ScreenDaily rounds up the industry reaction to key proposals for film industry from the Digital Britain report.

Reaction to the report’s legislative proposals to tackle illegal file-sharing.

Stewart Till, chairman of the UK Film Council: “The final Digital Britain report represents a major step forward. For the first time, there is a clear commitment from government to pass legislation giving a strengthened regulator the powers to force ISPs to take action against egregious and illegal piracy. We welcome its ambition but feel that, if these targets are to be met, tough deterrence schemes will need to be implemented to ensure that higher broadband speeds do not lead to a colossal increase in illegal file-sharing.

“This is an extremely thoughtful report which focuses on the big issues but which also sheds a welcome spotlight on a broad range of very important areas of media policy. We welcome Lord Carter’s recognition that digital switchover for cinemas is a pressing policy issue, and his awareness of the ongoing achievements of the UK Film Council’s screen heritage and film education strategies.”

Lavinia Carey, Chair of Respect for Film and Director General of the British Video Association: “The Government is right to place increased responsibility on ISPs to protect on-line content, as by working together with content providers, ISPs will make it harder for persistent file sharers to operate without rights owners resorting to immediate legal action.”

“The report is an important watershed as it acknowledges that ISPs have a responsibility to tackle online copyright theft in co-operation with content owners. 

“The forwarding of notices is an important first step in educating consumers that copyright theft is wrong and illegal.  We are worried, though, that the Government is relying too much on legal action against consumers within its proposals, and we remain concerned that a 12-month delay before the possible implementation of technical measures is a wasted year”.

Spokesman for Alliance Against Intellectual Property Theft: “The alliance welcomes the announcement that the role of ISPs in combating illegal peer-to-peer file-sharing is to be entrenched in legislation. 

“However, we remain disappointed that this role is to be initially limited to the sending of notification letters, leaving mass litigation by industry as the only other next step.

“Given the numerous non-mandated technical measures which could be implemented easily and effectively, on those who, despite warnings, continue to infringe, we believe the legislation should include provisions for this to take place immediately, leaving legal action as a last resort.”

Legislative proposals to unlock orphan works

Spokesman for the British Film Institute: “The BFI has welcomed many of the recommendations in Lord Carter’s Digital Britain Final Report published today, particularly around the Government’s position on orphan rights issues and film education - as well as its recognition of the BFI’s role in preserving the UK’s film and television collections and making them more publicly available.

“Currently the law prevents archive organisations such as the BFI from making copies of any films that it does not own the rights to, even for preservation purposes. Under the new proposals the BFI will be able to restore and make high quality preservation copies of the orphan works it holds in the BFI National Archive (as much as 10 per cent of the collection) available to the public.

“In the event of any commercial gain from public access, screenings, DVDs and so on, the BFI will hold back money should a rights owner subsequently become evident

Recognition that film needs to be used more creatively across the school curriculum

Spokesman for the British Film Institute: “For many years the BFI has advocated for film to be widely adopted as a teaching tool and a compelling education resource across the curriculum, calling for the teaching of film ‘grammar’ and the understanding the ‘film sentence’ to be recognised as an entitlement for every school child. We are pleased therefore to note that the Report places importance on this, stating that “by learning to ‘read’ films”, young people are learning new skills to make them literate in the digital world.

“The Report also recognises the benefit of recent Government investment in preserving and making available the national and many regional film archive collections for public enjoyment and learning. The BFI is working with a number of partners to deliver the Screen Heritage UK project which aims to ensure that the public have digital access to these film collections, regardless of where they live or where the material is held.”

The overall report:

Skillset chief executive Dinah Caine: “It is vital that the UK is in a position to fully develop world-class media content and exploit the dramatic shift to digital technology. Today’s Digital Britain report is a very welcome step in this direction. We must make sure that we are in a position to seize opportunities and do not get left behind in the fast-changing media landscape.

“The report sets out an overall framework and will undoubtedly be a major boost for the development of the creative sector. In this increasingly digital age, jobs can quickly be filled across the globe. We must make sure the most skilled-up digital workforce, as well as the best technology, is in place to be able to compete. One cannot happen without the other. The UK must become a magnet for digital talent.”