This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Captain Copyright! — where is the love?

This Magazine Staff

Access Copyright, the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency has recently launched a superhero — Captain Copyright — as a tool for teaching basic concepts of copyright to a generation that maybe is not getting a lot of “fun” information on the concept.
The character is silly, dumb, over-the-top and even, dare I say, derivative (in the critical sense). And I love him. I have a Captain Copyright sticker on my laptop… and I had vowed to never put a sticker on my beautiful little computer, but this guy is too great. He is way cooler than Elmer the Safety Elephant. I hope someday he too gets his own flag.
The website offers games, comics, and sometimes bizarre lesson plans for teachers. This stuff is straight out of the duck and cover days of instruction on how to survive a nucular attack.
What’s the reaction to Captain Copyright out there in the broader discussion of copyright? Are folks laughing? Oh bother:
“These materials, targeting kids as young as six years old, misrepresents many issues and proposes classroom activities that are offensive.” — Michael Geist
“They also neglect to mention that Canadians pay a tax on blank media that is meant to compensate artists for downloads.”— Slashdot News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters.
“Also, ironic that most of the elements of his costume are borrowed from elsewhere: Shazam’s arm protector thingees, the Sentry’s belt, and the Spectre’s color scheme.” — Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
“Captain Copyright is the propaganda cartoon character created by Canada’s Access Copyright agency to “educate kids about copyright, in the most biased, one-sided and intellectually dishonest way imaginable.”” — same as above
I think it is just fine to disagree with Captain Copyright’s message, and I am in no way defending what has been pointed out about the good captain’s criticism-shielding linking policy (which seems a rather unfortunate decision and appears to have been removed), but the tone of this pile-on strikes me as a sad missed opportunity to bring this ongoing argument out of the land of super-charged emotionalism where it seems to really, really want to live for some reason.
Better, much better, are the inevitable parodies of CC. Check it out:
Hey Kids. It’s Captain Copyright

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