The "Respect Creativity" project from EMCA Italia: do they tell the whole story?
In August 2009 an administrative employee of an Italian school announced on a teachers mailing list that his school had received an invitation to a European Educational Project for protection of creativity and copyright by Dott.ssa Isabella Longo, Coordinator of EMCA Italia (EMCA is the European Music Copyright Alliance).
in order to carry on the fight to piracy it is necessary to promote and support educational campaigns aimed to involve young people, giving them the tools they need to understand the damaging consequences of certain illegal acts, not so much from a personal point of view (that is the punishment foreseen by existing laws) as much at the social, cultural and economic level.
The goal of the project is, instead, the introduce these topics to young people by creating occasions to think about them and providing them with useful information that would allow them to make more choices about how to use and consume music and digital content...
... interested schools will receive for free a "Let's respect Creativity" toolkit, which includes a guide/manual... and a didactic game on the value of music and on the several professional profiles of the musical world. As a support of the activities proposed in the toolkit, and as a complement of the manual, teachers will be able to use the informative material and in-depth tutorials which will be available in a dedicated section ("Guida alla materia", that is "Subject guide") in the website of EMCA Italia.
When I first read the announcement, August 2009, I looked online for that "informative material". I wanted to find out how it explains the whole topic and if and how it mentions those musicians who freely decide to work outside of the traditional music industry, using systems like the Creative Commons. Back in August, the teacher's guide did not seem to be fully available online. Almost two months later, after the school had started, the content of the Laboratory required a free registration to be accessible, and the "Subject Guide" section only contained one PDF file describing professions in the traditional music industry. Today (mid-november 2009) there are many more PDF files available for download without any registrations, but after a quick check I'm still unable to find any mention of newer use of copyright like the Creative Commons.
Back then, I found weird that the teacher's guide wasn't entirely available online, because it would be in EMCA's interest to spread as much as possible this kind of information, wouldn't it now? Therefore, on August 3, 2009, I wrote at the email addresses I found on the website ([email@example.com mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] e [email@example.com mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]), asking if the absence of that material from the website was just temporary or a conscious choice.
On September 21st I got an answer saying that the project provides some guides published online plus a free toolkit to teachers who request it, and inviting me to apply (by fax... ) so I could get the kit and use it with my students (even I had specified in my original message that I am not a teacher).
Of course none of that was a real answer to the actual questions I had made: how is copyright presented? Does the EMCA material explains to students that today there is plenty of new music which can be legally downloaded, reused and redistributed for free? And would have it be possible for everybody to see all the material without registering and without being teachers? Thinking as a parent, for example, why shouldn't I see in advance what will be thought to my children?
When I got that message on September 21st I obviously asked again what I've summarized in the previous paragraph. As of November 18th, 2009, I haven't got any answer yet and, as I already said, there seems to be no mention yet that anything but "all rights reserved, practically forever" exists. If and when I'll have an answer from EMCA, I will post it here. In the meantime, I welcome any information sent at marco, @ digifreedom, dot net, about similar campaigns in other countries: how they were launched, how did they go, do they mention CC, feedback from students and teachers, etc... Thank you all in advance for that information, and even for stimulating anybody at EMCA to provide an answer.