Film studios call for PR aid to fight piracy

A heavyweight grouping of film studios and DVD retailers has brought in agency support as it looks to crack down on film and TV copyright theft.

The Industry Trust for Intel­lectual Property Awareness - whose members ­include 20th Century Fox, Universal, HMV and Virgin Megastores - has hired Blue Rubicon following a four-way way pitch.

An unprecedented £2 million will be spent on advertising and PR for the campaign that will move away from previous ‘lecturing' strategies. and will instead focus on changing attitudes - ­encouraging people to think twice before obtaining illegal film and TV content.

‘The campaign is rooted in the knowledge that, in isolation, finger-wagging doesn't work,' said Blue Rubicon senior consultant Liz Waller, who will lead the account. ‘Traditional campaigns ­increase awareness but this doesn't easily translate into changes in the way people do things.'

The campaign will also have a strong focus on online copyright theft. As the new media market widens, opportunities for illegal downloading are rapidly increasing and more consumers are discovering free downloads on websites such as YouTube.

Liz Bales, director general at the Trust, said: ‘Copyright theft is a problem that continues to damage the indus­try, the economy and consumers. The advance in digital technology means ­illegal downloading is growing, so it is essential to ­urgently devise a strategy that works as effectively both on and offline.'

The 13-month campaign is set to launch in the next month. Its audience will mirror that of film fans, but in particular will aim to target those of all ages already consuming and at risk of consuming illegal or unauthorised material.
PR for the Trust was previously handled for two years by Leeds-based agency JDA.

Copyright theft currently costs the industry in excess of an estimated £700 million per year. The Industry Trust for Intellectual Property Awareness has 22 members and was set up in 2004 by the British Video Association. It works with the police and the Trading Standards to represent the film sector and its employees.

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