Respect for IP: Teaching the value of creativity

05 Jul 2016 BY Lauren Rooney

5 mins
Respect for IP
Respect for IP

This year's World Intellectual Property Day - a yearly celebration of IP's role in stimulating innovation and creativity - falls on 26 April. But what exactly is IP and why do young people need to know about it? What are the consequences of downloading films illegally? Should things that are online be free? 

In our ever more digital and connected world it is increasingly important for young people - many of whom may have future careers in the creative industries themselves - to consider these questions and understand that artists must be properly paid for their work in order to continue creating.

Nowadays we have an incredible amount of information at our fingertips. The availability of access to entertainment, film, music, games, books and TV is as easy as a click of a button through the likes of televisions, tablets, smart phones, laptops and games consoles. But unfortunately it's not always as easy from legal sources. It's here where the importance of film education, encouraging debate about the value of creativity, and teaching young people to understand and value copyright in ways they can relate to, becomes essential.

With unauthorised free content being a big temptation for young people who are yet to make their own income, it's key we tackle this head on, and the foundation for this is in the classroom. Film education can play a pivotal role in educating future generations of consumers, helping young people understand the right way to use copyright material, as the value of content they enjoy plays a vital role in securing the future of entertainment, and maybe even their own careers in film or television. Copyright is what the UK's creative industry is made up of and underpins future career opportunities available to young British talent, so the importance of educating future generations is imperative.

Encouraging pupils to become creators themselves, to explore the many roles involved in making a film, or holding discussions or debates around issues such as film piracy and illegal downloading are good ways to get these important messages across. Ensuring they know about legitimate ways to access content such as is another step in the right direction.

At the Industry Trust for IP Awareness, we reach teenagers through our Facebook community, ScreenThing. The page is 50,000+ members strong and celebrates the hard work that goes into making film and TV, as well as shining a light on behind-the-scenes action. Recent research into just how ScreenThing impacts these young people found that one third of ScreenThing fans said their involvement in the ScreenThing community has made them stop viewing unauthorised content. Additionally, over half say it has made them want to watch more films through authorised sources.

Research carried out by The Industry Trust and ICM [a market research agency] found that 54% of the 16+ population now pay to download or stream authorised content - a 14% increase since 2014 - and 83% still love going to the cinema and paying for the big screen experience. Despite this, 23% admit to engaging in copyright infringement, a number that hasnt changed since 2014. It's obvious teenagers today feel positively towards the UK film and TV industry and the content it creates - but they need to be educated about how the industry works and why they should respect IP if they want to see the continuation of film and TV production. The support of the younger generation is vital and we need to encourage them, in positive ways, to make informed and constructive choices against free content. The Internet is an encyclopaedia of information - every type of entertainment has found it's way online. Copyright can no longer sit to the left - it needs to be front and centre in today's National Curriculum. 

Lauren Rooney - Industry Trust

Lauren Rooney, Industry Trust for IP Awareness

Lauren Rooney works at the Industry Trust, overseeing the social communities for ScreenThing,, and the prestigious Moments Worth Paying For campaign, and manages PR activity to further promote legal ways to buy and watch film and TV.

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