Motion Words: copyright resources for young creators

Since 2012 a team of UK academics has been looking at how to help young audiovisual authors better understand copyright. Read on for more about the work of CREATe, and the resulting Motion Words project.

When Sherlock Holmes and John Watson receive a letter from Mary Westmacott, a new adventure at the border between illusion and reality is just about to start. Is Mary only having terrifying nightmares, is she losing her mind, or is she really being haunted by her own literary creations? If there is anyone who can solve the mystery, it is surely Sherlock Holmes. The Game is On!

Six Detectives_Frame_1

The Adventure of the Six Detectives– the second episode in the award-winning series The Game is On! offered by – is the creation of the Motion Words project, match-funded by ALCS and CREATe (University of Glasgow) with the goal of producing useful copyright guidance for young audiovisual writers. This short film has been written, directed and produced by Professor Ronan Deazley (Queen’s University Belfast) and Bartolomeo Meletti (Copyright Education Fellow at the British Film Institute and Lead Producer of for CREATe). It comes accompanied by nine Case Files: supplementary educational materials – co-authored by CREATe researchers Megan Rae Blakely and Andrea Wallace – which offer information and points of discussion around many of the copyright questions faced by screenwriters.

In order to identify the most pressing concerns that audiovisual authors have about copyright, the Motion Words team carried out mapping exercises including a short survey sent to the students of the BFI Film Academy ’s residential course on screenwriting, as well as qualitative analysis of recent reports and studies, such as the SAA, Audiovisual Authors’ Rights and Remuneration in Europe, 2nd ed (2015).

Six Detectives_Frame_3

Based on the results of these exercises, the Case Files provide guidance on crucial copyright topics such as the multiple rights involved in a film (#13), the requirements for copyright protection (#14) and the relationship between copyright and contracts (#15), among others. The short film and its accompanying Case Files are freely available here.  As with all the educational resources offered by, The Game is On! prioritises positive messaging and encourages public understanding as to what copyright enables and allows, rather than focussing on what copyright inhibits and prevents. The first episode of the series – The Adventure of the Girl with the Light Blue Hair – won the AHRC Innovation in Film Award in November 2015 and was shortlisted for a BUFVC Learning on Screen Award in April 2016. Recently, the short film has also been used by Into Film to develop the educational resource ‘Exploring copyright for clubs’, demonstrating the suitability of The Game is On! materials for use in the classroom. – a joint collaboration between CREATe and CIPPM (Bournemouth University) – is an independent online resource intended to make UK copyright law accessible to everyone. The website offers authoritative guidance produced by leading copyright experts as well as videos, illustrations and interactive tools responding to the everyday questions and concerns faced by all copyright users: creators, media professionals, entrepreneurs, cultural heritage practitioners, teachers and students, and members of the public. With over 115,000 unique yearly visitors, has become a point of reference for everyone looking for copyright guidance within the creative industries, cultural heritage organisations and the education sector.

Written by Bartolomeo Meletti, Copyright Education Fellow at the British Film Institute and Lead Producer of for CREATe