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Confusion about copyright no excuse as new resource promises to tackle piracy

By Georgina Hignett

Students will tell you they don't really understand copyright and intellectual property. This justifies, they believe, their indiscriminate downloading of digital entertainment. 

How real this confusion actually is for students is debatable, but whether they know they are acting illegally or not, the prevalence of illegal downloading clearly means that students need to brush up on both the impact and the legality of copyright and intellectual property. If they knew the full facts, it's unlikely they would be doing it. 

Fortunately, a copyright-focused free teaching resource created by UK-wide film learning programme Into Film and the Industry Trust for IP Awareness, has been created to get the message across.

Creating movie magic encourages young people to use design and technology skills to explore the importance of IP and copyright and helps them to take positive and legal decisions when accessing and watching films.

“Copyright is becoming an increasingly debated topic, ” says Katy Carter, senior marketing manager at the Industry Trust. “The digital content viewed [by students] isn't always from authorised sources and is often without the permission of those who created the content. This means those creators aren't being rewarded for their hard work or the risks they took to create the content.”

That last point is an important one. The resource does not just detail the legality of copyright and intellectual property, but also explains the impact of illegal downloads. 

“Educating future generations of consumers increases their appreciation of the value of content they enjoy and plays a vital role in securing the future of entertainment, maybe even their own careers in film or television,” says Carter.

And a job in these sectors is not unlikely. According to research from the UK government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the UK’s creative industries are outperforming all other sectors of the UK economy, increasing employment to 1.68 million jobs, accounting for 5.6 per cent of all UK jobs.

It is hoped that the resource pack will help students into this industry, as well as teaching them about copyright.

Jane Fletcher, director of education at Into Film, adds: “By bringing the magic of film into the classroom, exploring the basics of special effects and taking part in these exercises through creating their own movie moments, the resource creates a space for discussion and awareness for students.”

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