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Nigeria Takes on Piracy with Education. Better than McGruff the Crime Dog?

Here’s an idea we wouldn’t mind seeing spread: Nigeria is starting a program to teach secondary school students the importance of respecting copyright.

The Guardian Nigeria reports that the Nigerian Copyright Commission will send staff to schools talk about the issue. The program launched with a one-day “copyright sensitization workshop” for over 300 students.

Speaking at the event, Director-General, NCC, Afam Ezekude, who noted that one of the cardinal goals of the commission is to disseminate copyright knowledge, adding that the commission wants to take its campaign against piracy to the grassroots by engaging students at early stage to enable them know the importance of copyright and how to respect other people’s intellectual property.

NCC, he stated, would launch a Copyright Virtue Club, an internet club warehousing general information for children on copyright issues and great authors.

In a lesson that students everywhere could use, an NCC official also urged the students to resist the temptations of plagiarism, calling it a form of piracy.

The school initiative is part of Nigeria’s larger effort to crack down on piracy with tougher penalties and stepped up enforcement. While Nigeria clearly recognizes a need to improve copyright protection, it is apparently already doing a better job than many nations. It did not make the U.S. government’s latest list of worst offenders of intellectual property rights (its neighbor to the north, Algeria, did).

Here in the U.S., McGruff the Crime Dog’s on the case, delivering the cheery message that “it’s easy to stay on the straight and narrow.” For those dozen or so kids eager to stay on the straight and narrow, McGruff provides a list of 10 “don’ts” and other fun suggestions:

It’s easy to stay on the straight and narrow.

• When you buy a tune on the Internet and download it, make sure you don’t send a copy to a friend or someone who might sell it to others.• If you get a tune from someone, don’t re-send it to others.

• Don’t make copies of DVDs and give them out to your friends and relatives—even as gifts.

• Don’t instant message a tune.

• Don’t download products from file-sharing services if you’re not entitled to them.

• Don’t pay a fee to join a file-sharing service that you know isn’t authorized to provide the goods it’s distributing. They may allow you to download all the tunes or movies you want, but it’s against the law.

• Don’t burn CDs or DVDs.

• If shopping online, beware of sites that aren’t familiar to you—and that are selling expensive products at prices that are way too good.

• Examine the wrappings of the tunes and other products you buy offline and make sure they look “original” and are of the usual quality for the product.

• Look for the brand insignia of the manufacturer on the product and make sure it looks they way it’s supposed to.

• Don’t buy CDs or DVDs from street vendors. Their products are often counterfeited.

• Ask street vendors or discount stores that sell CDs and DVDs at bargain prices where they got the products and how they can sell them for such steeply discounted prices.

• If your city or state has a sales tax, be suspicious when you buy something and no tax is collected.

• Don’t use an illicit cable decoder or satellite descrambler to watch movies and programs you haven’t paid for. Don’t buy the decoder or descrambler to begin with.

• Don’t record a live public performance when you don’t have permission. Most public performances prohibit the use of video equipment, cameras, and other recording devices. You may be depriving the artist and those who depend on the artist from income.

• Remember that if the price is too good to be true, it probably is. The product offered at a bargain price is probably illegal.

 We’re betting the kids aren’t sharing this list much on social media.