Celebrities join campaign to stop piracy

Monday, September 7 2009, 14:59 BST

By Andrew Laughlin,

The Wire star Dominic West and EastEnders actress Tamzin Outhwaite have backed a new campaign to encourage young people to avoid online piracy, according to reports.

Fronted by actor and film director Nick Moran, the Connected To British Film And TV campaign will replace the previous Piracy Is A Crime adverts.

The new campaign will take a much softer stance to the problem compared to its predcessor, which likened piracy to stealing cars and also said that it helps to fund terrorist groups.

Appearing soon on TV and in cinemas, the new ads will try to encourage people to pay for content as this will help to fund future TV and film productions.

It will be backed up by an online campaign asking people to give their support for the UK film industry and also create a map of movie locations around Britain.

As a snapshot of the problem, the Industry Trust for IP Awareness (Itipa) said that many people in the 16 to 34 age group do not now see why they should pay for online content.

Recent research revealed that just 39% of this age group, dubbed generation Y-pay, would spend money to rent or see movies on the internet.

Itipa director general Liz Bales told The Guardian: "With the digital revolution set to open up access to more unauthorised film and TV content, it is going to be more important than ever for people to understand the positive connexion they have to the British creative industries, such as film and TV. Our industry must share responsibility for showing the public the positive role they play.

"Film and TV is the industry that we as a nation are most proud of, the challenge is that generation Y-pay underestimates how vital they are to funding future films and TV shows. They don't realise that without them [purchasing legal downloads], great British film and TV couldn't get made."

Last month, the government signalled its intention to boost the powers recently put forward in the Digital Britain report to combat illegal file sharing, including stiffer measures to cut off the internet connexions of persistent file-sharers and copyright infringers.

However, the proposal was widely opposed by BT and Virgin Media as they believe a persuasive rather than heavy handed approach is better to tackle the problem.