Adam Brault sez: “Sixteen year-old Steve Geluso was failed by his English teacher for choosing to distinguish piracy from stealing in an essay.
“Geluso, an ‘A’ student, recently completed an in-class exit exam for his Language Arts class. The goal of the exit exam was to write a comparative essay on a topic of the student’s choice. Being a student who enjoys a challenge, he wrote an essay contrasting piracy with stealing.
“His teacher failed him, saying there was no difference between the two and that he was “splitting hairs”. Other teachers who read his essay said that he did well from an organizational and technical standpoint, but because his teacher felt that there was no difference between piracy and stealing, she gave him an ‘F’ because she disapproved of the content of his essay.
“Check out his several comments regarding this event on his low-fi weblog at steve.mathcaddy.com… Steve’s scanned-in paper is available Here (Note the “Continue to Page 2″ link at the bottom of the page.)”
UPDATE: Mike Harris has an HTML version of the essay. He sez: “I transcribed it with errors and cross-outs, along with his teachers’ commentary. Useful for those who don’t want to go through nine large scanned images to read his essay.” Link
…excerpt from: ht
This isn’t a particularly good essay. It has a number of problems with punctuation, grammar, and logic. That equation shit is just convoluted and silly and his arguments are contrived. There are a few good points, but they don’t really support his argument.
I probably would have passed this paper with all the same arguments and comments that the teacher made…but I’m not sure that is actually the best thing to do. In fact I suspect passing this paper based on effort and creativity is a little over-indulgent for a student that can most likely write a much higher caliber paper than this.
My take was that the teacher made a fairly subjective decision, applying the traditional definition of piracy, in order to justify the failing grade. Another take is that the teacher has bought the party line, re: piracy, fed to all by the RIAA, without further thought.
The recording industry has consistently failed to either take into account or conveniently neglects to mention one important fact:
– If someone obtains a digital pirated copy of some music and would not have otherwise purchased it anyway, they are not taking money from any one, except the cost of bandwidth which would be used even if they’d obtained a non-pirated digital copy (say from iTunes).
Aside from all that, though, the RIAA is just scared of new technology because they don’t understand how to take undue advantage of it. Same thing happened when VCRs came out (with the MPAA).
As for the essay, I thought it rather sucked for the reasons you enumerated. I thought, “Crap like this gets anyone an ‘A’, in high-school?” Not that I was or am an excellent writer, but at 16 I could at least get ‘I-before-E’ (he consistently misspelled ‘thieves’ as ‘theives’).