When someone creates something, they have copyright. This means the work belongs to them and other people cannot copy or share it without permission. Copyright means your work cannot be copied by other people or shared with other people without permission. It applies to films, TV programmes and books, as well as information on the internet. It also applies to files on the internet, such as those in Word, PowerPoint or PDF format, as well as music and video files. If someone copies or shares someone else’s work without permission, it is illegal.
Advice for pupils - 'what's legal' facts and myths
1. Is file sharing is illegal?
It is legal to go on a file-sharing website or use such software. However, the media (music and films) is often shared without permission from the person who created it. This means downloading films or music would be breaking the law.
2. Is it legal to upload films and TV programmes over the internet?
It is not legal. The permission of the owner is needed before you are allowed to upload films or television programmes.
3. Is it legal to upload films on the web without the rightful owner’s permission?
As 2, it is not legal - the permission of the owner is needed.
4. Are all sites offering film downloads are legal?
No, they are not all offering content that they have permission to share.
5. Do most fake DVDs and films come from the internet?
Most fake DVDs or online films are actually made by people using a camcorder in a cinema. These can be uploaded to the internet. However, these pirated and illegal copies start with someone using video recording equipment and often get burned onto DVDs.
6. Do parents get into trouble if their children download music or film files from an unauthorised site?
Parents and carers can be liable to being sued.