Pisano urges more work against piracy

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TOKYO -- Japan has taken a "huge first step" in the battle against movie piracy by enacting legislation that outlaws camcording in theaters, but pressure must continually be applied, MPA chief Bob Pisano said here Friday.

Addressing the inaugural Tokyo International Film Festival Intellectual Property Rights Forum, Pisano urged film industry representatives to work together with other copyright industry groups to educate consumers on the importance of intellectual property rights.

"We need to take our case both to young people and to older citizens, individuals who should appreciate even more profoundly the relationship between the unlawful reproduction of legal products and the loss of honest jobs, income and tax revenues that are critical to building a better society," he told the audience.

Pisano applauded the August enactment of legislation barring the use of recording devices in Japanese cinemas, noting that the MPA, in partnership with a coalition of Japanese film industry associations, supports legislation that would amend Japan's Copyright Law to criminalize unauthorized downloading of copyrighted content.

"While we are doing a great deal to address the problem of piracy, we need to do more and we need to do it urgently," he added. "We in the movie industry must work with our counterparts in the music business, the game software business, the computer software business, with governments and with educational institutions.

An MPA-sponsored study by independent research firm LEK Consulting shows that piracy cost the film industry in Japan $742 million of potential revenue in 2005, of which $216 million was estimated to have been MPA member company losses.

Another key target for the MPA remains changes to the article of the copyright law that enables a person to download content without permission if it is for "personal use."

"That is a legal loophole that you can drive a whole movie library through," Pisano told The Hollywood Reporter.

Discussions with government and police representatives have been positive, Pisano said, adding that he believes the political will exists to bring about changes, though it will not happen as quickly as the changes concerning camcorders in movie theaters.

The third step, he said, is to work with ISPs to devise ways to ensure that content is not illegally downloaded. While current data privacy rules serve to hinder this aim, he said, the aims of data protection and property rights are not inconsistent.
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