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Merit Badge Worksheets


Best Answer CNYScouter , 25 May 2017 - 05:57 AM

BSA discourages use of unofficial merit badge worksheets

https://blog.scoutin...dge-worksheets/

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#41 Stosh

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 06:36 PM

With PDF format, it is more difficult to make changes to the material at the local level.  After all, if there are those out there putting copyright material on the internet illegally, they care capable of just about anything else.


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There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#42 qwazse

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 07:41 PM

With PDF format, it is more difficult to make changes to the material at the local level.  After all, if there are those out there putting copyright material on the internet illegally, they care capable of just about anything else.


Because, like, people aren't producing material ancillary to he MBPs already? And well-meaning scouters aren't recommending those to e boys instead of the MBPs?

If BSA makes the no-frills product available with an active registration (maybe via my scouting) for cents, not dollars, they might actually see an increase in revenue. Then we can provide better integrated service. The troop librarian could be informed of which MBs scouts are looking into, and make a plan to purchase hard-copies of the ones not already
There could be a "request a blue-card from my SM" button.
The SM could get a list of counselors nearest the boy's home or school.

Because other plajurists won't be able to provide those integrated services, the motivation for pirating is gone.
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#43 Back Pack

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 08:34 PM

Ever ripped a CD? Ever saved a DVD to your hard drive? Added music to a presentation? Saved a song as an AAC or MP3 file and shared with someone? Ever posted a mime of a movie or famous picture? Ever watched parts of a movie or tv show on YouTube? Ever created that custom ring tone from a favorite song? Ever made a mixed tape? Ever used a non BSA licensed company to make a troop tshirt or Neckerchief?

C'mon, there's not a person on this forum who hasn't violated copyright law. Can we please get off our high horse as if you've never done it?

Edited by Back Pack, 25 June 2017 - 08:37 PM.

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#44 Stosh

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 09:48 PM

Not knowingly..... with trying to live by the Scout Oath and Law (and 10 Commandments) the horse ain't all that high. 


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#45 Back Pack

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 07:25 AM

Not knowingly..... with trying to live by the Scout Oath and Law (and 10 Commandments) the horse ain't all that high.

Really? I'll bet that isn't true. Reuse of most things requires approval from the content owner. If you've ever copied a an original work, even a one page sheet, you've potentially violated the law. Who's to say they troop who posts MB pdfs are "aware" of the law?

Heck, my district reprints copyrighted stuff all the time and hide beyond the educational use concept, which may not apply. Others use music in videos and presentations on YouTube or elsewhere without written permission.

Like I said, ou can hide behind nonintential use, but so can others. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse...or justification.

Edited by Back Pack, 26 June 2017 - 07:27 AM.

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#46 qwazse

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 07:37 AM

Really? I'll bet that isn't true. Reuse of most things requires approval from the content owner. If you've ever copied a an original work, even a one page sheet, you've potentially violated the law. Who's to say they troop who posts MB pdfs are "aware" of the law?

Heck, my district reprints copyrighted stuff all the time and hide beyond the educational use concept, which may not apply. Others use music in videos and presentations on YouTube or elsewhere without written permission.

Like I said, ou can hide behind nonintential use, but so can others. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse...or justification.

 

BP, you're sounding like my older scouts who can't believe that I went through college happily without a lick of alcohol, a loss of virginity, or a drink of coffee (the latter had nothing to do with sanctimony, but rather ignorance of how God meant the stuff to be made).


