Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1996


Oregon Law Review





First Page


Last Page



As an overture to this Comment, I'd like to begin with one of my favorite passages from the recent National Information Infrastructure (NII)Task Force Working Group Report on Intellectual Property and the NII-the so-called White Paper.' The passage is not one of the deceptively bland legislative proposals-nor one of the strategic half-truths in the purported summary of current copyright law. Rather, it is a passage from the section on copyright awareness, and it is an excellent example of a good idea gone wrong. The good idea is that our elementary and secondary schools could take a role in preparing students for electronic citizenship, by, among other things, generating discussion of issues associated with intellectual property ownership. Unfortunately, the working out of this idea in the White Paper smacks more of a program of mind control than one of genuine education. High schoolers, we are told, should be taught to "just say yes" to licensing.' The message for teaching the primary grades is similar. The White Paper notes that "basic concepts of intellectual property . . . are easily taught at a young age. More complicated topics ... would likely be reserved for later study. However, complexity of the subject matter alone is not the only consideration."



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