copyright video screen grab

At the recent Music Publishers Association meeting held in New York City where I, speaking as the founder and president of AMP, was a member of a panel on music advocacy, I was also fortunate to hear from other presenters throughout the day. One session in particular caught my attention and thought it would be valuable to share with parents and educators alike. In our music education profession we hear of the violations that occur far too often with respect to copyright laws. The National Music Council (NMC) and the Music Publishers Association of the United States (MPA) recently announced the release of a new, innovative education tool for primary school students designed to teach respect and admiration for creators, inventors and their works. This animated short video is a part of the project along with the accompanying lesson plan which has been made available on the AMP site in addition to the website.

Developed by NMC Executive Director and Montclair State University Professor, Dr. David Sanders, entertainment attorney and Songwriters Guild of America counsel Charles J. Sanders, and award winning animation artist Bevin Carnes, the program was created to teach young students of the consequences of disrespecting the rights of creators, and how such activity –such as appropriating the work of others without permission– negatively impacts upon creators and stifles creativity in general.

“This project is part of a world-wide effort by creators to foster an understanding that the online protection of creative work enhances freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas, rather than encroaching on them.” said Dr. David Sanders in announcing the curriculum.

According to Bevin Carnes and Charles Sanders, however, the approach has to be a gentle one. “You can’t hit kids over the head with morality plays,” stated Carnes. “You just show them through a medium they understand and love, animation, that actions have consequences, and ask them to draw their own conclusions.” According to Charles Sanders, inspiration for the more subtle approach was drawn from the famous anti-litter campaign of the 1970’s, in which the tear on the cheek of a Native American over the mindless disrespect of litterers for natural beauty spoke volumes.

Sanders added that the curriculum also instructs educators on the finer points of teaching concepts such as copyright and free expression to older students who may view the two as antithetical to one another.

The project was underwritten by the Music Publishers Association. AMP encourages all of our parents and educators to become familiar with this easy tool and begin to share it with our students of all ages.