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#47 CalicoPenn

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 08:32 AM

Ever ripped a CD?  Only those that I have purchased - copyright law allows a person who purchases a CD to create a copy for personal use, including making a digital copy.  Ripping a CD is not, in and of itself, a violation of copyright law - if I were then give the copy away, or share the digital files, or worse - sell them - then it would be a violation.  Ever saved a DVD to your hard drive?  Nope - why would I want to take up that much space on my hard drive - to watch a movie on a tiny screen?  If I want to watch a movie, I'm going to do so stretched out on the couch watching it on the big screen television.   Added music to a presentation?  Nope - couldn't even tell you how to do so.   Saved a song as an AAC or MP3 file and shared with someone?  Nope.   Ever posted a mime of a movie or famous picture?  Nope - but then again, I'm also not a user of social media (facetrash?  What is that??) Ever watched parts of a movie or tv show on YouTube?  You whatsis now?  Nope.   Ever created that custom ring tone from a favorite song?  I'm still exploring the wonderful world of the supplied ringtones - I wouldn't know how to create a ringtone.  I do have a smart phone but I'm still trying to figure out how smart a phone can be if it does just about everything except being able to make phone calls wherever I want.  Ever made a mixed tape? Not even when I was in high school in the way back days where in order to make a mix tape, you had to play the song on a tape recorder or record player while recording to a cassette recorder through a chintzy microphone connected to the cassette tape player/recorder.  Ever used a non BSA licensed company to make a troop tshirt or Neckerchief?  Why yes I have - BUT - we didn't use BSA imagery like the Fleur-de-Lis or depictions of rank badges or anything that the BSA licenses.  Using a non BSA licensed company isn't an issue unless you're using copyrighted imagery that the BSA owns - only then does it become a problem.

 

I have downloaded images from the internet though.  For instance, I recently downloaded a very nice sheet by the American Pork Board on cooking times for pork.  I've downloaded images of artwork, I've downloaded scholarly papers, I've downloaded pdfs from the BSA's own website.  I've downloaded them for my own use and have not shared the files with anyone else.  In general, this will fall under the fair use doctrine - though like Stosh, some of it may be inadvertent violations of the copyright law if the owner of the images meant to protect them (which is fairly easily done - if someone doesn't want something to be able to copied from the Internet, there are settings that will prevent one from copying those images - I copy some of the Google doodles for my own use and enjoyment - if Google didn't expect folks to copy them, they're certainly sophisticated enough to prevent it).

 

Now before I'm accused of riding a high horse, the truth of the matter is that I don't even think of copyright law all that often - I'm just enough of a luddite that I just don't even think of doing a lot of these things.


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#48 Col. Flagg

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 08:33 AM

BP, you're sounding like my older scouts who can't believe that I went through college happily without a lick of alcohol, a loss of virginity, or a drink of coffee (the latter had nothing to do with sanctimony, but rather ignorance of how God meant the stuff to be made).

 

I *think* what he means is that all of us have broken copyright laws knowing that re-using anyone's original material is likely wrong. Is that it BP?

 

Our unit has been guilty of that. The guys create videos and presentations all the time without getting written copyright permission. It is likely because they do it for school where it's (I believe) not a violation because it is being used for educational purposes. I suspect even then that's not 100% correct.

 

As for the use of the MB pamphlets online, maybe we are wrong for pointing Scouts to these assets. But the way it's justified is this: We own copies of all of these and the Scouts merely want an electronic copy, so we are not really depriving BSA of revenue from the sale of an additional MB pamphlet. I realize that's splitting hairs, but it is in essence the truth.

 

BSA has no incentive create for troops the concept of an electronic MB book library; it would simply eat in to their sales. This is why when they (BSA) released the interactive books they made them 1) so hard to access and share, 2) prohibited the sharing of those books electronically, and 3) prohibited troops from buying them and sharing the login/pw among their members.


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#49 Eagledad

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 08:59 AM

 

BSA has no incentive create for troops the concept of an electronic MB book library; it would simply eat in to their sales. This is why when they (BSA) released the interactive books they made them 1) so hard to access and share, 2) prohibited the sharing of those books electronically, and 3) prohibited troops from buying them and sharing the login/pw among their members.

We humans tend to think the worst of people and thus become a bit disparaging to sway our personal theory. And maybe you are right, the BSA simply wants to keep making money with paper copies. But, I worked with National on some ideas of improving their membership software, back in the day, and found that they were just barely hanging on the trailing edge of the technology of the day. We assume National has brilliant tech people with unlimited funding for and unlimited staff of brilliant tech people to advance the up and coming computer technology into our youth camping program. I found that wasn't the case. My guess is they just haven't figured out how to profit from online yet.

