The MPAA is stepping up itsanti-piracy battle in the living rooms and college dormitories of America as itannounced a new phase in its public education campaign this week.

The latest move sees aseries of advertisements in daily newspapers, consumer magazines and more than100 college newspapers warning of the perils of illegal downloading.

"We hope this ramped-upinformation/educational campaign will cause those who are taking films withoutpermission to stop their illegal activity," outgoing MPAA president JackValenti said in a statement.

Valenti added: "But we willkeep all of our options open, including legal action."

Public education has been aprominent plank in Valenti's policy ever since the MPAA embarked on itsofficial anti-piracy thrust late last year.

The body already runs twosets of trailers on every theatre screen across the country as part of itsMovies, They're Worth It campaign, and has played public service announcementson broadcast and cable networks.

However the success of apublic education programme like this is by no means certain.

While parents are likely tograsp the message that illegal downloading is a no-no, there may not be acorresponding acceptance among the generation of computer-literate youngsters,for whom file sharing and instant downloads have hitherto been a routine andmostly legitimate practice.

Valenti will no doubt bemindful of the risks that come with enforcing intellectual property lawsthrough the justice system. Similar moves by recording industry chiefs sparkedoutcry among consumers and the media.

The MPAA is working with ITcompanies to develop technological solutions to illegal downloading and is intalks with more than 120 colleges and universities nationwide to createself-enforceable codes of conduct for student computer use on campus.

It also claims to havedeveloped a successful cooperation with the educators coalition JuniorAchievement, as more than one million young students in grades five throughnine learn about copyright and the protection of creative property.