Inspire, Create, Educate: ALCS & Copyright Education

We report on the work of ALCS to engage young audiences with the message of copyright.

ALCS is constantly devising new ways to educate and inform the public as well as policy-makers about all things copyright.

Read on for our report on the results of our education programme, ‘What the Dickens?’, relaunched earlier this year to educate school children about copyright and its economic importance in supporting writers. We also report on ‘Cracking Ideas’, the IPO’s (Intellectual Property Office) portal bringing together copyright education resources for all ages which, we’re thrilled to say, includes ALCS’s ‘Young Writer’s Guide to Shakespeare’.

We also bring you news of the ALCS-supported ‘Get it Right From a Genuine Site’: a landmark collaborative drive by the creative industries, trade unions and Government which aims to help young people make the right choices when downloading.

Last, but certainly not least, read on for more about our ongoing sponsorship of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Shadowing Scheme, which includes education resources and our annual competiton for young people taking part. This year CILIP and Amnesty also launched a joint award to highlight the importance of human rights in children’s literature, which ALCS is proud to sponsor.

‘What The Dickens?’ The Results are in!


Earlier this year we relaunched ‘What The Dickens?’, our successful copyright programme, run in collaboration with the National Schools Partnership. In 2012, over 1,200 teachers and 30,000 students took part.

2012 marked the bicentennial celebrations of the birth of Charles Dickens. As well as being one of the world’s most celebrated writers, Dickens was also at the forefront of the 19th century campaign for copyright legislation to help protect the work of authors. A study of the 2012 programme showed  it had such a positive impact that ALCS decided to refresh the programme and relaunch it for 2015.

A study into the impact of ‘What the Dickens?’ 2015 has now been released to measure how successful the programme was in raising awareness of the concept of copyright and increasing understanding of its importance to writers. We’re delighted to report that the programme once again has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the copyright education of young people aged between 10 and 14.

  • 82% of those taking part agreed or strongly agreed that they had a better understanding of what copyright is and the issues around it..
  • 87% agreed or strongly agreed that they understood why copyright is important to creators following their participation in the programme.
  • 91% said that they think it’s important to learn about copyright in school.

‘What the Dickens?’ is aimed at Key Stage 2 and 3 students. It features comprehensive lesson plans for teachers, activities and a competition for students, and supporting films from CILIP Carnegie Medal-winning writers Meg Rosoff and the late Mal Peet; and screenwriter Sarah Phelps whose credits include the BBC adaptation of Great Expectations.

Get it Right from a Genuine Site: Safeguarding the UK’s Creative Industries


Supported by ALCS, this landmark campaign under the banner of Creative Content UK marks the first time that representatives from all the creative industries – film, TV, music, games, books, media and sports – have come together with Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the Government and trade unions.

‘Get it Right from a Genuine Site’ (@getitright) demonstrates to young people the positive and negative effects of legal and illegal downloading. The campaign has a less aggressive tone than previous messages of anti-piracy which were solely driven by threats of sanctions. Instead, by highlighting the negative impact of illegal downloading on the creative industries, the new campaign aims to help consumers see themselves as investors in the creative process and convince them that downloading from a genuine site supports the creation of content, whereas illegal downloading has a negative effect on creativity.

The campaign kicked off in November in a primetime ITV advertising slot during Sunday night’s “X Factor”. Alongside the animated short, a Street Art project was launched in Birmingham, to encourage a new generation of young consumers to value the quality and authenticity of content.

Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and former Chair of the All Party Writers Group, said:  “Copyright is the bedrock of the creative industries, which are worth £76.9 billion to the UK economy. From cutting-edge video games to box-office smashes, the continuing success and availability of our creative industries relies on customers making the right choice to access content legally. I am delighted that rights holders and internet companies have come together under the banner of Creative Content UK to educate consumers about both the need to properly reward creativity, and the threat that online piracy poses”.

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive, BPI and BRIT Awards and music spokesperson for Get it Right from a Genuine Site, said: “We want people to understand the vital importance of supporting the films, TV, music, games, books, magazines and sports they love, and the fact that by doing so they are not only helping to create more of it for everyone to enjoy but are investing in the development of new artists and ideas. Our goal is to encourage everyone to access content from genuine services rather than dodgy sites.”

Whilst the educational campaign aims to convince audiences to make better choices, Creative Content UK believes that the issue of copyright infringement is a complex one and needs also to be tackled with site blockings, action to reduce advertising on illegal sites, and pressure on search engines to promote legal sites over those that infringe.

Cracking Ideas: Portal Dedicated to IP Education Resources

The IPO (Intellectual Property Office) has launched a Cracking Ideas website bringing together intellectual property (IP) education resources from primary to higher education.

One such programme is the “Young Writer’s Guide to Shakespeare”, ALCS’s joint programme with the National Schools Partnership, which we reported on last month. We’re pleased to say that it has been included in the Cracking Ideas portal.

The portal marks a strategic partnership between IPO and stakeholders to provide IP education and resources for the UK education sector under one distinct banner. Further education programmes from ALCS are set to appear on the Cracking Ideas website early next year, including a refreshed version of “Copywrite!” programme. More news on this will follow.

Barbara Hayes, Deputy CEO of ALCS said: “I’m delighted to see this resource finally set up; it is long overdue and much-needed at a time when copyright education is almost non-existent on the school curriculum. One of the highest-ranking queries that we get at ALCS is ‘how do I protect my copyright?’ which shows us that people of all ages need to know more about copyright in general. We hope that this resource will provide a comprehensive guide to anyone teaching in education across all ages, from simply learning about the value of content and copyright to knowing one’s rights as a creator.”

ALCS & CILIP CKG 2016 Announce New Amnesty Award


ALCS is once again teaming up with the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) for the 2016 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway (CKG) Children’s Book Awards. 2016 will also see ALCS proudly support a new award: a collaboration between CILIP and Amnesty International, which will commend a shortlisted book from each of the main awards which highlights the importance of human rights.

Barbara Hayes, Deputy CEO of ALCS expressed her delight at ALCS’s involvement: “This is an important award, not just because of the educational aspect of human rights in young people’s literature, but also because it is important to create a synergy between organisations who support the right to the freedom of expression of creators, which is under threat in many places around the world right now. It also supports the right of creators to earn from their work.”


Each year ALCS devises a competition for CKG Shadowing Scheme, centred around creative writing, in an bid to give participants a sense of creative ownership. The Shadowing Scheme is a programme run alongside the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards wherein shadowing groups around the country read the nominated books  in the run-up to the Awards ceremony. The Shadowing Scheme has an online portal where participating groups can share their creative responses to the books, including reviews and pictures. The portal also includes ALCS copyright teaching resources and details of how to enter the competition.

Last year’s competition produced over 600 entries from schools around the country.

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