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Boy Scouts Introduce Merit Badge For Not Pirating 731

The_Slaughter writes "The MPAA has recruited the boy scouts of America to do their dirty work. Scouts will now be able to learn a merit badge for anti-piracy related activities, including creating public service announcements urging others not to steal movies or music. No word yet on if that includes helping the MPAA file lawsuits against 80-year-old grandmothers."
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Boy Scouts Introduce Merit Badge For Not Pirating

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  • Scouts Honor.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MECC ( 8478 ) * on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:23PM (#16520897)
    "Scouts also must choose one activity from a list that includes visiting a movie studio to see how many people can be harmed by film piracy. They also can create public service announcements urging others not to steal movies or music." And complete a lobotomy. [idiom.com]

    Do they also have merit badges for not thinking independently? Or one for having your IQ reduced to a single digit and being converted to a near-mindless automaton?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:25PM (#16520941)

      Scouts also must choose one activity from a list that includes visiting a movie studio to see how many people can be harmed by film piracy.

      I wouldn't worry. When they see the true extent of the "harm" caused by movie and TV piracy, they'll be heading to thepiratebay.org the moment they're near a computer.

      Scouts will be instructed in the basics of copyright law and learn how to identify five types of copyrighted works and three ways copyrighted materials may be stolen.

      Cool, they'll be teaching them how to do it, too.

      • by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:40PM (#16521201) Journal
        I was going to say, I bet the pirates in the scouts will be the first ones earning a merit badge (in an ironic twist).
        • Re:Scouts Honor.... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @05:40PM (#16522123) Homepage
          As a (former) Scout, I can pretty much be sure that's the case. The badge requirements [meritbadge.com] for the Computers merit badge look as if they were written in about 1992 last I checked (before electronic mail was shortened to email...), so I never even really considered to bother with it, though that site says they were revised in 2004. The article was incredibly thin on details, though I'd be interested to find out a bit more. Like what the thing is called. Something tells me that "Respecting Copyrights" isn't going to fit between Archery and Citizenship in the Nation, but then again I earned Dentistry and Space Exploration without the use of a dental pick or spacesuit.

          I'd just like to know how many people would have any interest in earning the thing. I'm thinking that, aside from those 'have to earn them all' types, there will be very, very few.
          • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:13PM (#16522577)
            It just breaks my heart to think you can earn a Space Exploration badge without a minute exposed to hard vaccuum and direct radiaton from the sun.

            I had an Eagle Scout friend growing up and some of the badges he went for actually seemed rather hard to get...
            • As an Eagle Scout (Score:4, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:41PM (#16522939)
              As an Eagle Scout, I can certainly confirm that. Outside of the 'fluff' badges, many are quite involved. In particular, I remember Environmental Science, Backpacking and Emergency Preparedness as being fairly difficult.
          • by ampmouse ( 761827 ) <ampmouse+slashdot@ampmouse.net> on Friday October 20, 2006 @08:06PM (#16523923) Homepage
            Demonstrate your knowledge of the following:
            a. What is a copyright?
            Copyright is a set of exclusive rights regulating the use of a particular expression of an idea or information.
            b. Why do copyrights matter?
            To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
            c. Identify five types of copyrighted works (two may be your own). For each, give the author/creator and the date the work was copyrighted.
            1. GNU GENERAL PUBLIC LICENSE - Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
            2. libdvdcss - Copyright (C) 1999-2003 VideoLAN
            3. dvdbackup - Copyright (C) 2002 Olaf Beck
            4. Linux - Copyright (c) 1991 Linus Torvalds
            5. FreeBSD - Copyright (C) 1992-2006 The FreeBSD Project.
            d. Name three ways copyrighted materials may be stolen.
            1. Go to the location where the copyrighted materials are stored, create a diversion, and run off with the copyrighted materials when no one is looking.
            2. Go to the owner of the copyrighted materials, make statments that might suggest his or her life is in danger if you do not have the copyrighted materals, then run off once the person gives them to you.
            3. Run in to the location where the copyrighted materials are used, screeming, and waving a bag over your head. Then, grab the copyrighted material and speed off in your car.
            Visit a video sharing network or peer to peer website and identify which materials are copyrighted and which aren't.
            I visited Jamendo [jamendo.com]. All the material is copyrighted.
            Ok, I am done. Now give me my Badge!
      • Three ways (Score:5, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:46PM (#16521301)
        three ways copyrighted materials may be stolen.

        First there's your basic shoplifting.

        Second there's the classic breaking and entering.

        The third way is a little tricky. You have to forcibly board a boat and seize their copyrighted materials at swordpoint.

        Bonus points for recognising which one involves piracy.
      • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @05:05PM (#16521601)
        Actually, more likely to be like the kids in "Jesus Camp".

        You get to people young enough- you define who they are and what they feel is right and wrong.
        • by HiThere ( 15173 ) * <{ten.knilhtrae} {ta} {nsxihselrahc}> on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:10PM (#16522537)
          People keep saying that.

          Voltaire was raised by the Jesuits, and people keep saying that.

          Adolph Schicklgruber grew up as a Jew. And people keep saying that.

