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World Intellectual Property Day: film, IP and schools

Copyright and schools

Copyright laws are intended to protect the interests of rights holders. So for example,whilst purchasing a physical or digital copy of a film gives the purchaser the right to use their copy in particular circumstances, they donʼt own the copyright for the film: that is, they do not have the right to copy or reproduce it, and may only be able to screen it in certain circumstances. In the case of a feature film, a number of elements will be protected by copyright, for example, the script and original music score, or the artwork on the disc sleeve or jacket.

Where films and film content are readily available online, it can be difficult to establish which sources are providing access to legally available content. In terms of film, TV and video, authorised sources are those that show content in the way their makers intended and have allowed, such as in the cinema, on official DVD or Blu-ray, or via ‘above board’ online sources that you can find via Find Any Film.

There are a number of exceptions to copyright laws pertaining to film, and there are particular exceptions for the use of film within educational establishments. According to these exceptions, teachers may show films (including whole films, and clips such as those used in the Thinking Film series) in the classroom for the purposes of teaching and learning. Itʼs a good idea to contact individual exam boards for advice on the use of copyright film and music in coursework submissions, for example, especially as these may change over time.

Teachers should be aware that after school, lunchtime or breaktime showings of films for entertainment are not covered in the same way by this exception.
You can find further details on this exception on the UKIPOʼs website.