Age group: 
Social Science

Classroom unit


The student is a new manager of a rock group and has to make a number of IP decisions that will affect their activities.

This unit helps students understand many Intellectual Property concepts- especially copyright and trade mark issues.
Learning objectives

By the end of this unit students will be better able to:

  • understand concepts of trade marks, copyright and Intellectual Property
  • appreciate how those issues can arise in creative activities
  • Use research to support arguments

Curriculum Area/s:

  • English- Creating work ethically
  • Commerce- Business management
  • Civics and Citizenship- Ethical behaviour
  • Legal Studies- Law and ethical behaviour

Year/s: Ages 12-16 (Secondary)


Teacher Prep Time: 5 minutes

Materials required: Online, smart board or hard copies of Worksheets 1-5


1. Explain to students that they are the new managers of a rock band. Their task is to manage the band well by being able to provide accurate advice on a range of issues (Worksheet 1 Your first day). They have 12 questions for them from members of the band. (Worksheet 2 Your first questions, answers, responses and advice). Students use the accompanying worksheets (Worksheets 3-6 Trade marks, Copyright, Intellectual Property, Confidentiality and trade secrets) to find accurate information and write answers to the questions. There are also three other units on this site that students can look at to explore the issues: What is the meaning of the Aboriginal flag?, Art Exhibition, and Can you name your child 'Anzac'?

2. The appropriate advice for each issue is:

Question 1 - No. A trade mark is infringed if the proposed new design is substantially the same as the existing one and will mislead people.
Question 2 - Yes. A trade mark can include colours, shapes, designs, sounds, smalls.
Question 3 - No. A generic phrase that describes an activity is not allowed as a distinctive trade mark. 
Question 4 - This depends on how close the words are to the existing version.
Question 5 - This depends on how close the composition is to the existing version.
Question 6 - Unauthorised copying is not allowed, but there are exceptions for personal use. The key issue among people whose work is being taken in this way is whether the taking harms their likely sales, or promotes interest in them, leading to greater sales. 
Question 7 - No. The Aboriginal flag design is protected by trade mark laws.
Question 8 - Yes. The Australian flag as a design is not protected.
Question 9 - No. There is no protection on ideas until they have been expressed in a certain way. No. This would not be seen as a trade secret.
Question 10 - Yes. Copyright of art works lapses after a certain time, and images can be used as trade marks. 
Question 11 - No. The name Anzac is protected in Australia and this would be a use that is not allowed.
Question 12 - No. Unauthorised copying is not allowed. The key issue is whether it is better to give up the rights to one song for the sake of possible publicity and greater sales.

3. At the end of the unit students discuss the key issues raised:

A) Why is Intellectual Property protected in modern society? Is that desirable? Discuss the arguments for and against.
B) Does IP law reflect desirable ethical behaviour, and desirable citizenship behaviour?
C) Where do IP issues appear in your own life as a student?
D) Have students look back at their original ideas, recorded on Worksheet 1. Have they achieved those aims? Would they now change them after their experience of some of the IP issues that are involved in a creative industry?

worksheet_1-_your_first_day.pdf PDF in PDF format [169.1 KB]169.1 KB
worksheet_2-_your_first_questions_answers_responses_and_advice.pdf PDF in PDF format [300.67 KB]300.67 KB
worksheet_3-_trade_marks.pdf PDF in PDF format [174.87 KB]174.87 KB
worksheet_4-_copyright.pdf PDF in PDF format [175.38 KB]175.38 KB
worksheet_5-_intellectual_property.pdf PDF in PDF format [192.57 KB]192.57 KB
worksheet_6-_confidentiality_and_trade_secrets.pdf PDF in PDF format [194.12 KB]194.12 KB
Last updated: 
Friday, May 6, 2016