          Statistically it may be true, but frequently there comes a time when a person decides to define himself by violently rejecting (some part of) what he was taught. The more coercively it was shoved down his throat, the more violent the reaction.
        • Re:Scouts Honor.... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Alchemar ( 720449 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @08:04PM (#16523913)
          The boys scouts are "Jesus Camp":

          Can't be atheist http://www.komotv.com/news/story.asp?ID=21204 [komotv.com]

          But lets get their belief on their "Duty to God" strait from their legal department
          http://www.bsalegal.org/faqs-195.asp [bsalegal.org]

          I am all for letting everyone practice whatever their beliefs, but I am for letting them practicing equally. I have a personal beef with the schools system for only allowing religious organizations that they personally find acceptable. The local school even states in their policy that the only uniforms allowed are for ROTC and Boy Scouts. I am a humanist, I believe in Peace and Getting support from other human being instead of waiting for divine intervention (on a personal note, I think I have made an involentary exception to that for the upcomming elections), why can't I have an organization advertised in the school by allowing the children to wear a uniform?
      • Re:Scouts Honor.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by robyannetta ( 820243 ) * on Friday October 20, 2006 @05:16PM (#16521761) Homepage
        Scouts also must choose one activity from a list that includes visiting a movie studio to see how many people can be harmed by film piracy.

        The scouts can drop by my microcinema studio and see how I release all my movies for FREE under a Creative Commons [creativecommons.org] licence.

        Will they still get their badge?

    • by rubycodez ( 864176 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:27PM (#16520977)
      My Republican oongressman would like the ym nick of any teen scouts having such badges.
    • by MattGWU ( 86623 ) * on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:33PM (#16521073)
      Yes, it's called the "You don't HAVE to do any merit badges you don't want to do." merit badge. The one requirement is you DON'T DO THE BADGE. It's a total gimmie, it's great. Nobody is holding a gun to some kids head to do the badge.

      My prediction: If it's easy, scouts will do the badge. You don't have to believe in it, you just have to do it, and damn if there's nothing better than an easy merit badge for that extra Eagle palm or whatever.
    • Re:Scouts Honor.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by OS24Ever ( 245667 ) * <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:33PM (#16521081) Homepage Journal
      I wasn't in the boy scouts, but I was in the Explorer portion and that's how I got my private pilot license at 18.

      However, I feel that the scout organization has fallen so far from its original intended roots that it's nothing but a special interest shadow of its former self. It's very sad, because what once was an organization that helped kids learn about skills and camping and other simple yet vital tasks for a well rounded person have been hammered away into anti-gay, christian centric whored out to any group that wants type of thing.
      • Re:Scouts Honor.... (Score:5, Informative)

        by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:40PM (#16521197) Homepage Journal
        However, I feel that the scout organization has fallen so far from its original intended roots
        The organization is no more than the sum of its members.
        The two or three scout parents I know are the kind of old fashioned, independent thinking, screw-the-post-modernists sort of people whom you'd want to have around in case of actual emergency. Can't speak for their sons, whom I have not met.
        Succumbing to the moral dry-rot so rampant in contemporary America is something we have to eschew individually.
        • Re:Scouts Honor.... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ottothecow ( 600101 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @05:02PM (#16521563) Homepage
          Excellent point

          When I was a boy scout (I would have had to stop due to age 2 years ago but I really stopped 4-5 years ago) my troop was a lot of fun. It wasnt the nerdy bunch that boyscouts were stereotyped as at the time (though there certainly were entire troups like that) but was really a bunch of good people. Had a lot of focus on camping and outdoors type stuff rather than pushing certain ideals and morals (well, there was still the good-doing ideals but nothing remotely like the anti-gay stuff). I never really advanced too far as I only went for merit badges I was interested in so I ignored a lot of the "required" merit badges like swimming since while I certainly can swim, it was a lot of time and foolish tests to prove I could swim rather than learning about something new with another merit badge. It was a lot of fun either way and the way the organization seems to be going these days makes me kind of sad.

          Something tells me that I wont be willing to be a scoutmaster by the time I have children...

          • Re:Scouts Honor.... (Score:5, Informative)

            by zerocool^ ( 112121 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:27PM (#16523527) Homepage Journal

            I am an Eagle scout, troop 171. I also spent time in troop 343.

            I loved boy scouts. I really had a good time. I was in it all the way from cub scouts, up till my 18th birthday. I still use a lot of the knowledge I gained in scouting - aside from the camping skills, I learned how to camp, and how to tie knots (which comes in handy more often than you'd think), and a number of other skills. The leadership experience was also very important in building me into the person I am today.

            However, before I sound like an advertisement for scouts, the point where it started turning down hill was when they introduced "Family Life" merit badge. I think it was while I was a scout - it wasn't in my handbook, but you had to get it to get your Eagle. We all kind of looked at it like it was just an excuse to have the parents do part of the dirty work - part of the merit badge is having "the talk" (both the sex one and the drugs one) with your parents. I look back now and see that it's the religious influence that was probably slipping talks about responsible abstinence and sexuality into a club which otherwise dealt with how to build a good fire, or which boot and sock configuration would avoid the blisters, or how to splint a finger or put your arm in a sling. It comes from the fact that most of the top scouts decision makers now are Mormons. I think something like 2 out of every 5 scouts, maybe more, are mormons. The mormon church has in part co-opted scouts to be part of it's youth program. There's nothing wrong with Mormons, of course, but organized, denomination-specific christianity should not be an integral part of a scout program.

