Country Focus: UK
British government to tackle online piracy
by Naman Ramachandran
02/02/2009 - The UK government has taken its first concrete steps to curb rampant online film piracy as set out in a wide reaching interim report with film industry benefits titled Digital Britain, produced by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.
Under the terms of the report, future legislation will ensure that Internet service providers will have to warn their subscribers who are downloading film content illegally that they are breaking the law and provide information about offenders to rights holders. This could allow rights holders to sue copyright infringers directly.
UK Film Council CEO John Woodward said, “The film industry already loses millions of pounds a year through online film theft and today’s announcement shows a real determination to get to grips with this problem for the first time. The fact that piracy is now at the top of the agenda will be widely welcomed by our industry and we now need to work with Government on the best way forward.”
“Digital Britain is clearly going to offer massive commercial and job opportunities for people working in film and content production but if illegal downloading isn't halted then the upside for content owners and artists and ultimately for British audiences will be lost,” he added.
“The film industry is doing a great deal to tackle this issue. Not least in backing a powerful new search engine, FindAnyFilm.com that allows consumers to find any legally available film and download it legitimately,” he concluded.
The UK film industry estimates its annual loss from copyright theft at £486m, with one in three people engaged in some form of film infringement activity in 2007.