N.Z. actor fronts anti-piracy campaign


SYDNEY -- Maori actor Temuera Morrison is the face of a new anti-piracy campaign launched Tuesday by New Zealand's Federation Against Copyright Theft as it seeks to put a dent in piracy that costs the local film industry NZ$70.89 million ($53 million) a year.

Morrison, who starred in Lee Tamahori's "Once Were Warriors," is featured on 4,000 posters distributed to 2,700 secondary schools around the country with the tagline "Buy Original: See Original." The national education campaign is supported by the New Zealand ministry of education.

On the poster, Morrison says: "Movie piracy is now a global epidemic, and we all have to work towards stamping it out. That means you, your family, your friends, their family, their friends. We can all help by refusing to be a part of this illicit and illegal trade."

Said NZFACT executive director Tony Eaton: "It has never been more urgent that the younger generation understand the moral and commercial value of creative copyright. Our students are the filmmakers and creators of tomorrow, and it is important that we all join together to ensure the film and television community survives to provide jobs for them in the future."

The new campaign follows a report prepared by Los Angeles-based management consultants LEK for NZFACT and the MPA that shows piracy cost the film industry in New Zealand an estimated 25% of its potential market in 2005.