            I'm also very dissapointed with the boy scouts' dual standard of government status. I was never a part of a troop that met in a public building (both my troops, and my pack, were church-affiliates), but some boy scout troops meet in schools, for free. Well, the deal is if you use government property for free, you need to conform to government regulations, which includes anti-discriminatory regulations. However, when the scouts want to keep the gays out, they claim private organization status. You can't have your Jamboree at Fort A.P. hill, and rent a government base (and use a lot of government labor) for free one minute, and the next minute, say that homosexuals can't be scouts. Or that people who don't believe in God can't be scouts (not "a god" or "any god" or "a higher power", but "The GOD(tm)").

            Thankfully, if there is a saving grace for boy scouts, it's that individually, on a troop level, most of the crap is ignored. I've never been near a troop that forced any religion on anymore, or that wussified scouting on purpose. Our weekly meetings were either talking about the camping trip that just happened, or planning that awesome cold-weather backpacking trip next month. We ran obsticle courses, we learned first aid, we had discussions of good citizenship and community envolvement. We did service projects - we fixed homeless shelters' food pantries, we made handicapped ramps for churches, we cleared overgrowth for city parks. To me that's what scouting is about.

            I think what we have here is a case of individual scouting practices on a troop level probably will forego the crap that people are worried about - it's the top level that is out of line here. Also, let me point out that this story is about boy scouts of Los Angeles, and I don't think this is on a national level.

      • Re:Scouts Honor.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by vought ( 160908 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:48PM (#16521335)
        However, I feel that the scout organization has fallen so far from its original intended roots that it's nothing but a special interest shadow of its former self. It's very sad, because what once was an organization that helped kids learn about skills and camping and other simple yet vital tasks for a well rounded person have been hammered away into anti-gay, christian centric whored out to any group that wants type of thing

        Thanks for saying so well what I've felt often over the past fifteen years. Scouting is nothing more than bitter old men leading impressionable young men around anymore. It's almost like a page program for suburban and exurban white guys.

        I was a First Class Scout before leaving when I was 16, to spend more time bike racing. I enjoyed scouts because it let me get outdoors (I'd formerly beena roly-poly little fat computer nerd kid, and while I kept my computer nerd cred, scouts got me outside, working some of that flab off and seeing, doing, and loving the outdoors.

        As I crested Muir and Bishop Passes on consecutive days four summers ago, I thought a lot about my time as a scout. I'd never have learned to enjoy the outdoors were it not for my thoughtful and tolerant scoutmaster. Stuff like this - being a shill for big business - and the flaaaaaaming antigay rhetoric coming out of the Boy Scouts is a truly sad thing. The organization could do a lot of good for ALL young men if they chose to.

        • by 644bd346996 ( 1012333 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @05:01PM (#16521547)
          Your comment almost perfectly hits the mark. The only thing is that there are still a few troops that accomplish the original purpose. They are actively being repressed by the higher levels, but there are ways to deal with them. It is only through the efforts of a few extremely patient and caring men, mostly Eagles, that some troops can stick to BP's ideals. Unfortunately, these men are almost entirely absent from the organization above the troop level.
      • Re:Scouts Honor.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Greventls ( 624360 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:59PM (#16521497)
        The quality of the Boy Scouts depends on where you are. I was in the Boy Scouts in the Westmoreland Fayette Council up until 4 years ago(I turned 18). I was openly atheist and recieved Eagle. I knew of a couple openly gay members who also made it through to Eagle. No one cared. Everyone was openly accepting of everyone. I think these are select councils or troops run by extremely socially conservative people.
      • by CheshireCatCO ( 185193 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @05:01PM (#16521557) Homepage
        I'm an Eagle Scout and I agree wholeheartedly. I'm proud of my Eagle and had a great experience in my (small) troop back in the day, but I refuse to donate any time or money to the BSA these days. Mostly, this is due to what I feel is an unforgivably intolerant stance towards gays, athiests, and agnostics and their almost-interolable exclusion of girl younger than Explorer-ages. On top of that -- as if it weren't enough -- there's crap like this. They really need to re-evaluate what they're doing and why. They've come dangerously close to being a knee-jerk, right-wing indoctrination organization. The program is still good at its core and lord knows kids need a way to get outside and learn life skills to supplement what's taught in schools, but I fear that the politics of the people running the show are getting in the way far too much.
      • Re:Scouts Honor.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by davmoo ( 63521 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @05:03PM (#16521583)
        I was in the Boy Scouts, from start to finish...started as a Cub Scout as soon as I could get in, stayed in until I was 21, and then served four years as a Scoutmaster. I was also in the OA, Explorers, and several other "side groups" (for lack of a better term). This was in the 60s through the 80s. I have nothing but fond memories of the experiences. There are **MANY** positive skills I learned and things I did that I would have never experienced without having been a Boy Scout.

        That was then, this is now.

        Now I'll echo what you say here. The organization has changed so much from what it was then that if I had children and they were to ask to be in Scouts, I'm not sure I would approve. I ceased donating even my money in the mid-90s.
      • by swillden ( 191260 ) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday October 20, 2006 @05:10PM (#16521683) Homepage Journal

        However, I feel that the scout organization has fallen so far from its original intended roots that it's nothing but a special interest shadow of its former self

        I was a boy scout, got my Eagle, have been a Cub Scout leader for the last few years and just recently became the Varsity Team Coach (Varsity is the 14-15 year-old boys), so I have a very good view of what Scouting actually is, as opposed to what it appears to be in the press.

