Have you seen the new antipiracy video from the software industry? It is execrable! Outdated, kinda offensive, and embarrassingly unhip, the clip has a zero percent chance of achieving its goal of deterring illegal downloads on campus. One young person I shared it with said the video made him want to go pirate something, anything, out of spite.
Don't Copy That 2─a sequel to the campy 1992 educational video Don't Copy That Floppy─
Keith Kupferschmid, the Software & Information Industry Association's policy director, was magnanimous enough to answer my sputtering questions about some of the video's inexplicable choices. Like: why rap, in 2009? (That's like sending a disco star to lecture a '90s classroom to get its "groove thang on" by respecting copyrights.) If you're referencing a videogame, why choose Doom, which dates to 1993? Why Klingons, instead of teenage vampires or wizards?
"We just didn't thinkabout the vampire thing, I suppose," says Kupferschmid.
It's possible to be so blinded by the creative failures of that you don't notice its failures on the merits. The software industry keeps repeating to students the fiction that if they violate copyrights online, they will be fined and go to jail. (In the video, a mom in curlers is hauled away by a SWAT team, and a young man is threatened by older black inmates wielding broomsticks in a federal prison.) Students have long since learned that that only a rare few are fined; they're comfortable with their odds of getting away scot-free. Kupferschmid's group would be better off talking about the much realer risk of getting a PC virus through an illegal download.
It is possible to make good videos on young people's terms. Just look at the wildly successful "Truth" anti-smoking campaigns─effective because they're authentic and genuinely funny. Students know that infringing copyright is a crime, yet they do it anyway; spending "credibility capital" on a video this terrible isn't going to change their minds in the slightest.