Rory Cellan-Jones

Goodbye "Knock-off Nigel"

  • Rory Cellan-Jones
  • 2 Apr 09, 00:00 GMT

If you've visited the cinema or watched a DVD over the last few years, you've probably also been on the receiving end of a pretty stark warning. "You wouldn't steal a car, you wouldn't steal a handbag " says the trailer before the film, hammering home the message that piracy is a crime.

But now those trailers - and another anti-piracy series involving "Knock-off Nigel" will be seen no more.

They've been replaced by a series of short ads promoting British cinema and thanking the public for supporting movies by buying a ticket or a DVD. And, as far as I can see, there's not even a mention of piracy.

So did the get-tough tactics fail to do their job - and has the industry now changed tack?

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"Your campaigning needs to evolve over time and have an appropriate message for today,"Eddie Cunningham, president of Universal Pictures International told me. He was explaining the new strategy to me on behalf of the Industry Trust, the body producing these trailers and fighting to promote the copyright cause for the UK film and TV business.

Mr Cunningham insisted that I was wrong to suggest the previous robust campaign against piracy had failed. '"If you went back to 2004, the majority of people didn't realise it was a crime, by the end of that campaign the majority of people realised it was. Research shows us that most people now find it unfashionable - there's been a gradual change in attitudes."

There's no evidence yet though that the tide has turned when it comes to the sheer scale of piracy - though the film industry has commissioned some research which it says could provide at least a hint that progess is being made.

But it seems the real news is that the nature of the anti-piracy battle has changed in two ways. Just like the music industry, the movie business has decided it's not worth alienating its own consumers and the focus has moved from physical piracy to the online variety.

In 2004 most people didn't have a fast enough broadband connection to make it worth the bother of downloading a movie via file-sharing software - now it's becoming a relatively simple "hobby".

And what really struck me about my conversation with Eddie Cunningham was his strong words about the internet service providers and his conviction that the government would force them to co-operate in the battle against piracy. "if you or I owned a house in which prostitution was taking place," he said, "or where drug dealing was happening, we'd be responsibile."

In other words, the ISPs are looking on as the crime of film piracy takes place down their broadband lines, and doing nothing about it.

In France the government is trying to bring in a "three-strikes" law, which would mean persistent film and music downloaders could have their broadband connections cut off.

Mr Cunningham thinks the same thing could be imminent here, if the ISPs don't agree to self-regulation: "It's absolutely critical for the creative industries which are terribly important for the UK, that the government steps in and does something. It's theft and it's only happening because we're making it a bit too easy at the moment."

So behind the softly-softly approach to piracy, there's still a threat. It's just aimed at what the film industry seems to regard as the "Knock-off Nigels" among the internet service providers, rather than at film fans.

UPDATE, 09:40: In a surprise sequel, the Industry Trust has got back to me this morning to say that Knock-off Nigel hasn't been consigned to history after all.

While the "piracy is theft" will be withdrawn, Nigel will llive on, alongside the new "thank you" adverts. So the strategy is even more complex than I thought. Filmgoers will be complimented and mocked at the same time.


  • Comment number 1.

    Why do the music/movie industries insist that ISP's are responsible? This argument just doesnt wash. At all.

    This is like saying Royal Mail are personally liable for every item sent by post. No, never.

    Like Knife manufacturers are held responsible for stabbings? No, never.

    Like Breweries are responsible for drunk and disorderly violence and assaults? No, never.

    People have a right, by law, in the UK to NOT have their connection intercepted or snooped upon by anyone (exception of genuine court orders etc) so based on this theory the ISP CANNOT do anything unless the law is changed so why are the music/movie biz demanding this?

    Are they asking ISP's to behave illegally by snooping with no valid court order? It would seem so. This makes them nothing more than Hypocrites.

    I know the music/movie industry are lobbying to have the law changed to allow snooping, but the music/movie business have made it clear they wont pay for the policing of infringing material online.

    Ok, so one technological industry is expected to be responsible for protecting anothers interests? This is just so wrong.

    Also, just how ridiculous does this sound?

    I know. And they want to be taken seriously by us punters...

    Lastly, I wonder WHY so many people download infringing material ?

    From day one the internet was sold as 'free' and largely it remains that way today. Physical shopping items, yes people pay for, but virtual items are just seem valueless and it seems reality backs this up....

  • Comment number 2.

    So when these new ads are placed on DVDs will they continue to be unskippable, or will they actually allow us to 'consume' the content we actually paid for?

  • Comment number 3.

    I'm curious as to those ads...
    One ad I recognized had the Motion Picture Association of America logo at the end. (The "Illegal Downloading: Inappropriate for all ages" one.)
    Another ad was made by the same people in the same style but had an Australian phone number.
    Those ads are apparently being shown in the UK too. So, who makes anti-movie theft ads?

  • Comment number 4.

    Quite frankly I think the music/movie industry needs to get a grip and "get with the times".

    Not everyone wants to be buying things in the way they want them to be.

    Many people download material as a way of "trying before you buy", so that "you wouldn't steal a car" argument the industry uses is a bit lame because you can take a car for a test drive usually.

    The majority of illegal downloads are followed up at a later date with a legal purchase, the impact of piracy on the industry is minor and always has been.

    What it really boils down to is that the music/movie industry are seeing that we the people are deciding how we consume their products rather than having the terms dictated to us by the industry and the industry cannot keep up, either because they refuse to or just simply cannot.

    The French government also have their heads up their asses when it comes to their "3 strikes" rule, IP addresses can be faked, hijacked and altered by various means meaning that using one's IP address is not a valid way of seeing who is downloading what.

