OWF Supports Moments Worth Paying For

Picture the scene. You€™ve just bought a DVD and you€™re happily settling down to your purchase when an (unskippable) advert appears on screen. Jarring guitar music starts playing. €œYOU WOULDN€™T STEAL A CAR,€ observes the first title, handily accompanied by a visual representation someone stealing a car. Well, no, you think, if I thought about it, I don€™t suppose I would... You are then given a short list of other things you wouldn€™t steal: a handbag, a television, a movie. Then we reach the crux: €œDOWNLOADING PIRATED FILMS IS STEALING. STEALING IS AGAINST THE LAW.€ It€™s rare for an advert to be quite so patronising to paying consumers, whittling down a complex argument into a stubbornly black-and-white one, but the €˜Piracy Is A Crime€™ campaign from the mid-noughties managed it. Its enforced presence on DVDs for years ensured an infamy that still lingers; and its memory was immortalised in a pitch-perfect parody on Graham Linehan€™s sublime sitcom The IT Crowd, which reduced the false equivalency of the argument to the absurd (€œYou wouldn€™t shoot a policeman!€). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcJtk6_6lgs For years a bloody battle was waged between pirates and studios, with entertainment industry bodies in the US suing individual consumers for inordinate amounts of money. This seemingly disproportionate response to the threat of file sharing and the needlessly negative campaigns led to the anti-piracy movement being shunned by many, particularly online communities. Things have changed. The studios now realise that they cannot ignore the influence of the internet and the ever-evolving methods people consume their entertainment. Linehan, for example, is an outspoken supporter for a grown-up debate on the thorny issue of piracy, and it seems the industry is starting to listen. Being lectured about copyright might not seem like a fun night out; but last week your plucky reporter did just that. OWF attended the launch of a new campaign from the Industry Trust, the body which represents the copyright interests of the film and television industry here in the UK. The £5million campaign, €˜Moments Worth Paying For€™, begins in cinemas this week and, as the Industry Trust€™s Liz Bales told me, the new commercials are a conscious shift from €œanti-piracy to pro-copyright€. The series of adverts show cinemagoers experiencing a variety of emotions in slow-motion, enjoying films. The campaign also promotes FindAnyFilm.com, an online resource which aims to provide all legal sources for any movie at all, whether in cinemas, on television, DVD or online. It€™s an admirable move, working to compete with online pirates at their own game, in their own environment. And it highlights the free, legal avenues of watching films - the online rental service LoveFilm has recently launched a selection of movies that subscribers can watch via their website. The adverts are well-made, too, beautifully shot and - crucially - don€™t patronise the paying audience. It€™s an obvious effort to celebrate cinema and the intangible pleasure we all get from it. During the launch evening many speakers talked of €œwinning hearts and minds€, recognising that many file-sharers were not drug-dealing Vietnamese gangs but ordinary film fans who wanted quick and easy access to their chosen entertainment. Whichever side of the debate you fall on (and the figure of £500m in annual losses to piracy is a little suspect) the undeniable truth is that piracy isn€™t cool; and it does eat away at the industry, which in this country is struggling plenty enough anyway. So the €œMoments Worth Paying For€ campaign, and FindAnyFilm.com, are respectable efforts to support films and filmmaking. Whether they will dent the efforts of online pirates remains to be seen. €œMoments Worth Paying For€ will be shown in cinemas from cinema's this week. FindAnyFilm.com is live now. Where do you stand on the piracy debate? Do you download movies illegally? Are you pro-copyright? Leave your comments below and watch a few of the campaign adverts;

I ramble incessantly about film, music, TV, etc.