Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of software pirates? The ferret knows!
Slashdot reports on a plan by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), a group dedicated to preventing the illegal use of software, to educate American schoolchildren about copyright by distributing comic books through Weekly Reader. The short comics will include their cartoon mascot, a 'copyright-crusading ferret,' who will be named in an online contest. And your tax dollars are paying for it.

The Cyber-Crime and Intellectual Property Theft Prevention and Education Project is a United States Department of Justice funded initiative to educate the public on cyber-crime and intellectual property theft. One of the key initiatives of this project is to develop educational tools designed to reach school-age children. The Business Software Alliance, in partnership with the Hamilton Fish Institute at the George Washington University, is the executor of the project.

The website for this campaign includes such gems as the 'Cyber-Ethics Champion Code [PDF]' and the exciting Shockwave game "Deep Freeze:"
Stop the pirates from freezing the city. Throw your ball into the pirates and their stolen software before they hit the ground.

So software pirates are evil, and it is reasonable to use violence to stop them. Alas, such 'copyright education' inanity is not contained to the States. A similar program, based on 'music education' has been unrolled in the United Kingdom.

In other Slashdot news, the Congressional Budget Office released a study on American copyright legislation, suggesting that current laws should not be revised in favor of either producers or consumers.