Anti-Piracy Lessons Enter the School Curriculum: Are You a Thief?

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High school students are educated on a wide variety of topics, helping them to understand and become productive members of society. In Denmark, a new course was recently announced by local anti-piracy group Rights Alliance and publisher Gyldendal. With support from the government, the new curriculum educates young Danes on copyright and piracy.

BartToday’s youth is growing up in an era where all knowledge and information is literally at their fingertips.

The internet is a great source of knowledge, entertainment, and a key tool for social interactions. However, it also comes with many darker sides, although kids won’t always recognize the dangers.

In Denmark, local anti-piracy group Rights Alliance has repeatedly warned that today’s youth should be properly educated when it comes to copyright and piracy. A few weeks ago, the group launched a dedicated piracy panel for teens, hoping to learn more about their bad online habits.

By understanding the motivations of today’s youth, the anti-piracy group hopes to be in a better position to influence their behavior. That’s not the only effort on this front; Rights Alliance also helped to create a new curriculum for high schoolers.

Are You a Thief?

The new course material titled “Are You a Thief” aims to allow students between the ages of 13 and 16 to investigate their own habits, while also learning about the law and the potential risks they face.

“Students must learn about copyright and relate this to the streaming culture they are a part of. This includes knowledge of what rules and laws are broken when you misuse and spread creative content, as well as what personal and societal consequences you risk with illegal streaming,” Rights Alliance notes.

The study material is targeted at social studies students. It was created in cooperation with publisher Gyldendal, which operates the educational platform, and is supported by the Danish Ministry of Culture.

It’s Stealing

Whether the course will have the desired effect remains to be seen but there’s plenty of room for improvement. According to a recent survey, nearly a third of all Danes between the age of 15-29 admitted to streaming or downloading pirated content.

The course material shows video footage of creators who were harmed by online piracy and stresses that piracy breaks the law.

“[Piracy] actually amounts to stealing. It is theft directly from the people who make a living from producing TV, films, series and sporting events – and every time you break the copyright law,” the course website notes.

“In the real world, we learn to control desire, postpone needs, and resist temptation. This lesson also applies to the digital world. Stealing is wrong and punishable,” it adds.

The last sentence suggests that, in some cases, pirates can get content sooner than their paying counterparts. This availability issue is often seen as a main driver of piracy. While improvements can be made on the supply side, the course urges teens to postpone their needs instead.


In addition to the effect piracy has on others, the curriculum also highlights that pirates put themselves at risk. Pirate sites don’t adhere to privacy regulations and, on some scammy pirate sites, there’s a higher risk of running into malware.

When a pirate site doesn’t charge anything, it will likely make money in other ways. According to the course material, hackers and criminals are particularly keen on shipping malware.

The curriculum includes a quote from Jens Myrup Pedersen, professor of cyber security at Aalborg University, who notes that malware can lead to all sorts of trouble.

“It can be abused in countless ways. Hackers can extort money from you, redirect your computer so that you constantly end up on other illegal websites, and monitor everything you type on your keyboard,” Pedersen warns.

The course material isn’t mandatory but the creators offer it for free, so schools can offer it to their students if they wish. If everything goes well, Rights Alliance and its partners hope to see the piracy rate drop over time.


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