Brits target IP theft acceptance

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LONDON -- With almost one in three people in the U.K. now said to be acquiring or viewing illegal content, British home entertainment companies on Monday announced the launch of a major new campaign to change consumer attitudes toward copyright theft.

Under the auspices of the Industry Trust for IP Awareness, a broad coalition of content owners, wholesalers and retailers, the campaign will aim to create a social stigma around the consumption of illegal content. The initiative marks a move away from previous messages that concentrated on enforcement and the criminal nature of those involved.

Kicking off in June with a national television advertisement that also will be screened in cinemas around the U.K., the campaign features "Knock-off Nigel," described by the Trust "as a label for the type of character that buys 'knock-off' DVDs and downloads illegal content."

The campaign also will feature online and viral marketing as well as targeted print editorial and will be supported by a substantial PR drive aimed at underlining the value of copyright.

According to the Trust, new research shows that copyright theft cost the U.K. film and television industry £460 million in 2006. Losses to the DVD retail sector were equivalent to 14% of the sector's total value and cinema losses equivalent to 13.5%.

"The campaign is a bold new approach to tackling copyright theft. We know that lecturing and hectoring people can make them switch off so we hope to engage and involve them instead," Trust director general Liz Bales said. "The Knock-off Nigel concept uses humor to get a very serious message across in a light-hearted way that British people can relate to."

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