Captain Copyright Has Left The Building

Captain Copyright the Dark Years

Last year we told you about Captain Copyright, the cartoon character created to teach the children of Canada about the value of intellectual property and the dangers of piracy. While we support teaching children about the real world, Captain Copyright’s lesson plans seemed more like propaganda than fair and balanced representations of the complex issues surrounding copyright and intellectual property.

This morning we’ve learned that Captain Copyright has turned in his tights and cape. The Captain’s creators, a group called Access Copyright, have decided to pull the plug on the program. While today’s announcement was a surprise, it wasn’t entirely unexpected. Captain Copyright managed to make a lot of enemies in his short time as a crime fighter.

You may recall that the Captain was accused of being a pirate himself. Then there was the time the Canadian librarians turned on him. Seriously, what kind of a superhero pisses off librarians?

Late last Summer, Access Copyright pulled the Captain Copyright lesson plans from their website and posted a notice announcing that the whole program was under review. Apparently, quite a few educators had complaints about the material.

Then came this morning’s announcement, which read in part:

…we have come to the conclusion that the current climate around copyright issues will not allow a project like this one to be successful. It is difficult for organizations to reach agreement on copyright issues at this time and we know that, in the face of continuing opposition, the materials will not be used in the classroom.

At least they acknowledged that Copyright isn’t always a black-and-white issue. Although you have to wonder who these “organizations” they’re referring to are. The notice also indicates that the group had been working on the material covering Creative Commons and the Public Domain. Could their attempt to offer a more balanced view of Copyright issues raise the objections of participating media associations?

While this may be the end for the official Captain Copyright, we’ll always have Captain Copyright fan fiction.

Thanks to Boing Boing and Digital Copyright Canada for bringing this story to our attention.

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