Students interact with music, movies, software, and other digital content every day—but many don’t fully understand the rules surrounding the appropriate use of these materials, or why this should even matter. To help teach students about intellectual property rights and encourage them to become good “digital citizens,” software giant Microsoft Corp. has unveiled a free curriculum that offers cross-curricular classroom activities aligned with national standards. The Digital Citizenship and Creative Content program was designed for students in grades 8-10 but can be adapted for use in grades 6-12, Microsoft says. In one unit, students are given a scenario in which a high school sponsors a school-wide Battle of the Bands. A student not involved in the production decides to videotape and sell copies of the show to students and family members. Later, one of the performers (“Johnny”) learns his image has been co-opted by the maker of a video game without his permission. Students research intellectual property laws to see who owns the “rights” to the Battle of the Bands as a whole, as well as the rights of individual performers, to determine three or four steps that Johnny can take. http://digitalcitizenshiped.com

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