Primary school children need to learn about intellectual property, Government agency says

Camilla Turner
The Intellectual Property Office  has launched a raft of teaching resources and videos for primary school children  - Moment RM

Primary school children should be taught about copyright law and intellectual property amid a rise in social media, a Government agency has said.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has launched a raft of teaching resources and videos aimed at helping children aged seven to 11 learn about piracy, patents and trademarks.

Catherine Davies, head of the IPO’s education outreach department, said that children start using technology and social media at an increasingly young age, so by the time they are teenagers it is already too late to teach them about respecting copyright laws. 

“We have done a lot of work with teenagers and we have found by that point, they might have already picked up bad habits of picking things up from illegal sources,” she told The Sunday Telegraph. “That is one of the reasons we have gone to the younger children.”

She said that teaching primary school children about copyright is important “preparatory” work, and “plants the seed” for when they come across concepts of copyright and piracy later on.

It is already too late to try teaching teenagers about copyright, says Catherine Davies, head of the IPO’s education outreach department Credit:  Peter Byrne

The IPO, which is an executive agency of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is leading the government's efforts to crack down on internet piracy and protect the revenues of Britain's creative industries.

A report published last year by the IPO found that the rise of quick and easy illegal streaming services has scuppered declines in internet piracy.

Since 2013, piracy has fallen from a high of 30pc of internet users, a drop that has been credited to the rise of convenient streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify replacing illegal downloads.

But illegal channels have sought to replicate their success by offering on-demand streaming access instead of downloads.

The IPO - formerly known as the Patent Office -  already produces teaching materials for GCSE students, but this is the first time it has branched out into materials aimed at primary school children.

This is not the first time that the Government has attempted to explain complex issues to children.

In 2016, HM Revenue & Customs produced a Junior Tax Facts video for eight- to 11-year-olds, which explained, among other things, that the VAT on sweets meant they were taxpayers too.