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Teachers: Citizenship: Business

Last Updated: Tuesday November 09 2004 15:52 GMT


Citizenship 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Business and its changing nature


Copyright symbol
Hollywood film studios are launching a campaign to stop people downloading movies illegally from the internet.

Students discuss the issues of intellectual copyright.

Learning aims

  • The power of big business
  • What can be done to copyright ideas


    Ask students to look for the copyright symbol (see picture) in the classroom. Look on books, clothes etc. How many can they find?

    Ask students:

  • What does the symbol stand for?
  • What is copyright? Copyright laws are designed to protect people from having their work unfairly copied or ripped off.
  • What is piracy? Breaking copyright laws i.e. copying someones's work unfairly or ripping it off.

    Read the story and our interview:

    Pay particular attention to the final question What does it feel like knowing people will be using your inventions?

    Warm up

    Ask the class to predict what the outcome of our online vote Would you buy dodgy DVDs? will be.

    Click on the vote button to see the results.

    Are the class surprised by the percentages?

    Intellectual property

    Ask the class:

  • Has anyone ever copied their work or idea?
  • How did it feel?
  • Who owns a letter once it has been sent? Prompt: The ownership of the letter, as opposed to the words, is with the person it was sent to. The words in the letters, however, remain the "property" of the author.
  • Who benefits from copying ideas?
    Prompt: In the short term, people can make gains from letting someone else do all the hard work for them.
  • Will people stop inventing things if there is less money in it? Prompt: If you create to express yourself you will carry on, it will be harder to make a living.

    Main activity

    Ask students to read the comments on pirate-proof DVDs made by children logging onto the Newsround website.

    Divide the class into small groups and get them to rank the comments in order of how much they agree with them.

    They could cut out each comment so that they can move them around more easily and then stick them on a sheet of labelled A3 paper.

    Extension activity

    Students could devise their own methods for reducing intellectual copyright theft, e.g:

  • Stronger penalties for pirates
  • Better law enforcement
  • More stringent and accurate records of works
  • Educate the public about how to safeguard their ideas


    Recap on the main teaching points and allow students to present the views they most and least agree with.

    Turn this into an assembly

  • Ask volunteers to present arguments for and against intellectual copyright.
  • Ask for comments in response to the introductory questions.

    Teachers' Background

  • Potter fans in Germany were so keen on reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that they didn't wait for the translation, they did it themselves.

    That got them in trouble with the people publishing the German version of the book, who ordered them to stop.

  • In 1662, the Licensing Act began a register of books where an official copy of each was kept for copyright protection.

  • The current legislation Part 1 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 came into being from 1st August 1989.

  • Last year, one in three CDs sold worldwide were pirate copies.

  • A Lincoln man who dressed up as Noddy and drove around the city to raise funds for charity was been told to stop - by the owners of the trademark in July 2003.

  • Pictures of the Queen wearing a gas mask on a postage stamp which were on display in an art gallery in Brighton caused a row over copyright with the Royal Mail in June 2003.

  • Filmstars are being encouraged to patent their own DNA to stop anyone stealing their identity to make a clone by the DNA Copyright Institute.

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