The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has launched a campaign to teach children about copyright infringement and the internet, saying it is a key life skill to learn to respect copyrights and trademarks. The IPO is the official government body responsible for intellectual property rights in the UK and it also acts as an executive agency for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills.
In an attempt to engage children and encourage them to absorb information about IP rights, the IPO has used cartoons to target children aged 7-11. Nancy, a French-bull dog, and her three meerkat sidekicks battle in commercial conflict with her nemesis Kitty Perry and Co. During the five-minute episode, the series also aims to try and make IP fun and educational with lessons from Nancy's manager, Big Joe. After five years on Fun Kids Radio, the series was recently re-launched to spread the message into primary schools.
It has spent £20,000 on the Nancy re-launch campaign, in efforts to contribute to obstructing piracy on the internet which would positively impact UK creative industries.
The IPO admits that IP is a "complex issue" for small children, but added that very young people are consumers of IP with today's digital technology, and they may well move onto careers within the creative industry of IP.
The cartoon series has been criticised by Jim Killock, director of the Open Rights Group campaign, who put forward that the material seems misleading as it puts forward the idea that downloading is the same as stealing from a shop – which it is not. He commented saying that IPO risk children thinking that copyright law is stupid, which may disinterest them.
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