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ASCAP, i-Safe go after pirates

Duo pact for anti piracy

ASCAP and i-Safe have partnered in an effort to prevent kids from illegally downloading Internet content.

New alliance, which launches a campaign this month that target the age demo 10-14, sends an anti-piracy messages though the introduction of unsavory cartoon characters like “Donny the Downloader,” a puckish, naughty downloading doofus who rips and burns with abandon.

Out of concern that RIAA’s legal approach to illegal downlaoding did not fully address the piracy issues, ASCAP researched and created an educational tool.

While stiff fines and jail sentences are strong motivators, ASCAP’s exec veep Phil Crosland wanted to educate.

“RIAA certainly sends a strong message,” Crosland said. “But it needs to be accompanied by an educational message.”

That’s when ASCAP gave birth to ‘Donny’ in January 2005.

Donny is a typical 14-year-old who loved skateboarding, Extreme sports, computers, video games, but most importantly, loves music. He is far more technologically advanced than his parents and illegally downloads all his music. ASCAP paints him as a loser or poser to other kids but who tries to impress everyone with his with his access to music without taking the trouble to pay for it.

With each misadventure, Donny painfully discovers yet another unexpected person he’s hurt with his illegal downloading.

“Understand this character and what he does,” Crosland said. In the end of the program, “Donny” learns his lesson.

To help with distrib, ASCAP reached out to iSafe, a national government (Department of Justice) and corporate (Microsoft, Verizon, RIAA) funded program for in school Internet safety education, reaching 2.2 million kids nationally per year.

To prep campaign, org also tested the program in junior high schoolers and found that after viewing the Donny Downloader program 60% more likely to legally download music, 66% more likely to use legal online stores for downloading music 67% less likely to make illegal copies of music for friends in the future and 73% less likely to accept illegally downloaded music from friends.

In February 2006, ASCAP tested “Donny” in Syracuse and Orlando movie theaters. After running one time before the featured movie, 361 interviews were completed with kids 10-17 as they were exiting the theater and found their animated character to be effective and found 84% found Donny entertaining or likeable and more than 78% said they found it informative and they had learned something new.

“Donny” rolls out nationally to schools this month.

“This is going to make a difference in the attitude towards illegal downloading.”

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