Italy group unveils new piracy campaign


VENICE, Italy -- The Italian Society of Authors and Editors on Wednesday unveiled a new public awareness initiative aimed at curbing the rising tide of pirated films and music in circulation in Italy.

According to officials from the group, known as SIAE, Italy is responsible for more than its share of piracy in film industry, which they said has a worldwide economic impact estimated at €13 billion ($17.8 billion). Problems in Italy include lax law enforcement, limited public awareness and a close proximity to Eastern Europe, where many pirated films are made, officials said.

Unlike other anti-piracy plans that focus on law enforcement, sanctions and laws, the SIAE-sponsored initiative focuses on limiting demand for pirated products by calling attention to the problems they create and educating potential consumers of the products.

The centerpiece of the initiative -- announced during a special briefing on the sidelines of the Venice Film Festival -- is a 50-second spot from director Alex Cimini that will air before films screen in Italian cinemas.

The spot, which was unveiled during the briefing, shows a stylish young man at his computer with loud music playing in a room filled with film and music paraphernalia. As the camera circles around him, the youngster becomes less stylish step-by-step while items disappear from the room around him. In the end, he's left wearing outdated clothes and broken eyeglasses as a blank CD drops from his hand and falls to the ground. The tagline reads: "Pirating erases the world you love."

In addition to the new spot, SIAE said it will send representatives -- and in some cases music and film personalities -- to more than 13,000 schools around Italy to educate students about the issue.