 

Barry


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#50 Col. Flagg

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 09:19 AM

We humans tend to think the worst of people and thus become a bit disparaging to sway our personal theory. And maybe you are right, the BSA simply wants to keep making money with paper copies. But, I worked with National on some ideas of improving their membership software, back in the day, and found that they were just barely hanging on the trailing edge of the technology of the day. We assume National has brilliant tech people with unlimited funding for and unlimited staff of brilliant tech people to advance the up and coming computer technology into our youth camping program. I found that wasn't the case. My guess is they just haven't figured out how to profit from online yet.
 
Barry

 
Barry, I know personally people who work in their IT department. This is not a question of in-house development. It's a matter of vision and business sense. It is also a matter of picking the right direction, which has already been an issue with the interactive MB books since they are no longer available. They whole concept is being reworked. I received this note a few months ago:
 

Boy Scouts of America
DIGITAL MERIT BADGE PAMPHLET UPDATE
Dear Interactive Digital Merit Badge customer, 

In BSA’s ongoing effort to provide dynamic digital delivery of program content, the organization is transitioning to a new platform. There will be downtime in delivering the Digital Interactive Merit Badge Pamphlets during the transition period. Once complete, the transition will lead to digital pamphlets that are more in line with our members’ expectations, and will provide a more engaging experience for the content users. Please bear with us during the transition time. The transition begins Friday, March 31, 2017. As of that date, access to the current digital pamphlets will no longer be available. A follow-up email will be sent to you with how to access your content on a temporary basis, as we work through the transition towards a new, more robust platform.

As an organization, the BSA is striving to provide best-in-class digital delivery of its program materials. Thank you for your patience as we take the next step down that path. An email will be sent to you with instructions as soon as a new platform is ready to deliver the digital merit badge content. Periodic updates will also be provided to keep you informed of the status. 

Thank you for understanding, and for your support of Scouting.

 
The MB books go through a process of creation, editing and publishing. The finished product (usually a Word, Quark or In-Design file) is there just ready to be imported in to ANY new electronic medium. BSA need note create their own, custom-built platform for publication delivery. Heck, PDFs and Epub has been around for YEARS...and they are quite easy to port to. It would be quite easy -- and little extra expense, if any -- to create and distribute a portable version of the MB books.

 

This is not a new issues organizations are struggling with. Heck, even cash-strapped non-profits I worked with in the 1990s figured out how to digitize their hard copy publications and distribute them to members. This is a 20 year old problem with MANY solutions. It does not take Steven Hawking to figure it out, but it does take someone who can manage a project with some business sense. I would hope BSA had a few of those people. 


Edited by Col. Flagg, 26 June 2017 - 09:22 AM.

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#51 qwazse

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 10:12 AM

Thanks for the memo, Flagg.

 

Business sense is a huge problem with these pamphlets' publication. Actually, I think it goes back to a flawed vision. Someone has this vision of lone scouts racing to knock off MB's as quickly as possible. Whereas we have a vision of scouts interacting with people in their troop/district to pick up skills and share resources. This misplaced vision causes the publishing arm to misplace value.

 

The value of an MBP is the text and a few drawings/images that engage the scout at his convenience.

 

A few years ago, someone thought they could add value to the pamphlets by producing colored covers. What does a kid care if the cover of a book is color or not? He's probably already picked the MB. He knows he needs the book. He's gonna get it. If it's B&W he's gonna get it for less and learn just the same.

 

Then the whole kindle thing? How many of your scouts have that device? How many of their parents let them take it to camp with them?

 

Home-grown videos? It takes a few seconds to look at a picture. How many scouts want to watch a five minute video to learn one requirement? Pay editors to select the best one? Tell the scouts to put it online. Count the thumbs "up" or "down". Endorse the best. Done.

 

You don't add value to the advancement method with window-dressing or video-watching. Save that for Boy's Life.

 

You add value by linking your product with other necessary services.


