FACT enlists U.K. charity in film theft fight


LONDON -- U.K. anti-piracy watchdog the Federation Against Copyright Theft said Wednesday that it has partnered with local charity Crimestoppers to provide a 24/7 call service for the public to report film theft.

FACT had been using a number that operated only during office hours, but with an increase in its investigative resources, it said the time had come to improve its reporting facility.

"The association with Crimestoppers reinforces the message that film piracy is a serious and organized crime, generating nearly £200m ($407 million) a year for criminals and threatening the jobs of those working in the U.K. film industry at all levels, as well as those in the retail, rental and cinema sectors," FACT director general Kieron Sharp said.

Sharp added that the link with Crimestoppers, which provides an easier and quicker means to report film piracy, also would provide FACT "with high-quality intelligence on those seeking to profit from the theft of films in any format."

In support of the new partnership, the Industry Trust for IP Awareness, which comprises a broad range of content owners, is launching a large-scale online awareness campaign to educate Web users about the new way to report copyright theft.

The campaign uses online advertising techniques to urge Web users to keep an eye out for those selling illegal content, and signposts the new Crimestoppers service.

"Copyright theft is no longer just about dodgy DVD dealers at car boot sales. The challenge is much wider than that, and as an industry we need to adapt our tactics accordingly," said Paul Archer, acting director general of the Industry Trust.

"With the Internet now a major source of illegal content, it's an important channel for the Crimestoppers message. Our online advertising campaign reminds Web users that copyright theft in any guise is a crime and urges them to report it, whether they see it at their local car boot sale or in the pub, or spot illegal content being sold online."