Copyright law

The creators of almost all of our entertainment will have their rights protected by copyright law. This activity will help you think about what this means.

In the first column of the chart below, is a list of entertainment products that have all been created by an individual or a team. In the second column, try to come up with three examples of this product that you and / or your family may have at home. In the third column, say where the product was purchased.


Copyright protects the authors and creators of these original works. It is illegal to make a copy of someone’s work without permission. Discuss these questions with a partner:

  • How would you feel if someone copied something you created? Has that ever happened? If so, explain the situation.
  • Have you (or your family) ever purchased a product (e.g., music DVD or movie) that you later discovered was a fake? How did it make you feel? What did you (or your family) do about it?
  • Have you ever been asked to buy fake products?
  • If you bought the fake products – or were tempted – why was this?
  • If not, what stopped you?

Challenge justification

Some people justify buying pirated products in a range of ways.  In the left hand column below, are a series of these justifications.  In the other column are some of the counter arguments. Read through both columns carefully and try to match up the argument that most effectively challenges the so-called justification.

The importance of copyright

Watch these video clips about Valérie Kaboré and Wanjiru Kinyanjui, filmmakers from Burkina Faso in West Africa and Kenya in East Africa:

After watching these clips, make a list of all the ways in which a national filmmaking industry can reduce poverty and unemployment in countries in the developing world.

How does piracy damage such industries?  Why is copyright law so important to these filmmakers?

Look at the statements below and discuss with your partner which ones you think are true and false.

Extension activity

Extension: In a group of four, use a dictionary to define the words below. Some of these words are included in the answers from the activity above.  Once you have found definitions for each word, decide as a group which four words you think are the most important to help young people understand the significance of copyright law. Then each person in the group chooses one word to illustrate as a poster in order to raise young people’s awareness of this topic:

  • Copyright
  • Fair use
  • Public Domain
  • File-sharing
  • Piracy
  • Plagiarism
  • Infringement