Moving to galvanise whatdelegates described as a desperate Mexican film industry yesterday (9), leadingfilmmakers and trade groups from the US and Mexico signed the Declaration ofSanta Monica.

The declaration was issuedat the 10th meeting of the US-Mexico Bilateral Film Industry Committee andresolved to pull the Mexican industry out of crisis by encouraging public andprivate support, lobbying lawmakers in both countries to create productionincentives and undertaking joint anti-piracy efforts.

The familiar issue of piracywas one of the key topics under discussion at the Hotel Fairmont Miramar inSanta Monica, where attendees were told that the Mexican film industry lostroughly $50m to copyright abuse in 2003.

Motion Picture Associationof America (MPAA) chief Dan Glickman joined Independent Film & TelevisionAlliance (IFTA) head Jean Prewitt in supporting international cooperation oncopyright protection, echoing Prewitt's words that a strong Latin Americanindustry was important for the overall health of global filmmaking.

Glickman, who earlier thisweek said online piracy represented an immediate and highly serious threat tothe US film industry, pledged to visit Mexico within the first six months of2005.

In a key presentation JimSpertus, the MPAA's vice president and director of US anti-piracy operations,warned of a super-fast transmission network known as Internet 2 that iscurrently being used by 207 US universities and some private businesses.

Internet 2 comprisesreactivated high-speed routes originally developed by fibre-optics companiesduring the 1990s internet boom, only to be abandoned when the bubbleburst.

Spertus said that during anInternet 2 speed test in August officials downloaded a full-length feature filmfrom a server in Sweden to the California Institute of Technology in fourseconds.

A similar process usingcurrent broadband specifications would typically last several hours.

Earlier Spertus tolddelegates that the film industry was a couple of years away from reaching thelevel of piracy abuse experienced by the recording industry.

He added that authoritieswere investigating methods of thwarting illegal camcorder recordings intheatres that included sniper tracking technologies and infra-red deployment tojam recordings.