Copyright Law and Intellectual Property

Copyright Law and Intellectual Property

Copyright Laws for Children
By Sam Williams, e How Contributor
Immediate Copyright
Learn More

Once someone creates a work it is automatically copyrighted. The creator owns the copyright. The work must be complete in a tangible format that is visible or audible to others such as books, sheet music, manuscript or CD. To illustrate this idea, a teacher can ask the class to draw a picture. After they have completed their drawings, she can explain that the students are sole owners of the copyright of those drawings and no one else can use them without their permission.
Notice of Copyright

Kids who play video games may be familiar with logos. They recognize them in commercials, in magazines, and on billboards on the way to school. The Notice of Copyright is a type of logo. It is the letter “c” enclosed a complete circle. After 1989, US Copyright law has not required the copyright notice to be included on completed works to prove ownership. Teachers can show children the symbol and advise them of legal issues for copying anything with this symbol.

Duration of Copyright

Copyright owners own copyrights even after they die. After the copyright expires, the work can be used by anyone for any purpose. It becomes a part of the “public domain.” Copyright protection continues until 70 years after the creator dies except for work created before 1979. Work created between 1923 and 1979 were protected for 28 years after its creation. The author could renew it for an additional 28 years once that time expired. Work created before 1923 is all in the public domain. The concept of time is difficult for a child to understand. Use math as a guide.

Monetary Compensation

Kids often think that if they don’t use the work for monetary gain then they are not violating the owner’s copyright. This is not true. Giving something away that someone else created directly impacts their livelihood. It impacts their quality of life and the way they make a living. Giving their work away to friends on social networks, by email, or any other means hurts the value of the work.
If everyone can get it for free, they are less likely to pay for it. Give each child a piece of the same candy. Then, show them a bigger piece of candy that will be given to the most well-behaved child. This will demonstrate value as the candies everyone already has isn’t as valuable as the one reward candy.


Children also perceive that if it’s on the Internet, then it must be in the public domain. This is not true. Copying a picture, text or any works on a website could be a violation of the creator’s copyright. Teach children to get out of the habit of online copy-and-paste even to build their personal websites. The more prevalent a photographer’s pictures are on the Internet, then the less valuable they are. Website owners should practice the habit of using the Notice of Copyright symbol.
Learn More

Internet Safety

Learn the basics of Internet safety with Clicky

Children use a variety of online services, and each of these services can have different safety concerns. However, there are some basic tips which you can employ no matter how your children use the Internet.

  • Keep the computer in a high-traffic area of your home.
  • Establish limits for which online sites children may visit and for how long.
  • Remember that Internet technology can be mobile, so make sure to monitor cell phones, gaming devices, and laptops.
  • Surf the Internet with your children and let them show you what they like to do online.
  • Know who is connecting with your children online and set rules for social networking, instant messaging, e-mailing, online gaming, and using webcams.
  • Continually dialogue with your children about online safety.