ASCAP and i-SAFE, a nonprofit foundation that teaches kids about Internet safety, are launching an anti-piracy educational program this month. One of the first stops for ASCAP's "Donny the Downloader" character will be at St. Raymond School in Bronx, N.Y., tomorrow (March 21).

i-SAFE estimates that the program will reach about 2.2 million kids nationwide this year. At school assemblies hosted by the foundation, the i-SAFE team will work alongside teachers and student participants in the program, which includes video segments, instruction and skits.

Donny the Downloader is a character developed by ASCAP. He's a 14-year-old
who loves music. Phil Crosland, ASCAP's executive VP and chief marketing officer, describes Donny as a "loser or poser to other kids, but he tries to impress everyone with his access to music without taking the trouble to pay
for it. With each misadventure, Donny painfully discovers yet another unexpected person he's hurt with his illegal downloading."

The program includes Donny in animated video shorts and other material. There is also a live action video segment that follows a girl of high school age, who is an aspiring singer/songwriter, as she travels to Los Angeles and meets established singer/songwriters, a producer and a music publisher. The segments bring the people behind the music to life for the audience, showing all the concerns they have about the future working as a creative person if illegal downloading persists.

ASCAP began conducting studies in 2004 to determine if certain types of communication would change college students' behavior in connection with
illegal downloading of music. The following year, ASCAP tested students' reactions to an advertising campaign at the University of Wisconsin. The
concept was, "When You Illegally Download, You Hurt More People Than You
Think." ASCAP learned that nearly all respondents thought they were only
hurting big record labels and wealthy artists when they illegally
downloaded.

ASCAP then created Donny the Downloader to teach younger kids, especially
those in junior high school, about who illegal downloading really hurts. The
performing rights organization has spent about $200,000 so far to set up
this educational program, sealing a partnership with i-SAFE last November.

The ASCAP/i-SAFE program was tested at several schools in various geographic
regions in February. A survey of 200 students who participated indicated that after participating in the program, the students were 60% more likely to legally download music, 66% more likely to use legal online stores for downloading music, 67% less likely to make illegal copies of music for friends in the future, and 73% less likely to accept illegally downloaded music from friends.

i-SAFE will also provide "The Donny the Downloader Experience" as an educational package for schools. A principal can plan an assembly for large groups or an individual teacher can prepare a version appropriate for any classroom lesson plan.