        My take is that your perception is driven primarily by the special interests who have decided to attack scouting based on the two tenets of the program they don't like: homosexuality and religion. The scouting organizations actually have very little problem with either of those, and spend no time at all worrying about them. The prohibition on homosexual and pedophile leaders is very sensible, in my opinion, and the religious position is both open (must profess faith in *some* god) and not really enforced.

        Scouting is a great program that does a tremendous amount of good. It's precisely because it's such a valuable program that people who object to a couple of its tenets like to attack it. Don't take their attacks to mean that the program has changed.

        Anyway, I need to get back to planning next year's High Adventure camp. We're going to do a week-long, 100-mile rafting trip, most of it through the inaccessible canyons of the Colorado River above the Grand Canyon. I'm actually not so much planning it as putting together the framework for planning it, because the boys will do the real planning themselves.

        That's what scouting is about. Self-sufficiency, outdoor skills, teamwork, preparedness and the moral strength and integrity that are developed by doing hard things in a place that no one can cover for you. Oh, and fun. Lots of fun.

        Doesn't stop people from trying to use Scouting to score political points, but we try to ignore those people.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20, 2006 @05:26PM (#16521921)
          Why do people lump homosexuals and pedophiles into the same group?

          As an adult hetrosexual male, do you have the desire to fondle a female child?
    • Re:Scouts Honor.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:48PM (#16521331)
      As has already been pointed out, this is NOT a Merit badge, it is a patch. Anyone can create a patch and offer them to anyone. It has nothing to do with whether the LA Boy Scouts want to earn the patch or not.
    • Do they also have merit badges for not thinking independently? Or one for having your IQ reduced to a single digit and being converted to a near-mindless automaton?

      Hello Kettle, this is the pot, I'm sending you an MP3 of my new hit song, "You're Black and I'm Not".

      The LAST people who should be accusing others of not thinking independently are people who mindlessly justify stealing the work of others using some of the lamest excuses ever made. I doubt you can, but try reading some of these dicusssions and look for rational, well-thought-out opinions. Whenever music piracy comes up, it is generally 100% group-think.

    • by adisakp ( 705706 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @05:01PM (#16521543) Journal
      Scouts will still be allowed to sing songs around the campfire during camping trips assuming that all use of music is properly accounted for with performance fees and royalties paid to the RIAA.
    • by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday October 20, 2006 @05:07PM (#16521643) Homepage Journal
      To be fair, most troop leaders are average guys who are more interested in teaching kids how to tie knots and go camping. It's the higher ups who have gone completely off their rocker. I was a boy scout all the way until 18 and even then there were plenty of signs that the higher ups were not quite in touch with the real world. They used to have this funny requirement that the boys must believe in a monotheistic diety of some sort, although they were careful not to actually say "Christian God" outright. Down at the troop level that requirement was quietly swept under the rug. It's a shame the scouts have gotten saddled with this, because it is a great organization for teaching children leadership skills (patrol leaders have quite a big of responsibility) and a variety of useful skills for life. Everybody in the world should know how to tie a Bowline and Taut-line hitch, those two knots are invaluable in daily life.

      I guess the kids also get a lesson in how messed up upper management can be...

      Either way, no matter how messed up the Boy Scouts are, they still have nothing on the Girl Scouts. Talk about an organization that doesn't know what it's doing. They're still not sure if they should be teaching girls how to cook, how to camp, or how to not speak unless spoken to. It doesn't help that girls interested in the more exciting parts of scouting can join the Boy Scouts via the Venture program.
  • Great (Score:5, Funny)

    by Who235 ( 959706 ) <`secretagentx9' `at' `cia.com'> on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:23PM (#16520903)
    There's another badge I wouldn't have gotten.

    Just like the "Don't Stab Hoboes" badge.
  • by joerdie ( 816174 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:23PM (#16520905)
    allegiance to the flag of the communist MPAA.
  • Make sense (Score:5, Funny)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:24PM (#16520915) Homepage
    It makes sense since the Boy Scouts of America [wikipedia.org] shares its initials with the Business Software Alliance [wikipedia.org]
  • by LunaticTippy ( 872397 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:24PM (#16520917)
    Seriously, how big a threat are Boy Scouts to the content cartels? If they get the boy scouts on their side, who next? 80-year old fundamentalist grandmothers?

    They need to start something that'll get the cool kids. Like an anti-piracy gang. Complete with drugrunning and cap-bustin.
  • fair use (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:24PM (#16520921)
    I'm guessing that fair use won't be part of the learning experience.
    • by swillden ( 191260 ) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:41PM (#16521217) Homepage Journal

      The article isn't clear if this is a regular BSA badge or just something cooked up by the local council, but if it's official, I'm going to sign up to be a merit badge counselor (I'm already a counselor for a dozen other merit badges).

      My version will focus on understanding all of copyright law, including (especially) Fair Use, the Doctrine of First Sale and the historical and constitutional basis of copyright law.. I think I'll substitute the "Make a Public Service Announcement" for a 200-word essay on Why the Digital Consumer's Bill of Rights is a good idea".

