Film minister launches UK film industry theft prevention toolkit

Film Minister Shaun Woodward today launched a major initiative in the fight against film theft at an event hosted by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and the Film Distributors’ Association (‘FDA’) in London.

The initiative ( ‘the toolkit’) combines two key elements to assist those working in the theatrical and distribution sectors and is specifically aimed at protecting film prints and preventing camcording.

Over 90% of pirate DVDs and illegal downloads originate from camcording in cinemas and FACT can now evidence a number of films that have been camcorded in the UK for global distribution by organised criminal networks. With cross industry support, the FACT Best Practice Guide To Prevent Camcording has now been distributed to UK cinemas and is a training and information tool for use by all staff in how to prevent and detect possible camcording. There is also information aimed at police, informing and advising them on how to deal with a suspected camcording incident.

The UK Film Print and Digital Media Management Protocol offers a detailed set of procedures and benchmarks for the secure, efficient handling of film prints at every stage of the UK theatrical lifecycle. This document was prepared in consultation with a wide-ranging task force and is available for reference by all companies, suppliers and service providers in the industry. The document can be downloaded from http://www.launchingfilms.com/piracy/printprotocol.html

Shaun Woodward said,”Film piracy is a crime. Pure and simple. And like any other crime we all have a duty to help stamp it out. This initiative will help those who are best placed to tackle it take swift and decisive action. It is consistent with the Government’s aim of helping build a film industry that is sustainable, stable and successful.

That’s why we’ve brought together government agencies, industry and enforcement in a collaborative approach, in the form of the Intellectual Property Crime Group, to share expertise to prevent and disrupt the growing threat from counterfeiting across a broad range of industries.”

Brian Robertson, FACT Chairman, added, “The clear purpose of the toolkit is to make it as hard as possible for film theft to originate from within the UK.

If you combine our theatrical and home entertainment sectors, we constitute the world’s second most valuable market for film, after the US. The retail value of these two sectors is close to £5 billion a year, and that’s not taking into account the wider economic and cultural benefits directly associated with film consumption.

The UK’s black market in film trafficking runs into many hundreds of millions of pounds a year. We have research suggesting that individual film releases lose up to £1.5 million from their cinema box-office because the titles are copied and distributed on pirate disks or via the internet.”

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