Toddler criminals

Lessig had a common line in many IP talks about making criminals of our children. At the time, because of my normative practices (I started to post this under piracy), I identified as one of those “children”. Napster came about when I was in high school, so it made sense that what my age group considered normal use of tech was seen as criminal by the powers that be.

Now I have a three year-old, and the other day we are sitting couch looking at a Richard Scarry book. And of course e has a tiny digital camera, and of course e photographs things that interest em. And so this photo (one of many) was created: (I am not high enough level to embed photos! ^_^)

As soon as I saw it render that line came back to me, and it really drove home that my peers and I weren’t just rebelling or trying to get something for free. We had evolved from pure consumers to peer producers. And it is happening at even a younger age, due to the ubiquity of mobile devices hitting low price points.

This is a narrative that I will revisit as time goes on, and I think it is a good thread that can resonate with other parents. Just by letting our children interact with technology, we are training them to break the law. How long can we protect them (or our families, in the case of minors “provoking” charges and fines against adult caregivers)? And I suspect that it plays into equality, as well, since universal access to technology won’t cause universal access to the privilege of not being prosecuted.

Anyhow, bonus image:


IP makes criminals out of everyone but focusing on children is good marketing…

Speaking of which, another (cf open as rehab for pirates) potential piracy-message related provocation (I’m just going to move topic to that category, in the interest of making categories have content) would be some kind of media urging parents to give their children only free-as-in-freedom materials lest they put their children on a path to a life of crime. Ridiculous filtering a child’s world in that way? Yes, IP is ridiculous.

As you know, I am interested in inexpensive computing devices, for the cause of universal knowledge access. Something that came to mind in the Kano project is that they bundle Minecraft in the software, which is a brilliant idea, because Minecraft is fun and educational (I learned to make a logic gate on accident, in order to create a door that closes itself), but it raises questions about portability of production artifacts.

CRPG players have dealt with this before, where the question of who owns the expression of their characters, them or the game operators/creators.

I can’t honestly say how interesting that is to a parent, I am too far into it to have an unbiased opinion, but I can easily see one of those dumb opening videos, “you wouldn’t steal a car…”, showing a little kid playing with a tablet, and warning about how you shouldn’t let them operate it in any capacity. :slight_smile:

Agreed. Basically everyone who learns to create first learns by copying–tracing and then freeform copying others’ drawings, making recordings of yourself singing/playing along with recorded music and next performing someone else’s compositions, etc.; we just have more tools for both creating and for making those creations public by default now. (Lost to the mists of time are dozens of infringing cassette tapes that my grade-schooler self would in this era have recorded on a phone and then uploaded to soundcloud or something.)

1 Like