Film Biz’s Friendly, Weird New Anti-Piracy Ad: Doesn’t Mention Piracy

For years UK cinema-goers have been warned that copying, downloading or buying copied DVDs and CDs is a crime, in short adverts using the slogans “you wouldn’t steal a car, you wouldn’t steal a handbag…buying pirated films is stealing” and “don’t be a knock-off Nigel“. But now the film industry is changing its tune and launching a new anti-piracy campaign using a friendlier, less scare-mongering tone to get its message across. But curiously, a new series of ads make no mention of piracy at all…

The Industry Trust today launches three new cinema trailers directed by TV director Steve Bendelack which thank the public for buying legal downloads, DVDs and movie tickets with the tagline: “You make the movies” (see one below, via Until a few years ago, physically copied videos and DVDs were the major problem and most people’s broadband connections couldn’t cope with downloading entire movies quickly. But it’s a new world now: thanks to p2p networks, BitTorrent trackers and faster broadband speeds the public can and does download music, movies and entire video games in minutes. And in a recession, most won’t take kindly to being lectured on how Hollywood is losing money. More after the jump…

Universal Pictures International president Eddie Cunningham tells the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones: “Your campaigning needs to evolve over time and have an appropriate message for today.” But he denies that previous campaigns have failed and claims research shows “most people now find it unfashionable”. Not that unfashionable: notorious Swedish BitTorrent-tracker Pirate Bay claims to receive 826,628 UK unique users per day and the IFPI found that 95 percent of global music downloads last year were illegal.

But consumers are only part of the problem — the film industry is pressuring ISPs to apply tougher rules to repeat piracy offenders and implement policies such as the graduated response, “three strikes” approach being proposed by the French government and currently being debated at a European Commission level. Cunningham told Radio 4’s today programme: “If people were distributing drugs from your house or were involved in prostitution, you would be responsible for those illegal activities. ISPs need to be responsible.” The Industry Trust says that 2008 saw the highest box office takings in Britain for three years — but with the spread of faster broadband and that lack of a comprehensive regulatory approach to tackling online piracy in Britain, the industry cannot expect that growth to continue.


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