Speaking at the launch of the Film Distributors’ Association Yearbook today, Lord Puttnam offered “a recipe for copyright rehabilitation”, including a “search function code of ethics.” His speech also touched on proposals around EU licensing rights.
Lord Puttnam today urged the technology sector, the film industry, the Government and the public to vigorously fight piracy: “We cannot continue down the road we are on. We must reverse attitudes,” he told an industry audience at the launch of the Film Distributors’ Association yearbook at London’s Claridge’s Hotel in Mayfair.
In a wide ranging speech, FDA president Puttnam proposed a seven-point “recipe for copyright rehabilitation.”
The first point was for the government to move faster on implementing the Digital Economy Act: “Now that the judicial review process that followed the Digital Economy Act is complete, it’s time for the Government to press ahead with implementing the Act in accordance with the will of Parliament, as expressed almost two years ago!”
Next, Lord Puttnam called for “the technology sector to signpost legitimate search options far more clearly – and, flipping the point around, to actually delete links to sites that continue to promote illegally sourced content…they’d be cleansing their networks of infringing material at the very time that the roll-out of super-fast broadband is pumping up demand for audio-visual content….what I’m advocating here is nothing less than a modern-day, common-sense code of ethics for all aspects of ‘search’.”
His third ambition was for a tender to advertising agencies: “As soon as practical after the Intellectual Property Office’s current consultation on adjustments to the copyright regime – adjustments which, to my mind, seem modest and reasonable – could a tender please go out to advertising agencies, particularly digital ad agencies, for a new public information campaign?”
“It should clarify in plain, stress-free English, how copyright actually enhances our enjoyment of life by enabling and sustaining content and experiences that delight and inform us,” he continued.
Fourthly, he said: “If a new UK Digital Copyright Exchange does emerge from the Hargreaves and, more recently, Hooper reviews, I hope the Government will ensure that it focuses solely on information, to assist licensors and licensees to link up, rather than attempting to reinvent the wheel we know as ‘commercial trading’.”
His fifth point was for the industry to achieve the right tone in the fight against piracy while his sixth related to the ongoing importance of the BFI’s P&A fund: “The effectiveness of the Prints & Advertising Fund, supporting film distribution, was spelled out in the Smith Report [The Film Policy Review], and I urge the BFI to prioritise the boosting of this fund in the immediate future.”
Last among his action points was the need to develop aspects of citizenship in schools, “encouraging kids to become far better informed citizens, with some experience of moral and cultural issues past and present, and better able to make responsible choices.”
Lord Puttnam also stressed the importance for the UK not to succumb to EU proposals for state wide film licensing agreements: “Attention needs to be payed to to the ideas being suggested to the European Commission which could result in moving away from a system of licensing rights based on national borders, to one based on the single market, which would be likely to disrupt the fragile ecology which accommodates the diversity of films and local tastes across the European Union. The UK still needs to do everything it can to ensure that we have a state aid regime that continues to support British film culture and the audiences for British film, just as it has done over the last few years,” he said.
Puttnam expressed dismay at the “damaging mess that were SOPA and PIPA [Stop Online Piracy and Protect IP Acts ] in the US a few weeks ago…both were farcical failures – this was 20th century thinking, not just defeated but routed by the 21st.”