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Business News (more headlines) 07-19-2014

UK Creative Industries And ISPs Partner In Major New Initiative To Promote Legal Online Entertainment

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Representatives from the UK's creative industries and major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have come together with the support of government to launch Creative Content UK, a ground-breaking new partnership that will boost consumer awareness of the wide array of legitimate online content services and help reduce online copyright infringement.

Creative Content UK will comprise two key components. The first, which will launch before Spring 2015, will be a major multi-media education awareness campaign, led by content creators and part-funded by government, that aims to create wider appreciation of the value and benefits of entertainment content and copyright.

The second component is a subscriber alerts programme that will be co-managed and co-funded by ISPs and content creators and due to begin at a later date. Participating ISPs will alert and advise subscribers when their accounts are believed to have been used to infringe copyright. Account holders will receive an alert from their ISP, advising them unlawful filesharing may have taken place on their connection and offering advice on where to find legitimate sources of entertainment content.

Speaking today Business Secretary Vince Cable and Culture Secretary Sajid Javid announced the Government's support for this initiative and pledged £3.5 million in funding for the education awareness component of the campaign.

Vince Cable, Business Secretary said: "The creative industries in the UK are one of our brilliant global success stories. We have unrivalled creativity - from record breaking musicians to box office films - that excite and inspire people all over the world. Yet too often that content is open to abuse by some who don't play by the rules. That is why we are working with industry to ensure that intellectual property rights are understood and respected. Education is at the heart of this drive so people understand that piracy isn't a victimless crime - but actually causes business to fail, harms the industry and costs jobs."

Sajid Javid, Culture Secretary, said: "The Creative Sector is a key driver of the UK economy contributing £8m to the UK economy every hour and underpinning over 1.5m jobs. Copyright is the foundation on which the Creative industries stand and we must ensure it remains strong and continues to support the growth of the sector. The alert programme shows industry working together to develop solutions which support the long-term health of the UK's creative industries. It will play a central role in raising awareness of copyright and pointing people toward legal ways to access content and I welcome this effort."

The initiative has cross party support. Harriet Harman, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and Shadow Culture Secretary said: "I strongly welcome the partnership between the creative sector and ISPs to work together on the Creative Content UK initiative. We need to ensure that talented UK creators and digital innovators see a continued financial return from online services for their ideas and efforts. I hope this initiative will encourage greater uptake of digital services and more responsible use of the Internet to safeguard jobs in the UK and reinforce our position as leaders in world class creativity."

Creative Content UK founding partners include the Motion Picture Association (MPA), the BPI (British Recorded Music Industry), and the four main internet service providers: BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, with the prospect of other ISPs joining at a later stage. It also has the backing and support of a broad range of organisations from across the creative community including the BBC, Equity, the Film Distributors' Association, ITV, the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), the Musicians' Union, Pact the Premier League, the Publishers Association and UK Music.

The campaign will aim to inform and encourage consumers - ranging from the next generation of digital users to 'silver-surfers' - about the huge range of entertainment content that is available from legal and licensed sources; giving them greater confidence when buying and using content online and providing additional guidance about internet safety.

Creative Content UK will operate within the wider context of successful programmes aimed at combating copyright infringement such as the blocking of illegal sites and working with advertisers and payment processors to cut off revenues to such sites. Full details of the initiative, including its branding and the scope of the education awareness campaign activity will be announced in due course.

Commenting on the announcement of the programme, Chris Marcich, President and Managing Director EMEA of the Motion Picture Association (MPA) said: "It is fantastic that the UK creative community and ISPs have come together in partnership to address online copyright infringement and raise awareness about the multitude of legitimate online services available to consumers. We are also grateful to the UK Government for backing this important new initiative. This is just one piece of the overall approach to tackling illegal online infringement and promoting the importance of copyright. This will enable consumers to receive the best possible user experience and sustains the UK's creative community and economy, incentivising the creation of new movies and other creative content."

Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive of the BPI said: "It's a wonderful time to be a music fan - you can listen to almost any song ever released, instantly, wherever you are. But not everyone is familiar with all the different ways to do this - whether for free or from a paid service - while at the same time making sure the artist is also fairly rewarded. This landmark initiative marks the first time that entertainment companies, broadband providers and the Government have come together in a major campaign to engage consumers through their passion for music, film, TV and other content and to support them in enjoying it safely and legally online. It should mark a real step forward for digital entertainment in the UK."

John Petter, CEO BT Consumer, said: "BT is very pleased to be able to support this important announcement today. The UK has a world-leading creative sector which plays a vital role in promoting the nation's economic prosperity.
BT is committed to supporting the creative industries by helping to tackle the problem of online piracy while ensuring the best possible experience for its customers. That's why we've worked very hard with rights-holders and other leading ISPs to develop a voluntary programme based on consumer education and awareness which promotes the use of legal online content."

Lyssa McGowan, Director, Sky Broadband, said: "As both a content creator and ISP, we understand how vital it is to tackle online copyright infringement in order to protect future investment in content. As a result, we're pleased to be partnering with the MPA, BPI and other major internet providers to help make consumers aware of illegal downloading and point them towards the wide range of legitimate sites where they can enjoy great content. We look forward to working with our partners to provide useful guidance for our customers on the issue and, in doing so, help support Britain's creative industries."

Dido Harding, CEO, TalkTalk said: "British consumers benefit from some of the most diverse and exciting creative content. As an ISP, we want to help our customers access that in a safe, legitimate way. That's why we've long been committed to working with rights-holders and Government to ensure we tackle copyright infringement, but in a way that supports our customers. This voluntary agreement, combined with the accompanying consumer awareness campaign, means that customers will have the information they need to make the right choices about how they access content. That's good news for consumers and content owners alike."

Dana Strong, Chief Operating Officer, Virgin Media, said: "We have worked with the creative industry and other broadband providers on this government-backed campaign that will inform our customers about the value of content and help them find compelling, lawful sources online."

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