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The UK advertising industry’s education non-profit, Media Smart, in partnership with The Industry Trust for IP Awareness, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the Intellectual Property Office, has launched a new school resource focused on intellectual property.

The resource – “Piracy: What’s The Big Deal?” – turns the spotlight on film and TV piracy. It encourages 11-14 year olds to think first before illegally accessing content by introducing key concepts of copyright and copyright infringement and explores the risks to individuals, the associated impact on the creative industry, and wider links to organised crime.

The teaching materials include an engaging film featuring influencer and actor Luke Franks and Sky One presenter Jacqueline Sheppard, which encourages students to identify the consequences and impact of piracy and to assess how serious these can be. Students will also be given the opportunity to create a short anti-piracy campaign in the form of a storyboard or a one-minute film. This element will run as a competition with schools being given the chance to win £2,000 worth of media equipment for their schools and prizes from digital entertainment retailer, Rakuten TV.

Rachel Barber-Mack, Director of Media Smart, commented:

“Media Smart’s supporters have long wanted to work with the wider creative industry in educating young people about piracy, a subject that is ever more important during COVID-19 - when kids are online more.

“We are proud to say that the teaching resource have been awarded the PSHE Association Quality Mark and developed to support the curriculum for living in a wider world with media literacy and digital resilience. Our partnership with the Industry Trust, MPA and IPO has enabled us to create innovative film-based materials plus competition that will resonate with and inspire our target audience.”

Liz BalesChief Executive of The Industry Trust, commented: 

“Research conducted by the Industry Trust has found that young people are among those most likely to be tempted to infringe copyright. These studies highlight a need for anti-piracy and pro-industry messaging that engages with and informs younger audiences, allowing them to consider their actions and positively change attitudes towards piracy.

“Our aim is primarily to education young people, to encourage them to value content and respect the creative industry and also to understand the personal and very real risks they expose themselves to if they do engage with illegally sourced content. We’re delighted to partner with Media Smart in order to produce this comprehensive and engaging resource that has the potential to reach millions of young people throughout the UK.”

The importance of the resource is clear when it is estimated that more than 50% of current infringers have been a victim of hacking or viruses and 31% have been exposed to inappropriate content.Furthermore, in 2019 the Intellectual Property Office estimated piracy and counterfeiting cost the UK economy £9bn and 80,500 job losses each year.

In a sign of its success in increasing media literacy and digital literacy among children and young people, Media Smart recently won Gold at the International CSR Excellence Awards. This builds on other news that the programme has made the finals in two categories for The Drum Awards for Social Purpose 2020.

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