Scout’s Honor

Dare Violate a Copyright in Hong Kong? A Boy Scout May Be Watching Online – NYT

If the government doesn’t have enough resources to combat online copyright violations (posted songs, movies, tv shows, etc.), what do they do? They employ the world’s largest free labor source: kids. In Hong Kong, the government is teaming up with the Boy Scouts, the Girl Guides (the non-cookie version of the Girl Scouts), and a few other uniformed groups to help bring down copyright materials from public sites. Over 200,000 kids will be scouring the internet, reporting instances of violation to a central Hong Kong government website. The issue? Most of the sites found cannot be touched because they are not hosted on Hong Kong soil. So the government passes along the information to the appropriate organizations who kindly ask website providers to delete the illegal postings. My personal favorite quote is from a 16-year old who gets teased for taking part in the program. The government’s answer? Make the program “cool” by hosting a ceremony with popular singers and fun events… I don’t think a single government in the entire world can make anything “cool.” Hong Kong should stick to funding their public service announcements and stay out of the online sphere.

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