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U.K. to educate public about piracy

British org launches copyright theft campaign

LONDON — The U.K. audiovisual industry is launching a $6 million campaign against copyright theft that will shift the focus away from enforcement and criminality to educating the public of the damaging effects of piracy on the creative industries and wider society.

The linchpin of the campaign, spearheaded by the Industry Trust for Intellectual Property Awareness, is an ad that aims to create a social stigma around the casual consumption of counterfeit goods.

The Knock-off Nigel character is a centerpiece of the campaign — a happy-go-lucky fellow who in the TV ad is humiliated in his local pub for being a “grubby little man” who “buys knock-off DVDs.”

According to Johnny Fewings, m.d. of Universal Pictures U.K., Nigel is designed to “make it shabby behavior” to buy from pirates.

ITIPA research has revealed that 30% of the U.K. population participates in copyright theft although 75% of the population is now aware it is a crime.

According to the Industry Trust, piracy costs cinema £102 million ($202 million) a year (13.5% market value), retail $594 million (14%) and rental $55 million (8%).

Previous Industry Trust awareness campaigns have played up the link between piracy and how it bankrolls organized crime. But, although mentioned, the link between piracy and organized crime was not given top billing at Monday’s announcement.

The annual campaign kicks off June 1 when the first Nigel ad airs on TV. Follow-up cinema, homevid, online and outdoor campaigns are planned. Beer mats with cheeky messages poking fun at Nigel types are part of the multimedia offensive.

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