Monday, May 16, 2005

An All-Time Low

Microsoft has asked all 14-17 year old children in the United Kingdom to compete in a short film-making contest dubbed "Thought Thieves". Their advertising poster reads -
"Thought Thieves is about people stealing the ideas in your head. It sounds like science fiction but it really happens, and it happens all the time."
"Stealing"? Using children to fuel propaganda in an attempt to reinforce the absurd notion that ideas are to be equated with physical property is truly an all-time low. More absurd is the fact that the film makers are forbidden to use any portion of copyrighted content within their film. Part 3 of the agreement terms states -
"You must not use any existing copyright works in your film including music, songs or existing film clips. You must not use any third party trademarks or other third party intellectual property rights in your film."
I suppose that would be quite a disaster for Microsoft if a child were to rip, mix, and burn new content from one of those "communist" works governed by a legal and legitimate copyright license which allows for derivation. So even if children create their film through legal means, they are still disqualified.

And the icing on the cake? The film is to be "between 30 and 45 seconds long".

This is approximately the amount of time Microsoft wants you to spend questioning the umbrella term - "Intellectual Property". In fact, don't question at all! You do believe, don't you?


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