      • by pyser ( 262789 ) * on Friday October 20, 2006 @05:19PM (#16521813)
        I think I'll substitute the "Make a Public Service Announcement" for a 200-word essay on Why the Digital Consumer's Bill of Rights is a good idea"

        Since you are already a MBC, you understand that you may not add to, delete or change the requirements. If the requirement were to say "Make a public service announcement", that's exactly what the candidate should do, not write an essay. How you go about it is between the MBC and the scout, but one requirement cannot be substituted for another unless it is specifically allowed.
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:24PM (#16520925) Homepage
    This reminds me of the children in 1984 who were trained to turn anyone who may have comitted a thought-crime.

    I realize the Boy Scouts like to try to teach morals and the like, but it doesn't sit well that the *AA's would be able to create a new merit badge and start indoctrinating them.

  • by justinbach ( 1002761 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:26PM (#16520953) Homepage
    Merit badges are typically awarded for the completion of a task (hiking, camping, good works, &c), not for passively NOT doing something. Is there a merit badge for not smoking? How about for not cheating on exams?
    These qualities are important, sure, but to dangle a badge as a carrot for not doing something wrong seems a like it's missing the point. Boy Scouts have a code and moral values (including those that would keep you from pirating software, smoking, and cheating) are implicit therein; further bribery, especially in the form of badges, seems unwarranted.
    • by pluther ( 647209 ) <pluther@usa.EEEnet minus threevowels> on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:38PM (#16521171) Homepage
      It isn't for not pirating, it's for actively opposing piracy:

      From TFA:

      Scouts will be instructed in the basics of copyright law and learn how to identify five types of copyrighted works and three ways copyrighted materials may be stolen.

      Scouts also must choose one activity from a list that includes visiting a movie studio to see how many people can be harmed by film piracy. They also can create public service announcements urging others not to steal movies or music.

      Some of this was also quoted in the summary. Now c'mon, we all sometimes respond without reading the article, but to skip the summary??

  • by Chairboy ( 88841 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:27PM (#16520961) Homepage
    Traditionally, haven't merit badges been tied to specific, measurable actions? Knots? Prove it by tying 'em. Fire? Prove it by burnination.

    A merit badge for _not pirating_ is like not-tea in the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.
  • Un-badge. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Wellington Grey ( 942717 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:27PM (#16520963) Homepage Journal
    Can I get a merit badge for not being a boy scout?

    -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
  • I'm an eagle scout (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:27PM (#16520971) Journal
    I think this is very inane.
  • Merit _Patch_? (Score:5, Informative)

    by gauauu ( 649169 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:28PM (#16520983)
    The article is a little short on details. In Boy Scouts, the official things you work towards are Merit Badges, which are determined by the National Boy Scouts of America organization. The L.A. council/district/whatever doesn't, as far as I know, have the authority to create a new Merit Badge.

    What this article makes it sound like is that it's just a patch. Anybody and their uncle can make up a patch and make up their own requirements for it. We had patches made for activities only our troop would do. It sounds like this is just one of those, which if so, is no reason for anyone to get worked up about it. Sure, they're trying to brainwash Scouts, but there's nothing official or magical about it.
    • by Chagatai ( 524580 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:41PM (#16521225) Homepage
      In the 1980s, I remember seeing in Boys Life magazine, the publication for Boy Scouts, that they were offering a "Donor Awareness" patch that would go on the chest pocket of the uniform, which is the spot usually reserved for various summer camp logos or other incidental merits. This patch required the scout having a conversation with his parents, and then sending in a form that said something along the lines of, "I have talked with Mommy and Daddy about who will get my kidneys when I die," plus shipping and handling. The badge looked pretty fruity [usscouts.org] overall, too. I imagine that this is what the "Anti-Piracy" patch would replace. Both merit badges and belt loops (remember those?) had sets of goals that had to be attained across several disciplines. This sounds like a one-step patch, and not a badge.

    • Re:Merit _Patch_? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Gadgetfreak ( 97865 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:51PM (#16521393)
      Bingo. I'm an Eagle Scout myself (yeah, there are plenty of us) and most people don't realize that there are all kinds of non-sanctioned "patches" that really mean almost nothing besides the fact that you participated in something.

      True merit badges are standardized. They're very much like elective courses in school... you can pick when you want to 'take' a merit badge, but everyone has a standard set of requirements to complete before you get the badge. You also have to take the badge from an authorized instructor. They're obviously not difficult, but some have some significant physical and time-intensive requirements to be done.

      They're like mini-classes for real life. If you have a kid in the 10-15 year old range, even with no interest in Scouting, I'd recommend the merit badge books as a good "quick study" intro course to something new.

      That being said, here is a list of merit badges [wikipedia.org] that are standardized, and the year they were introduced.

      Scouts on the local level have all kinds of extra meaningless crap. It's like getting the volunteer award at college. Cute, but doesn't count towards graduation.

  • Feedback (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wellington Grey ( 942717 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:31PM (#16521045) Homepage Journal
    Putting the fair use argument aside for a moment, who thinks it's a good idea to reward people for what they should be doing anyway. Should I expect to be rewarded because I didn't shoplift today or commit murder?

    -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
  • by digitalamish ( 449285 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:33PM (#16521087)
    We need to get a Pirate Badge ASAP. Given the choice is some kid going to want to "perform a market study of the impact of copyright infringement on the entertainment industry", or learn how to keelhaul properly?

