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8 July, 2008

Teens just can't believe their ears

A group of 21 teens from three East London schools aged from 14-15 took part in the lively trialling of a new Unit on Intellectual Property (IP) Law focusing on the legal implications of downloading music from the internet. What they discovered about what they perceive as being a 'grey' area of the law came as a shock.

The Law Society of England and Wales hosted a lively celebration event on Friday 4th July recognising the success of the 'Lawyers in Schools' Twinning Scheme and calling for more firms to get involved in England and Wales.

Stars of the Celebration Event were undoubtedly the 21 Year 10 students from three East London secondary schools who, along with teachers and volunteer lawyers, debated the legal implications of downloading music from the internet. Facilitated by the Citizenship Foundation, the workshop trialled the new four-part Intellectual Property (IP) Law Unit, the latest addition to the Twinning Scheme’s resource pack.

Research indicates that 95% of 14 – 24 year olds have copied songs illegally. A survey of 14-17 year olds found that of the 1770 tracks that the average person has on their MP3 player, 1079 tracks had not been paid for (Survey into the music experience and behaviour in young people: British Music Rights and the University of Hertfordshire, 2008).

This was news to the 14 -15 year olds from Swanlea School, Tower Hamlets, and two Hackney-based schools, Skinners’ Company’s School for Girls and Hackney Free & Parochial School. The case of Emily Price, 14, who was traced after downloading 1400 songs leaving her mum with a £2500 bill from record companies, certainly gave pause for thought. The students agreed that stealing is wrong but 14 -year-old Lubna spoke for many: "If you start tracking people down, half the world would be a criminal."

There was a strong feeling that legal responsibility should not just rest with the individual downloading music. As 14-year-old Kwame said, "The law can be hard but they need to work with the websites, not just the people who are downloading."

According to Nigel Dodds, Chair of the Law Society Charity, Intellectual Property (IP) Law is: “At the high end of the legal profession ” which makes it an attractive area of the law that all the new volunteer lawyers will want to brush up on going into secondary schools in England and Wales.

For more details of the Twinning in Schools Scheme, please contact: Ruth Cohen,Team Leader, Twinning Programmes

T: 020 7566 5038 E: ruth.cohen@citizenshipfoundation.org.uk

To find out more please email:

Your comments

From Liz Jupp - Bloxham Banbury
I am very interested in your Twinning in Schools initiative. Please keep me informed

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