Curated Activities & Instructions

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Curated Activities & Instructions

Post by mememe » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:41 am

I have seen a children's activity workbook/magazine which combines storytelling with related activities like word search, puzzles, and also projects with instructions. The projects could be things like build a catapult, bake a cake etc. One that I saw was build a paint pendulum. I put that into google and it immediately came up with the martha stewart website with activities for kids and that exact project on there. It made me wonder how legal this is? I'd like to offer a similar product aimed at children with activities, crafts, projects with instructions etc. Can I use the things I find online, adapt them for my own use as this company seem to have done (they have won multiple awards and been endorsed by educational boards so i can't figure out how they're doing it), or what? Likewise the puzzles/activities, can you use word searches etc by someone else freely available online or do you have to somehow come up with them yourself?


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Post by AndyJ » Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:33 am

Hi mememe

The activities and other ideas themselves will generally not be protected by copyright or any other form of Intellectual Property right, because they are just that - ideas. However the exact way in which the ideas are expressed or described, say in words or diagrams, will be protectable. Therefore so long as you find a different way of expressing the ideas etc there is nothing to stop you exploiting the same ideas. The classic example of this sort of issue is a recipe. You can use all the information such as the list of ingredients, oven temperature etc and method of preparation but you can't just replicate the exact wording of the recipe you have found. And of course there is nothing to prevent you setting up a company which bakes and sells cakes made to a recipe someone else has created.

The same applies to word puzzles. There is no monopoly in producing these, but you can't just copy another puzzle exactly, for instance using exactly the the same grid of letters to form a wordsearch for the same words, because that is obviously someone else's expression and the product of their creativity.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

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