PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS, MOVIES, OR MUSIC?
Critical Analysis and Persuasive Role Play
By Lisa Greeves , English
and Journalism teacher
As the entertainment industry begins taking more drastic steps to curb the downloading
of musical and entertainment works from the Internet, the issues involved in this
new form of copyright violation become more complicated and the ethical implications
begin to affect other areas of everyday life. Explore with your students in more
depth the different sides of this controversial situation and the ethical implications
for society as a whole, and assign students to practice persuasive presentations
to illustrate different points-of-view
This lesson will take 2-3 class periods, but can easily be divided up into segments.
Steps 1, 2, and 3 can be done in Class #1. Step 4 can be done during Class #2
and completed for homework; you can add additional research time in if you need
it. Step 5 can be done in Class #3. Step #6 can be done for homework.
to National Standards
- the exclusive right to the publication, production, or sale of the rights to
a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work, or to the use of a commercial
print or label, granted by law for a specified period of time to an author, composer,
artist, distributor, etc.
students write in their notebooks for five minutes responding to the following
When was the last time you downloaded music? Do you
feel it is OK or not to download music or other entertainment files from the Internet?
Why or why not?
When they finish, encourage a few students to
share their opinions and experiences with the class.
students read copies of Handout #1 (Newshour
Extra article) and Handout #2,
NewsHour transcript "Copyright Angst"/ PDF
review the content of the article, brainstorm on the board together the different
sides of this copyright violation argument. Students may need to reread passages
from "Copyright Angst" to glean some of the different perspectives.
Some perspectives that students should hone in on include:
-the private citizen's perspective
-the recording artist or
-this entertainment industry's perspective
Your students may be able to come up with
other sides to this situation that aren't covered in the articles. List those
on the board also. Draw different boxes on the board for each perspective, label
each, and write out a summary of that perspective.
tell students that they are going to adopt one of these perspectives as their
own, research that perspective in more depth, and develop a persuasive presentation
that captures the essence of that perspective. Students will work in small groups
and adopt a certain viewpoint in this debate on downloading, participate in a
group research assignment, present their findings to the class, and attempt to
persuade their peers to subscribe to their assigned point-of-view regarding the
downloading of entertainment files. Students will hold on to their original statements
of opinions about this situation, and after researching in more depth and listening
to other group's points-of-view, they will revisit their own original stand and
see if and how it has changed.
Divide students into five groups and
assign each group a title from the following list:
A group of musicians who are against downloading music files; students may conduct
research and play the part of actual musicians who share this view;
Musicians--Pro: A group of musicians who support being able to download music
files; students may conduct research and play the part of actual musicians who
share this view;
C. Executives: A group of music and entertainment
D. Parents: A group of parents from your
state who earn average salaries and are raising teenagers.
Attorneys--Pro: A group of attorneys who are defending several teenagers recently
charged with illegally downloading music files.
Each group will research
as much information as they can find about this particular category of people
to find facts that would pertain to that category's stand on downloading entertainment
files. Encourage each group to find facts and figures to support their stand.
For instance, students assigned to the "Parents" group could research
the average salary in your area, average expenses per family, average amount of
money they are able to devote to each child, etc. All groups should be expected
to grapple with the issues of stealing, repercussions for one's actions, greed,
money, and honesty in some fashion.
Provide students with access to the
Internet, business magazines, or newspapers to aid in their research and posterboard
or newsprint and markers for their illustrations. Each group will illustrate their
findings in a chart or visual and give a presentation explaining their group's
point of view as it applies to digital copyright violation. Encourage students
to be creative in their presentations, even humorous if appropriate, but emphasize
that their information and persuasive tactics must be factually informed. Groups
should provide you with a bibliography of all sources used.
want to reserve research time for your students in the school library and allow
students a class period or two of research time to work on their presentations.
Allow each group to present their stand, support, and findings to the class. Encourage
students to question their peers on their stands and support. Remind students
that they are trying to persuade their peers to subscribe to their point of view.
all presentations have been completed, assign students to write a two-page reaction
to the group presentations and to explain which mode of thought they subscribe
to now after hearing more facts and figures and different perspectives. Students
should also write about what kind of solution they would propose to this problem
of illegal downloading. How would their solution work? When the responses are
turned in, take a poll to see how many students ended up changing their original
NCSS Standards: Culture; Science, Technology, and Society;
and Civic Ideals and Practices
Author Lisa Greeves has taught high school English and
Journalism classes for two Virginia school systems: Fairfax County Public Schools
and Rockbridge County Schools. She has a bachelor's degree in English and Communication
from James Madison University and a Master's Degree in English from Virginia Commonwealth
University. She recently had a chapter published in the 2002 NCTE publication
Applying NCTE/IRA Standards in Classroom Journalism Projects.
find out more about opportunities to contribute to this site, contact Leah Clapman at firstname.lastname@example.org.