Copyright Education in schools

Patent Office educational materials

The UK Patent Office's "think kit" [1] is their free educational resourcefor key stage 4 pupils. The resource includes Introductions, Case Studies and posters. The Open Rights Group is concerned that the resources present a one-sided view of intellectual property. Further, concerns have been raised that the materials do not accurately reflect the current UK IP landscape.

Two actions have been suggested - to lodge a formal complaint with the Patent Office, which identifies inaccuracies in the material (see next section), and to create alternative educational material which fairly reflects each side of the debate.

Example - "Music Copyright featuring Jamelia"

The purpose of this section is to identify factual inaccuracies in a sample of the Patent Office's educational material on intellectual property, the "think kit".

Section 01 - Introduction

Jamelia is one of the biggest R & B stars in the UK and 2004 was her most successful year to date. She achieved three Top 5 singles, a platinum album, a Q award for Best Single, and won three MOBO awards: best single, best UK act and best video. In addition, her single ‘Stop’ was chosen as the theme song for the current Bridget Jones movie. She is the first ever black face of Pretty Polly® tights and is also the face of Reebok®; last year saw her sign a modelling contract with ICM models. Jamelia performed at this year’s Brit awards and she has just won the Best Music Artist award at the Elle Style awards.

So how did she get to where she is today?

Jamelia was brought up in Birmingham and has loved singing and writing songs since she was very young. She was discovered by Parlophone® at the age of 15 when she stood in an A & R man’s office (Artists and Repertoire are the people who sign and develop artists) and sang her own songs with the confidence of someone twice her age. She was signed by Parlophone® on the spot but, as she was so young, the label let her finish her studies and develop her skills. She released her first single at the age of 18 and, within 18 months, went on to have four Top 40 hits and, in 2000, she won a MOBO award.

Jamelia then put her career on hold when she had her daughter. She returned to music in 2003 when her single ‘Superstar’ elevated her to a new level. The single was one of the biggest sellers of the year in the UK, was a hit all over continental Europe, and reached No 1 in Australia and New Zealand. The album ‘Thank You’ was to generate four huge hits and has now sold half a million copies in the UK.

Jamelia is currently at work on her new album.

The significance of copyright protecting the rights of artists such as Jamelia for the development of music, cannot be underestimated. Jamelia writes original and innovative music. She also collaborates with other music artists such as Asher D from So Solid Crew, and Chris Martin from Coldplay who co-wrote ‘See It In A Boy’s Eyes’. We would never hear new music or enjoy the performances of new artists if they did not have the security of knowing that their work would not be copied. It encourages the growth of enterprise.

The protection that copyright gives artists such as Jamelia means that she could pursue her dream to develop her creations, safe in the knowledge that she had control over who would benefit from them.

All songwriters and performers have their songs and recordings protected by copyright. Every time permission is given for a song or recording to be played or sung, fees are passed on to the artists. These fees are called royalties. Copyright helps ensure that everyone involved in their enterprise is paid for their contribution.

Section 01 - Notes

It's quite cynical to compare musicians and artists to innovators in business or industry, for whom patents and copyright are indeed very important. I thought artists were artists because they enjoy making art/expressing themselves? Since when was it about being 'safe in the knowledge that she could control who would benefit from them'? -Oscar Laurie

Section 02 - Royalties

The Beatles song ‘Help!’ holds the Guinness® Book of Records title as the song that has been recorded the most. Well over two thousand artists have recorded versions of it. Each time a new recording is made, the artists and recording companies have to pay a royalty. While the owners of the Beatles’ copyrights are likely to be millionaires many times over, there are many other thousands of artists who make an ordinary living out of their creations. When artists such as Jamelia are just setting out on the road to stardom, they use the money from royalties from one song or album to fund the time and costs spent writing, practising and perfecting their music for the next song or album. The protection that copyright offers them encourages the development of artists such as Jamelia.

A piece of music enjoys the protection of copyright from the moment it has been written down or recorded. Everything about music CDs is protected by copyright. The images and text on the cover and the writing inside are all creations in their own right and cannot be used or copied without permission.

Record companies release promo albums of their new artists to journalists, TV stations and radio DJs in order to raise awareness of the artist, their music and gain support. The danger of this is that, once these promos have been sent out, the music is out there and could possibly be copied. To prevent this, record companies include some wording (example below) on the promo copy of the CD to ensure they have the right to claim these promo CDs back at any time should people decide they are going to sell the album on eBay or in record and tape exchanges.

Artists such as Jamelia are entitled to royalties from their rendition of the song and, as their recording company, EMI® are entitled to their share of the recording of the CD.

Words and music of songs are covered by separate copyrights even if the same person wrote both. How artists and co-writers split their royalties will be agreed amongst them and would usually be the subject of a legal contract. Some artists will decide to split the royalties equally. In other cases one particular member of a group such as the lead singer may feel that they make a greater contribution to the group’s success and would expect a bigger share of the royalties than the other members.

Section 02 - Notes

No-one's written anything yet so just go ahead, delete this and get your word in first!

Section 03 - What is music piracy?

It is the illegal performing, copying, distribution and sale of copyrighted music. Performers and songwriters see people who take their music without permission or paying royalties as cheats. One example of music piracy these days is music downloaded from the Internet.

Can you remember when you last lent a CD to a friend to copy? Record companies are now including a line on CD cases which informs customers that CD sharing is illegal and does harm the artist that they are supporting.

This recording and artwork are protected by copyright law. Using Internet services to distribute copyrighted music, giving away illegal copies of discs to others for them to copy is illegal and does not support those involved in making this piece of music - including the artist.

People who download and share music often don’t think twice about burning copies of albums for their mates, but this activity and illegal downloading harms record companies and musicians as they are trying to make a living. Without money going back into the company, there would be no money to invest in signing and developing new artists. Next time you buy a CD check out the copyright details on the back.

Research shows that in the UK eight million people claim to be downloading music from the Internet, 92% of them using illegal sites. Many people who use these sites don’t realise that this practice is illegal. If you are downloading music from a site that offers this service free, it is likely that this is an infringement of copyright and that you are using a site that is operating illegally.

Sites such as Apple’s iTunes®, MyCokeMusic®, HMV® and Virgin® in the UK are all operating within the law because their customers pay, usually quite a small amount, for the service. Those charges aren’t just to cover their costs of running the site and to make themselves a profit. They pass on royalties to the artists whose work we are listening to.

Many examples of where to buy legal downloads can be found at

Section 03 - Notes

We are studying this at school.

Section 04 - Overview

Copyright© protects the people who create, produce or invest in creative work. It enables them to decide how their work can be used by others. If you own the copyright in a piece of music or a song it means you are the only person who can adapt, reproduce, distribute, perform or broadcast, for example, on the Internet, the work without permission. If someone else wants to do any of these things to your piece of work then they have to obtain permission from you.

Section 04 - Notes

No-one's written anything yet so just go ahead, delete this and get your word in first!