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#52 Eagledad

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 10:16 AM

 
Barry, I know personally people who work in their IT department. This is not a question of in-house development. It's a matter of vision and business sense. 

Exactly.


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#53 Col. Flagg

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 10:43 AM

You don't add value to the advancement method with window-dressing or video-watching. Save that for Boy's Life.

 

You add value by linking your product with other necessary services.

 

As part of our Digital Technology MB class we challenge the guys to come up with ways to apply technology to Scouting. Last fall we had a team come up with a great way to take the MB pdf files (only the copies we owned) and they created something pretty cool. I cannot say what it is because they are looking in to marketing the idea with other content.

 

Suffice to say it was easy, portable, cheap, re-used docs already compiled digitally, was searchable, printable and cost near to nothing to get on to the platform (which if you had a smartphone or computer you could access).

 

Best yet: It is designed by SCOUTS for Scouts. ;) Right now we just use it internally within the unit.


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#54 Stosh

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 11:04 AM

For the past 20 years I have been doing historical research and my 2800 page Word document is not copyrighted.  I have a copy and the local archives of the Public Library has a copy.  I have gleaned thousands of references (links) in the document for people to use in their personal and family genealogies.  Anyone coming in does not get any information from any other source other than what links to the internet or in cases where I have copied directly it is from resources prior to copyright laws and thus available for reproduction without permission.  I do not sell any of my work, but if an individual is researching a particular person I have in my research they can have the information for free.  If they wish to have it in printed format, they pay the per/page cost set by the library's use of their copy machine.

 

It would have been far easier to simply cut/paste the information, but a simple reference link works just as well and is within the boundaries of the law.  

 

I use free or paid subscriptions for any information I get off the internet and still I do not copy/paste.  The subscription is for me, not others that will read or want my materials.

 

I have an extensive Excel spreadsheet for use by scouters using the Patrol Method to keep track of advancement, activities, memberships, personal information, etc. because it was created prior to TroopMaster and other cost/subscription resources.  I have given copies to others but told them they will not receive tech support from me and they are on their own.  I'm not going into the business of selling software.

 

If I put that much energy and time into my work, only to have someone else take it and make money off of it, it is theft pure and simple.  I wouldn't appreciate anyone doing it to me, nor would I consider doing it to someone else.

 

Sure there might be times when unknowingly someone "breaks the rules".  They are few and far between.  Others have no qualms about taking something that doesn't belong to them.  They tend to be more the norm than the exception, but things are a bit different today than when I was getting the training as a young boy.  

 

They always say, "Nice guys finish last."  But then there's the whole notion that, "The last will be first and the first shall be last." in some circles.


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Stosh

 

There's a reason why I don't always answer the phone, doorbell or comments on forums.  :)


#55 Chadamus

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 12:41 PM

I'll freely admit I don't own the image to the left of these words. Scrolling back up thru this thread to look at profile pics tells me Back Pack speaks true. Many are guilty. Myself included.

As to the thread title, son's Troop use of MB worksheets is decided by each MBC. I personally don't require them, but I'm in the slight minority.
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#56 Col. Flagg

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 12:56 PM

I'll freely admit I don't own the image to the left of these words. Scrolling back up thru this thread to look at profile pics tells me Back Pack speaks true. Many are guilty. Myself included..

 

LOL...I was just about to point that out.

 

@Stosh, your avatar is copyrighted Norman Rockwell painting. Unless you have his permission, or that of BSA, it's an infringement, ne pas? ;)


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#57 CalicoPenn

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 02:02 PM

The BSA does not hold the copyright to the picture in Stosh's avatar - it's held by the estate of Norman Rockwell. 


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#58 DuctTape

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 04:22 PM

Unless the Norman Rockwell work pre-dated 1923 in which case it would fall under public domain.


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#59 John-in-KC

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Posted 29 June 2017 - 06:34 PM

Oh, sweet mercy...

Do your sons and daughters like the homework sheets they bring home from school? I think not

Why in the name of all that's good do you want them to use homework sheets for their merit badges in Scouting?

Get off your fourth points of contact, Counselors and mentor the youth.
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