitude toward intellectual property theft needs to be changed—yes, by consumers, but just as much by the studios and the soulless abysses which represent them. I think people know the value of movies, and that is precisely the problem: certainly, they don’t seem to be worth buying anymore. At least, not when they suck, hard, and are available on digital media that was designed to give consumers the shaft1.

The article goes on to that say that prospective badge-earners must also choose from a list of activities which include visiting a movie studio “to see how many people can be harmed by film piracy.” I love this, because I’m quite certain these children will be told that for every movie they download, some humble janitor or assistant to the assistant director will lose their job and return home, Bob Cratchit-like, to tell his starving family that there’ll be no Christmas presents this year—piracy has ruined the movie industry and it tireless, selfless constituents. No one will tell the Boy Scouts, of course, that the people who really care about piracy are executives whose salaries won’t be affected. The truth is that this tack by conglomerates to stem piracy with appeals to pathos is little more than people like Dan Glickman holding a pistol to some lowly worker’s temple and screaming that Dammit, if the piracy doesn’t stop, then Mr. Cratchit here gets it!

Dan Glickman is an asshole. And his merit badge isn’t worthy to wipe my ass with. Fín.

  1. I won’t go into this in detail, but I must point out (1) the collusion by studios to introduce “Region Coding” to DVDs so that consumers would have to pay local (expensive) prices for their movies, no matter how cheaply they could be found on the internet; (2) CSS encryption, which was the aforementioned method of preventing consumers from copying the media they’ve purchased, no matter how honest their intent.[]
§1473 · October 23, 2006 · Tags: , , , , ·

2 Comments to “Do they give merit badges for prostituting yourself to a media conglomerate?”

  1. You know, I used to be a boy scout. As a former boy scout, I’ve got to say, I’m really appalled. Back in my day there were questionable badges (as to what value they had) like water-skiing and skateboarding.

    They were accepted, however, on the fact that you were learning some skill (albeit a perhaps impractical skill). I had badges like fingerprinting, leatherwork, blacksmithing, and basketweaving (don’t ask, we were required….).

    All of those are seemingly pointless, as they really won’t help me at all in life. I am, however, learning physical skills in each of those. Not pedantic philosophies that may or may not last more than a decade! Fin.

  2. rob says:

    They can put it on the same sleeve as their queer-bashing badge!

    Jesus your Scouting movement is fucked up.

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