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NZFACT: school holiday campaign against movie piracy

The New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft’s (NZFACT) public education drive continues this school holidays with the release of a comic book, Escape from Terror Byte City, distributed via Reading, Hoyts and SkyCity cinemas.

Aimed at five to ten-year-olds, the comic tells the story of Jeremy and Ben who become trapped in a virtual city after downloading an unauthorised copy of a movie from a peer-to-peer filesharing site.

NZFACT executive director Tony Eaton said education was ultimately the most important tool in preventing copyright infringement. “Only the public can put movie pirates out of business – by saying no to pirated material and supporting the investment, creativity and hard work from the people that give us the movies we love.”

The initiative was launched at Wellington’s Reading Cinema by Motion Picture Association (MPA) executive vice-president and chief policy officer Greg Frazier.

“Raising the level of awareness around piracy’s effects is crucial. It jeopardises the ability for a movie to make money and this impacts on the level of investment available for new films. It’s always the smaller, local screen industries – like New Zealand’s – that suffer the effects of piracy the most because they’re the ones that can least afford any loss of income,” said Frazier.

The MPA is a trade association representing seven international producers and distributors of theatrical motion pictures, home video entertainment and television programming. Its members are Buena Vista International, Inc. (Disney, Touchstone and Hollywood Pictures), Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International, Inc., Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM and United Artists), Paramount Pictures Corporation, Twentieth Century Fox International Corporation, Universal International Films, Inc. and Warner Bros. International Theatrical Distribution, Inc. (Turner, New Line, Castle Rock).

The comic book joins a range of education initiatives launched in the past year. These include: Delivery of 130,000 English and te reo maori education brochures to schools; creation of a new anti-piracy trailer for use in the cinemas and collaboration with the Ministry of Education to incorporate the teaching of intellectual property issues into the school curriculum.

Kids’ flicks screening this school holidays include Aliens in the Attic, Coraline, G-Force, GI Joe, Hannah Montana, Harry Potter 6, Ice Age 3, The Rocket Post, The Secret of Moonacre, Transformers 2 and Up. After a quick bit of scouting around, this writer found all of those titles available for illegal download, some as DVD rips, so the anti-piracy efforts still have a way to go.

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