  • by FrankDrebin ( 238464 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:33PM (#16521089) Homepage
    Perhaps they should also have a badge for not IM'ing your congressman.
  • by TheWoozle ( 984500 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:35PM (#16521137)
    How about they create a "Hollywood Accounting" Merit Badge? The scouts can pursue activities like Screwing People Out of Money and Establishing a Distribution Monopoly? Or the "Hollywood Agent" Merit Badge; they can learn about Being A Money-Grubbing, Bloodsucking Parasite?
  • ftfa (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wellington Grey ( 942717 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:38PM (#16521163) Homepage Journal
    The patch shows a film reel, a music CD and the international copyright symbol, a "C" enclosed in a circle. The movie industry has developed the curriculum.

    Shouldn't the boy scouts decide what their badges are? This is like McD's making the health curriculum for a school.

    -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
  • by computational super ( 740265 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:39PM (#16521185)

    I want to get one of those merit badges for my son, but they cost too much. Does anybody know somewhere I can download one from?

  • Right up there... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by posterlogo ( 943853 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:41PM (#16521231)
    ...with th de facto homophobia badge they're forced to wear.
  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:43PM (#16521255) Journal
    Scouts also must choose one activity from a list that includes visiting a movie studio to see how many people can be harmed by film piracy. So Billy the Boy Scout takes the tour of the movie studio. While he's there, he sees several groups of people. First it's carpenters, putting together a set.

    "Are THOSE the people hurt by piracy?"

    "Oh, no, Billy, the carpenters are paid whether the film sells or not. They aren't the ones hurt by piracy".

    Later they see some writers, smoking cigarettes and muttering under their breath. "Are those the people hurt by piracy"

    "Oh, no, Billy. It's kind of complicated, but we actually don't pay them no matter how well the movie does. It's called 'accounting'"

    Then they pass a group of actors. "How about them, are THEY hurt by piracy?"

    "Oh, no, Billy, they get paid even if the movie flops, no matter how many people pirate it. They're supposed to get extra if it does well, but, well, there's that 'accounting' again"

    Billy then points to a director, sitting in a chair. "Is HE the one hurt by piracy"

    "Well, you're getting a little closer. He's a little better at 'accounting'. But piracy really doesn't hurt him all that much either"

    "Then who IS seriously hurt by piracy?"

    "Well, Billy, it's not normally a part of the tour, but just for you, we'll make a special trip."

    So Billy and the tour guide go to the studio offices. Up, up they go to the very top floor. The guide takes Billy to a large office with a door. "Billy, if you stand right here and look through the door, do you see the man there"


    "That's one of the vice presidents of the studio. Thanks to piracy, he could only buy 3 Porsches last year instead of 5, and had to cut his cocaine habit in half. He can now only maintain one mistress, and she's in her LATE 20s. This studio alone has 30 executives, and they're all similarly suffering. And THAT'S who is hurt by piracy. NOW do you understand why you mustn't pirate movies?"

    "Loud and clear," said Billy, "Loud and clear". Billy then went home, told his parents he was quitting the Scouts, and asked if they could get a faster Internet connection

  • by Demon-Xanth ( 100910 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:44PM (#16521263)
    This is f'ing BS. They're making a merit badge for doing PR work for an industry that is completely incompetant at doing thier own PR work.

    It's bad enough that MS hijacked the acronym "BSA".
  • Me too (Score:5, Funny)

    by jimlintott ( 317783 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:48PM (#16521325) Homepage
    I have one of those badges.

    I downloaded it.
  • by billsoxs ( 637329 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:49PM (#16521349) Journal
    This is not standard BSA. FYI: BSA webpage is http://www.scouting.org./ [www.scouting.org] You will not find this 'merit badge' there. In fact, it does not seem to fit into what BSA is trying to do.

    Also for the comment about a merit badge for 'learning how to think'. That is really the whole point of scouting - to give young men the skills they need for adulthood, including thinking.

  • by NutMan ( 614868 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:51PM (#16521373)
    This article is inaccurate. A Council (local office) of the BSA cannot create their own Merit Badge. This is some local program to educate the Scouts, but whatever award they earn is not "official", and would not help them earn a rank advancement or anything like that.

    Here is a list [meritbadge.com] of the current Merit Badges, along with the requirements to earn each one.

    If you are so inclined, consider volunteering at your local Council as a "Merit Badge Counselor". If you have expertise in a particular area covered by a Merit Badge, you may be a counselor. A scout may not earn a badge unless a counselor verifies that the scout has completed all of the requirements. So if a scout cannot find a counselor for a particular badge, they have no way of earning it.

    For more information, see this training page [usscouts.org], this guide [usscouts.org] and the application form [scouting.org].
  • by jbarr ( 2233 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @04:59PM (#16521513) Homepage
    The Scout oath states (emphasis added)...

            On my honor I will do my best
    To do my duty to God and my country
            and to obey the Scout Law;
            To help other people at all times;
            To keep myself physically strong,
            mentally awake, and
    morally straight

    So does this not imply a scout's obedience to governing laws, including copyright laws? Isn't providing this kind of merit badge redundant by simply reinforcing what the scout already promises? As I recall, the merit badges I earned for my Eagle Scout rank were meant to be skill-related...
  • No agenda here (Score:4, Interesting)

    by causality ( 777677 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @05:01PM (#16521549)
    Yeah, there's no agenda here. Why, this is only being done to make each of them better, happier, and more productive citizens. As an Anonymous Coward said, this is a reiteration of Hitler Youth, much like the D.A.R.E. program.

    The D.A.R.E. program will never encourage children to consider whether it is just for a government of a "free country" to tell its citizens what they may or may not put into their own bodies (on the basis of regulating interstate trade, no less ... aren't those "implied powers" great?) -- if it were such an absurd thing to consider, then it could at least be mentioned and demonstrated as such. No, instead, D.A.R.E. is "taught" by armed, uniformed police officers instead of former drug addicts who have overcome an addiction and don't want someone else to go through the same ordeal, because former drug addicts would not be so interested in encouraging the children to help them police the parents and extended family. The basic idea here is that if your law requires police-state tactics to enforce, then your law is broken.

    Likewise, you can bet your ass that this program will never encourage children to evaluate for themselves whether the RIAA/MPAA are using the law to prop up an obsolete business model and whether or not these future voters should consider eliminating such corruption, which is what being a good citizen is all about. Rather, you can expect that this civil matter concerning arbitrary copyright and its infringement will be falsely elevated to the status of a moral question and will be taught in terms of right and wrong.

    In both situations the parents are reaping the rewards of ignoring their responsibility and depending on large organizations like the government education monopolists [cantrip.org] or the Boy Scouts to take care of the upbringing of their children. Not that it matters, really, since vast numbers of them love their children so much that they decided to allow themselves to become single parents and/or to allow their children to be born into poverty. I guess "free" education starts looking pretty good when you put no forethought into one of the most important decisions you can make.

    We badly need for a country that values independent thought, critical thinking, and minimal government to economically kick the asses of the rest of the world and demonstrate that these things are more than luxuries. Unfortunately I don't know of such a domain; a long time ago this was the USA, but oh how far we have fallen. Most of the rest of the world seems heavily invested in the groupthink bandwagon as well.
  • Eagle Scout (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CherniyVolk ( 513591 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @05:40PM (#16522111)

    I'm not an Eagle Scout; more by choice than anything. Years ago, I took a honest interest in scouting, but was very disappointed in the whole scheme. While some might assert that scouting isn't supposed to be a focus on survival skills, why else for all the survivalist training such as cooking without stove, camping with minimal supplies, hunting etc.? OK, so there are much better clubs to join that can better teach you how to eat dirt, weeds and to build a sheltor out of leaves and bark... but I was still rather annoyed at how little the Boy Scouts prepared a young adult for if they did get lost in the woods and had to get by a few days.

    Looking back on those days, I realize that the Boy Scouts is heavily capitalist, despite any hopes a young scout might have for actually learning something for outdoor life. I remember the joy of seeing the Boy Scout emblem on my new portable stove, knife, compas etc. It never really dawned on me till after the fact, the Boy Scouts were actually far more mainstream than what people might expect. For a real life comparison, they are like the Air Force with air conditioned, reinforced tents in "war" rather than the Marines left to cover up with whatever they might, their jackets, a rock... anything but no air conditioner. I also came to realize everything in the Scouts was geared towards making me think like a malible consumer. A consumer which even if he isn't "sold" by advertisement, will still buy whatever is in the advertisement. A consumer who thinks that name brand is everything (does it have the Boy Scout Emblem!?). The dangers in this, is also an intiment involvment with the authorities behind the hype, and I assert no organization, no company should be above either the People or the Government. It is often in Capitalist Nations that people tend to bag on the government and forgive the Company without considering the fact that all their horrors were becuase of the Company rather than the Government; America doesn't go to war becuase of public support, but becuase of entire industry wide consensus (A lot of private/public companies making money off of our campaign in the Gulf and that money is not going to expand Middle Class. This is fact.).

    Yeah, I learned how to pitch a tent, tie a few knots, and clean a wound. But, honestly, I could have figured that out along the way anyways... the depth of how much they teach in the Boy Scouts I believe is a hidden agenda as well. "You're too stupid to do much else, and trust Big Business and it's ability to make sure you won't ever have to decide which flower or weed you can eat. If you do end up in the woods, your car broke down and left you stranded becuase of Government regulations. In the meantime buy this handy Boy Scout Portable Stove, Boy Scout Portable Water Purification Kit and Boy Scout Compas to help tide you over till Big Business will rescue you."

    The Boy Scouts is really a political/economic condition course for a particular ideology. The fact is, most capitalists embracing nations have Youth Programs all, in some way, dubbed as "scouts". Communists, tend to go for "pioneers". They all expose simple survival aspects which more give an impression of the phenomenal attraction to "Tips'n'Tricks", while underneath the stage tricks and simple wood carving classes... there's a political, philosophical, economic lesson vehemently pushed and ingrained in the childs mind.

    Sure you get a letter from the President for making Eagle Scout. Those that are trying to push their message are often proud of their efforts; yes, it's worth something to put on your resume, there are benefits adding to real life incentive to encourage parents to toss their children into these programs.

    Bottom line. I didn't learn all that much while in the Boy Scouts. If you went against the grain you were punished for it. For example, most of the kids in my district ran around with State Fair, Stainless Steal, Rambo "Survival Knives"... it seemed the ONLY non-Boy Scout peace of gear authorized for use du
    • Re:Eagle Scout (Score:5, Informative)

      by Hahnsoo ( 976162 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @08:37PM (#16524207)
      With the Boy Scouts, as with many things, your mileage may vary. It is HIGHLY dependent on the people that you were with, both scouts and leaders. I learned how to live with just a tarp, a knife, and a rope in the wilderness. I had friends who shared my interests in computers, gaming, and various geeky activities. Individuality was encouraged, and we had scout leaders across the political spectrum from liberal to moderate to conservative. We were taught tolerance and the value of freedom. We played capture the flag (real life version, not Quake *grin*), dodgeball, and many games of Magic: the Gathering, Shadowrun, and Battletech. My younger brother learned how to make a campfire in the pouring rain with just 2 matches and some damp wood. I have nothing but fond memories of the time I spent in scouts. Like the parent poster, I was a Life Rank, had a bazillion Merit Badges, and was Assistant Scout Master (never made it into Order of the Arrow). Unlike the parent poster, though, the people who surrounded me were supportive, fun, and not tied to any propoganda or agenda.
  • by slightlytwisted ( 143937 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @05:47PM (#16522211)
    Consider the following questions which must be answered in order to earn your Computer merit badge, the requirements of which were updated in 2005:

    1. Why it is not permissible to accept a free copy of a copyrighted computer game or program from a friend
    2. The restrictions and limitations of downloading music from the Internet
    3. Why copyright laws exist
    http://www.usscouts.org/mb/mb036.html [usscouts.org]
  • Memories. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by An Onerous Coward ( 222037 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @06:29PM (#16522775) Homepage
    Back when Napster was still an interesting thing, my mom (a lifelong scouter) asked me where I'd gotten a bunch of oldies music. Here's how I remember the conversation:

    "It's called Napster. It's a place where you can download free music off the Internet."

    "Is it legal?"

    "Not really. They'll probably have it shut down in a month or two."

    "Well, hurry and get what you can."

    My mom is as honest a person as I know. I just don't see this merit badge winning a whole lot of hearts and minds.
  • by Etherwalk ( 681268 ) on Friday October 20, 2006 @11:50PM (#16525431)
    It's an activity patch or some-such, not an actual merit badge. The difference? It doesn't mean anything in terms of advancement, it's just a patch. Sure, some people will do it anyway, since it's easy. Some troops might run programs in it, either because it's a boy scout program that's relatively easy to put together and fun to do (A movie studio, remember?), or because they actually believe what it's teaching. But it's not a merit badge. It doesn't go on the merit badge sash (not that scouts wear those much,) and it doesn't count towards Eagle, or any other rank.

    The distinction may sound trivial on slashdot, but it's nontrivial within the organization. Even among merit badges, some are easy and some are hard. Some are more respected than others. An activity patch for knowing what copyright infringement is? It's not even going to register on the status board. Maybe some kids will get to see a movie studio, but that's okay.

    As to all the comments about Boy Scouts not being what it used to be--that's true, in some ways. A lot of things have changed, in Boy Scouts and in American culture. That's not all bad. Some is, and some isn't. The thing that influences the program most is the quality, not only of the youths who become leaders in the program, but of the adult volunteers that make it happen and show them how to lead. Two troops in the same town, with members of the same socioeconomic background, can be as different as night and day because they have different leaders. Don't sit on your rear and say what a bad program it is--fix it. A good troop can change the lives of a lot of boys, in a good way.

    Of course there are politics, and there have been major disagreements about what values the Boy Scouts should be instilling. They argue that there is a God--whatever name you may call him by--and that it is immoral to embrace a gay lifestyle. Every scout takes an oath to do his duty "to God and his country," and promises to keep himself "morally straight." Maybe you agree with the policies and maybe you don't, but as an organization, the Boy Scouts of America has the right to say "this is what we want to teach." They're not preaching hate--but they are saying that they believe some things are wrong. They don't ask you if you're gay, ever--but if you come out as gay, in some councils at least, you're out of the organization. They have their beliefs, and they stick to them. I don't like some of those beliefs, but I believe they have the right to stick to them.

    There are other organizations that are smaller, that are more inclusive, as an alternative. It's an imperfect world. Not everyone is tolerant. The Boy Scouts aren't tolerant of open gays, and a lot of others are intolerant towards the Boy Scouts because of that intolerance. Intolerance breeds intolerance. But we still each should have the right the choose what we believe is right, and what we believe is wrong. That the BSA does a lot of good doesn't absolve them of responsibility for their intolerance, but it does seem to increase the relative depth of the hypocracy of the BSA's critics.

    I remember talking with a friend of mine. We were part of a much larger group of college friends who had "camped" out in a cabin in the woods one night, singing late into the night whatever random songs we all knew and telling ghost stories (Sam McGee) and the like. And my friend was glad because of how much he enjoyed the experience and yet sad because he didn't expect he'd ever have one like it again. In part, I think, because he wasn't an overly woodsy type, but also because he was gay. Now most boy scouts can't sing half so well as that group (one or three of us excluded,) but still, much of the night was beautiful. It is a terrible crime that they should deny him that experience. There's no two ways about that. (One could move the agency if one wished; but at best it is shared.)

    But if we were intolerant of their intolerance... where does it end? It is possible for men of good conscience to disagree, ev

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling