Saturday, 21 March 2009

TACKLING FILM PIRACY would increase UK economic output by £614MILLION!

Respect for Film: Securing the Future of the Moving Image.

Great Expectations: A report on the economic opportunities for the UK film sector, published by Oxford Economics and commissioned by Respect for Film, shows that a series of legislative changes would bring extra gross revenues of £268m to the audio-visual industry, £310m in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would be generated across the entire UK economy, while £155m would be generated in added revenue to the Exchequer.

The report found that some straightforward steps to tackle film piracy would increase UK economic output by £614 million and protect the jobs of many thousands of people employed in the film industry, as well as creating some 7,900 jobs in the wider economy.

The audio-visual sector currently loses about £531m in the UK each year from the direct impact of cannibalisation of revenues due to copyright theft, equating to a total economic loss to the economy of £1.222 billion. This is felt right through the industry, from cinema, video, television – including cable and satellite – and legal Internet services. At a time when the Government is working towards universal access to broadband services and is looking to the audio-visual sector to invest in the production of new and original content, Britain's creative community are seeking reassurance that their copyright will be properly protected, so that they can play their part in promoting demand for broadband through compelling content.

With increased penetration and speed of broadband services come greater opportunities to deliver entertainment to British audiences. At the same time, creators face greater potential losses if measures are not put in place to ensure a reliable economic return.

The report considers how increased broadband access could stimulate the growth of digital copyright theft and underscores the need for additional effective anti-piracy measures to ensure a corresponding increase in benefit to the UK economy, consumers and government.

The current recession is posing difficulties for all parts of the economy and the creative sector is no exception.

The film industry is not asking for money from the Government, however; it simply wants the Government to prioritise and enforce a series of measures and legislative changes to tackle copyright theft, including:

- Making camcording illegal in cinemas.
- Regulating car boot sales and other markets
- Introducing legislation to tackle illegal file sharing in the long term.
- Creating an effective damages regime.

The report finds that, implemented together, the measures would deliver the following economic benefits direct to industry:

- Camcording: £26.1m
- Regulation of markets: £6.3m
- Digital copyright theft: £141.7m
- Reduction in secondary piracy £94.0m.

Commenting on the report Lavinia Carey, Chair of Respect for Film, said:

"Given the current state of the economy, these recommendations are a quick win for the Government given the positive impact they would have on the economy. Our sector isn't asking for a handout, but targeted legislation to reduce copyright theft and deliver over £600 million and support employment to the benefit of the UK economy. The film industry is a significant contributor to the UK's economy and, with the decline of other sectors, its importance is growing. The biggest drain on further growth is copyright theft. Today's report proves that some straightforward steps to reduce this significantly could bring a real boost to the economy. The film industry has created a number of services that allow people to access content legally and continues to develop these, but without additional legislative support to deter copyright theft, such services aren't going to fulfill their potential to attract the widest number of consumers."

"Andrew Tessler from Oxford Economics added:

"We've been very cautious in our assumptions in today's report, but it demonstrates that the measures industry has been asking for would benefit the audio-visual sector by £268m in gross revenue terms. The broader economy would enjoy GDP growth of £310m while the Treasury would gain £155m in tax revenues."

Speaking at the launch of the Great Expectations report, David Lammy, Minister for Intellectual Property, said:"

Technological advances in the digital age have seen copyright move from its historic legal and technical backwater into the wider political spotlight. This reflects a similar move in the public psyche - the zeitgeist is about access to information and entertainment. Copyright enforcement is one of the most challenging areas that we have to tackle as part of that."


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