No Piracy Here, Scouts Honor!

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

The Motion Picture Association of America hopes to convert young mp3-downloaders into copyright enforcers, and who better to enlist than the Boy Scouts? Scouts in L.A., all 50,000 of them, can now add another patch to their sleeve.


Boy Scouts will earn the “Respect Copyrights” merit patch after following the curriculum designed by the M.P.A.A., which includes the basics of copyright law and instructions on how to identify five types of copyrighted works, and three ways copyrighted materials may be stolen. Scouts must also choose one activity from a list that includes visiting a movie studio to meet the “victims” of piracy (likely not the stars of films like Brokeback Mountain).

Check out other examples of Intellectual Property Run Amok that Mother Jones unearthed this spring:

-To prevent piracy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a Montreal Cineplex monitored audiences with metal detectors and night vision goggle and checked popcorn for video cameras.

-Last year Disney and other media companies sued two small L.A. shops for selling $15 pinatas of Winnie the Pooh, The Incredibles, and Nemo.

-A French Director had to pay $1,300 after a character in his film whistled the communist anthem, “The Internationale,” without permission.

Find the rest here, and sources here.

–Koshlan Mayer-Blackwell


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend