Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hong Kong recruit scouts as online copyright monitors

From the NYT:

"Movie and song copiers beware: use an Internet discussion site in Hong Kong to violate copyrights and you may be turned in to law enforcement authorities by an 11-year-old Boy Scout.

Starting this summer the Hong Kong government plans to have 200,000 youths search Internet discussion sites for illegal copies of copyrighted songs and movies, and report them to the authorities. The campaign has delighted the entertainment industry, but prompted misgivings among some civil liberties advocates.

The so-called Youth Ambassadors campaign will start on Wednesday with 1,600 youths pledging their participation at a stadium in front of leading Hong Kong film and singing stars and several Hong Kong government ministers.

The Youth Ambassadors represent a new reliance on minors to keep order on the Internet. All members of the Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and nine other uniformed youth groups here, ranging in age from 9 to 25, will be expected to participate, government officials said...

When youths report to the authorities that movies, songs, television programs or other copyrighted material is being made available through an Internet posting, customs officials will verify the posting and then relay it to trade groups like the Motion Picture Association or the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. The associations and their members then send warning letters to the Web masters of the discussion forums, asking them to delete the offending posting; the customs officials keep secret which child has spotted which posting."

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