Film, TV Makers Demand Piracy Action, Five Months Late

imageOver 100 members of Britain’s film- and TV-making elite – including Kenneth Branagh, Mike Leigh and Lynda La Plante – are calling on the government to urge ISPs to help stop movies being illegally traded online, warning some of 800,000 jobs are at risk during the downturn. The group wrote a letter to The Times

“We are very concerned that the successes of the creative industries in the UK are being undermined by the illegal online file-sharing of film and TV content … In relation to illegal downloads of TV programmes, the UK is the world leader, with up to 25 percent of all online TV piracy taking place in the UK. Popular shows are downloaded illegally hundreds of thousands of times per episode. We are asking the government to show its support by ensuring that internet service providers play their part in tackling this huge problem.”

Perhaps they missed this summer’s big government file-sharing initiative, when the UK’s four top ISPs, the British Phonographic Industry and the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform signed a memorandum of understanding that would compel the providers to educate consumers away from illegal downloading. Another signatory to that memorandum – the Motion Picture Association of America

It’s not clear why domestic organisations like the British Film Institute, Bafta or PACT did not sign up to the document – but the stance taken by these letter writers is little different from that agreed to in July, with many consumers already having received warning letters from their ISPs. PA reports the letter writers are now backed by Bafta, UK Film Council, the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association, Equity, the Entertainment Retail Association, the Film Distributors’ Association and the British Video Association. Better late than never?

The letter continued: “Internet service providers have the ability to change the behaviour of those customers who illegally distribute content online. They have the power to make significant change and to prevent their infrastructure from being used on a wholesale scale for illegal activity. If they are not prepared to act responsibly, they should be compelled to do so.”

(Photo: Jordi Motlló, CC, some rights reserved)