October 22, 2001

Disney Channel cartoon portrays music downloads as evil

Author: JT Smith

- by Tina Gasperson -

The Disney Channel cartoon series The Proud Family (Flash plugin helpful), aired an episode on Oct. 5 entitled EZ Jackster. In the storyline, EZ Jackster is a Napster-like site, and the show's little heroines get addicted to the service and play a part in the downfall of the music industry. Disney is one of the backers of the SSSCA proposed legislation that is scheduled for a hearing before Congress Oct. 25.The TV summary site, TV Tome, shows this synopsis of the episode in question:

"After Penny spends $125 on CDs with her five-cent salary, she meets a boy, Mega, who tells her about a napster-like website he made called EZ Jackster. All
weekend she was sitting at the computer, downloading music from EZ Jackster. Finally, Dijonay comes over and asks what she was doing over the weekend.
Penny asks Dijonay if she can keep a secret, knowing that she can't. Penny tells Dijonay to tell everyone she knows about EZ Jackster. Her telling everybody about
EZ Jackster has a ripple-effect all around the world. From India to Africa to Suga Mama! But rap singer, Sir Paid-A-Lot is threatened by this because he got a
five-cents salary instead of his million-dollar salary. But suddenly, after wrestling, the news interrupted the next program telling about EZ Jackster. It shows a house
of where the EZ Jackster-spreader lives. Oscar comments how ugly the house is, not realizing it was their house. Trudy is mad at Penny for stealing music so she
takes away her computer. Later, Penny gets a call from Mega, asking if she is still using EZ Jackster. Will Penny listen to her parents?"

A post forwarded to the Linux-Elitists mailing list from one of the show's viewers gave the rest of the details about the decidedly pro-SSSCA plot:

1. Girl working at her antiquated computer her dad gave her in
her
room.

2. Mystery guy (cool hip hop looking dude in black) shows up at
her
window and supplies her with an up to date computer, takes her
into
"the Matrix and shows her a web area called Free Jackster where
she
can get all the music she could ever want FOR FREE,

3. The girl asks if this is illegal and mystery guy explains it
is
our birthright to have free music, creativity should not have a
price

4. Girl gets addicted to collecting free music, her obsession
leads
to telling all her friends. soon the site is getting millions of
hits
from kids to grandmothers.

5. Next scene at the The Wizard Record Label board room where
"Sir
Paid Alot" enters to complain his royalty check was only five
cents.
This alerts The Wizard (head of the label) that there is a retail
problem he needs to look into.

6. Teen Girl's house is surrounded that night by police and
press
and she is arrested for illegal downloads, gets a warning,. The
news
makes it clear that millions of people can't be stopped, Parents
take
computer away from girl and explain why free downloads is
STEALING -- kind of an abirdged explanation of how copyrights work.

7. Next scene, Asian Guy's retail record store is empty, guy is
crying on the floor. Teen Girl who happens to work at the store
show
up to work, Asian guy fires her for supporting all the free
downloads

8. Next scene charts showing record sales are down down down to
nothing because people get the music for free

9. Mystery guy shows up at teen girl's window again to try and
convince her to go back to downloading but she says NO

10. Guy: "You still downloading?" Teen Girl: "Downloading is
stealin'." Mr. Guy from Free Jackster: "I know you are afraid I am
trying to show you a world without rules." Teen girl says, "No, its
wrong."

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