A Welcome New Chapter for the Copyright Challenge

Can it ever be OK to lose ourselves completely in a film, book or piece of music - and yet contribute nothing to those people who made that experience possible?

This month sees the launch of a landmark initiative for the UK creative industries. For the first time ever, content creators from the worlds of film and TV and music have, with the support of government, trades unions, retailers and other creative sectors including games, books, media and sports, joined forces with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to tackle the shared challenge of piracy. Together they have launched an advertising and consumer engagement campaign called Get it Right from a Genuine Site.

The @getitright advertising depicts two versions of the world: one where the consumer elects to pay for creative content - and another where he chooses to access it illegally. Two very different experiences unfold, reflecting the impact of the choices made. The campaign aired on TV for the first time on Sunday night during the X-Factor ad break. It will feature on the radio, in print and online in the coming months and also include a multi-city street art project. All designed to get the nation talking.

By highlighting the impact of the choices we make on the content that we love, the campaign aims to spark a new national debate about whether to pay - or not to pay - for creative content. It's a debate becoming increasingly significant in our digital age and one that, from a film and TV stand-point, the Industry Trust has been at the forefront of for over a decade. So it's a very welcome move to be able to come together with other creative sectors sharing the same challenge; each adding their own voice to the debate.

Helping the paying public to recognise the impact of their choices on the creative process has been a central, and highly successful, part of Industry Trust's copyright education work over the years. Our humorous 'You Make the Movies' cinema trailer campaign (2009/10), for example, depicted 'ordinary' people in iconic film scenes to celebrate the positive contribution film fans make every time they choose to make a legal purchase.

In a similar initiative to support the video side of the industry, which is hardest hit by piracy (most piracy takes place once films are no longer in cinemas), we created a short i-dent trailer for DVDs, which thanked customers for supporting the UK film industry by choosing to buy their disc. It was just a ten second message - but an incredibly important one for film fans to hear - and it still features on some DVDs and Blu-ray discs today. Our current 'Moments Worth Paying For' cinema trailer campaign also seeks to make that positive connection between choosing to pay for content and making movie magic happen.

Like @getitright, all of these campaigns have sought to show people that their contribution really does make a difference. It's a positive, inclusive way to question public perceptions of piracy and one that, for film and TV at least, has been proven to work. During the period that 'You Make the Movies' ran in cinemas, public awareness that piracy impacts on future film production almost doubled, while film fans exposed to our 'Moments Worth Paying For' message have been shown to be as much as twice as likely to choose to pay for content as those not exposed to it.

The time is certainly right to extend copyright education into wider creative sectors. As the nation's digital literacy improves, removing a key barrier to piracy, we must make sure that the paying public knows just how critical they are to UK creativity so that, increasingly, their conscience (rather than their digital confidence) can guide their choices.

In tandem, we must make sure that legal creative content is easier than ever to find and enjoy, given that convenience is such a key driver of piracy. For film and TV, that's been the thinking behind www.findanyfilm.com, which provides direct, legal links to tens of thousands of films and shows, in every format. While for the new, cross-sector campaign, the www.getitrightfromagenuinesite.org website helps to navigate users towards legal sources of every kind of creative content.

For these reasons this latest, collaborative chapter in UK copyright education is a very welcome one and I look forward to seeing it unfold. By bringing different creative sectors together to showcase UK creativity in the round - and celebrating the public's pivotal role in supporting it - I hope we can provide a fresh new perspective on a long-standing conundrum. I hope we can catalyse new conversations and questions about how we choose to enjoy the content we love.

Can it ever be OK to lose ourselves completely in a film, book or piece of music - and yet contribute nothing to those people who made that experience possible?

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