Children as young as four should be taught the importance of intellectual-property rights, one of Britain's leading cinema composers believes.
David Arnold, who composed the score for three James Bond films and blockbusters including Independence Day and Godzilla, said pupils should be told about the importance of paying for music downloaded from the internet as soon as they are given access to a computer.
"Copyright is an adult concept. But there are computers in nurseries and reception classes," he said. "Just as you say, it's wrong to steal sweets from a shop, you should say, it's wrong to steal music from the internet."
Mr Arnold was speaking to The TES during a half-day seminar on copyright education this week, organised jointly by the Department for Education and Skills and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
His call for lessons in copyright followed the launch of the Government's music manifesto this month. The manifesto pledged to provide young people with opportunities "to create their own material, complemented by effective copyright education".
At a session attended by Estelle Morris, the arts minister, education and music-industry professionals expressed concern that children were increasingly downloading illegally copied material from the internet.
Alistair Hunter, chairman of British Music Rights composers' organisation, said: "All kinds of creative material can be conveyed through cyberspace: music, films, writing.
"Children need to understand that people spent large parts of their lives and resources creating that material."
Twelve schools have piloted lessons in copyright as part of a government project. Ray Wilkinson, head of performing arts at St Edmund's comprehensive in Dover, said the lessons have been effective.
"We get pupils to draw a picture or write poetry. Then they pass it to the person next to them, and that person plays about with it. They all had a sense that their work had been abused. Until then, they hadn't realised how precious it really was," he said.