Dialogue on Law in the 21st Century

This resource presents a hypothetical Intellectual Property case involving music distribution and copyright.  The subject of the case — music and illegal downloads — would be of interest to a target middle and high school audience.

The easy-to-understand hypothetical situation helps teens get a sense for copyright law and the problem of illegal downloading at a young age. 

How do you use it?

The lesson is easily laid out with questions and handouts that help steer the students, through discussion, to solve the hypothetical problems and learn about copyrights.  This resource would be easy for judges to use; little preparation time is needed by a presenter — the guide gives presenters all the information they need.

The resource is best interpreted by those already knowledgeable in intellectual property law — rather than used as a direct handout to middle or high school students.

Who is the audience?

This lesson plan, downloadable as a pdf, is pitched as a "resource guide for lawyers, judges, and other dialogue leaders,” and would work well for those who wanted to lead a thought-provoking discussion with middle school or high school students.  

What other resources will complement this? 

  1. Educating about Intellectual Property  From Street Law Inc. and Constitutional Rights Foundation (M, H)
  2. Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright  Videos from the Library of Congress (P, M)
  3. United States Patent and Trademark Office's 'Kids' Pages'  Games and Activities from the USPTO (P, M, H) 

Additional Recommended Resources Off-Site Links

  1. A Constitutional Timeline
    • Multi-aged audience timeline that highlights key dates in history of Constitution, with links to text, audio and video clips. From National Constitution Center's Constitution Day site. 
  2. Interactive Constitution
    • Multi-aged audience site that enables users to search Constitution by keyword or topic, with access to explanatory materials throughout. From National Constitution Center.   
  3. The Annenberg Guide to the United States Constitution
    • Multi-aged audience site that lists the text of each section of every article in the Constitution, and provides explanation of what the text means in plain language.  From the Leonore Annenberg Institute of Civics. 
  4. Understanding the Federal Courts
    • Multi-aged online textbook-type document that includes sections on Article III, the Federal Court system and the geographical boundaries of the Courts of Appeal and the District Courts, the code of conduct for judges, juror qualifications, exemptions and terms of service, as well as categories of bankruptcy cases.  From the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts.