Nigel Green, joint head of leading British distributor Entertainment Film Distributors, is chairing a new task force to tackle piracy in the UK.

The action group includes representatives of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, US studios, actors' union Equity and all sections of the UK industry. The initiative was unveiled this week by support body the UK Film Council, where Green is a board member.

"More than 50,000 people work in the UK's film and video sector and piracy is a direct attack on their jobs and our economy generally, inhibiting the growth of our own industry," said Green. The film business is an international industry and film piracy is a global problem. Acting at a UK level this taskforce will complement and support efforts being made to tackle this scourge across the world."

According to the council, approximately one in three videos purchased in the UK is an unauthorised copy. The number of pirate DVDs, the bulk of which enter the UK from Malaysia and other Asian Pacific rim countries, is expanding rapidly. Pirate copies of The Hulk, Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines, and Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl were available before their actual UK cinema release.

"By bringing different parts of the UK film industry and Government together, this taskforce aims to find ways in which we can curb this menace in the UK," said council chief executive officer John Woodward. "Cheap copies from markets and car boot fairs may seem a bargain but in the long-run we all lose out."