    And when the music/movie industry claim piracy is hurting them what they actually mean is they aren't making as much profit as they could be, not that they aren't making a profit or that they are losing money overall. This attitude needs to change.

    @JonBristol - I must point out to you that the internet is not free at all, we pay our ISPs and phone companies for access to the internet, and while you have to pay someone, no matter how much it is, something cannot be free.

    I do see your point though.

    And it is far easier to download something than it is to visit a local shop, perhaps the movie/music industry should realise this and take advantage of it instead of crying foul over piracy, something which they themselves have created due to their business practices...

  • Comment number 5.

    Forcing the ISP to monitor traffic will not work for several reasons:

    1. How do you identify copyrighted material versus non-copyrighted? People may send the film in a zip file with password protection.

    2. Coping with encryption, the serious file shares will move to using encryption so that while you can spot they are using a P2P protocol you cannot tell what. Perhaps make encryption illegal, but then that would criminalise online banking.

    3. People who have nothing to do with P2P and copyright violation will eskew the invasion of privacy, i.e. the ISP is monitoring all traffic and checking everything you do, and will switch to an overseas encrypted VPN.

    4. Manpower - coping with the wide variety of transfer methods for data and logging, investigating will be intensive.

    5. There are laws in place now, and providers do respond to the court orders, why not do more of these and target the heaviest users.

    6. As with Music provide cheap legal alternatives for those who want to consume films online. Changing to an online delivery model versus traditional goods in your hand is affecting many industries.

  • Comment number 6.

    I used to rent DVDs until a purchased movie would contain trailers as well as insulting anti-piracy messages.

    Warning people against piracy is fine but don't do in on DVD or in the cinema. Surely them being in the cinema is good enough.

    I download movies now. Better service, better quality. Luckily I'll not see these anti-piracy messages because I never watch a DVD or go to the (ludicrously overpriced) cinema.

  • Comment number 7.

    I always thought the Knock-off Nigel ads were terrible. No one actually thinks like the people in those ads. The vast majority of people still dont care if you download stuff 'illegally' or not. If anything the ads were counter-productive, they almost tried to make pirates seem akin to paedophiles. The public isnt that stupid!

  • Comment number 8.

    Bad analogy there on owning a house where prostitution or drug-dealing were taking place.

    For a start, an ISP is more like Royal Mail or BT, just a carrier who has no idea that the parcel is carrying drugs or that call is booking an 'in-house service' in contravention of the Terms of Service and the law.

    A better match for the home-owner analogy is the web-host where the files are uploaded, but that still doesn't make a good analogy. As a landlord, I am NOT responsible if my tenant uses my property for illegal activities in contravention of the lease terms. I'm not the one who gets sent to jail. I can kick them out if I find they are, but by law I can't just pop in at random times to check the bedroom for 'clients' or the hot water cupboard for tinnies.

    Once again the content industry and their flacks have it completely and laughably wrong, unfortunately our polititions are stupid enough to fall for this drivel.

    @ravenmorpheus The majority of downloads lead to a physical sale? I don't think so, I've yet to see any research that says that, and it goes against all personal experience too. The evidence I've seen is that those who download do buy more than those who don't, but there's no direct link between what is downloaded and what is purchased, and the volume of purchase is nowhere near the volume of download, if only because most content is absolute dross not worth purchasing after being 'test-driven'.

  • Comment number 9.


    I think your assumption that people only pirate to try before you buy is ridiculous. From my personal experience and of people I know anything that has been downloaded is rarely bought afterwards, if ever.

    You even contradict your point later in your post buy saying that downloading material is far more convenient than going out to a shop and physically purchasing it. Therefore, why would someone who has downloaded and watched a film go out and buy it? Doesn't make any sense to me...

    Only when the film and music industries stop living in the dark ages and find a way to deliver high quality products at a decent price with the convenience of file sharing will they start to make a dent in this problem.

  • Comment number 10.

    Isn't this a classic 'nudge'? Research shows better results from saying "Do good things, just as other people are" than "Don't do bad things".

  • Comment number 11.

    "The majority of illegal downloads are followed up at a later date with a legal purchase..."

    That's just not true I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 12.

    I'll be glad to see the back of those irritating anti piracy ads. I never could see the logic in bombarding people who have legitimately bought or rented a movie with an unskippable Anti Piracy message.

    I saw a spoof of it once where the message was changed to 'If you had downloaded this film illegally instead of paying for it, you wouldn't have to watch this patronising anti piracy message before enjoying the film...'

  • Comment number 13.

    Certainly the antipiracy adverts enforced at the start of DVDs were driving me up the wall. Its the sort of thing (alongside unskippable adverts) that really made me consider piracy.

    Reward the legitimate consumers, don't punish them. This is a victory for common sense.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think the Film industry need to embrace the ineveitable - It iwll be impossible to stop piracy like this - quite simply as it has been described above, that it is impossible to trace - if you take IP address, this can be hijacked etc and you can be framed for someone elses crime - and if ISPs start investigating everything being sent, you encrypt it.

    Piracy has also helped the industry - I have watched TV programs online because I did not have access to american TV, or because I currently live outside the UK and cannot watch iPlayer - but I do not want to have to watch the poor quality you get on internet streaming (I prefer not to download because of the risks of viruses and the like, and I do not want to bother getting torrent managers etc) - so the programs that I actually find really good and decent, and I wish to watch again, I buy the DVDs for - something I would NOT have done without the internet!

    However, the fact is that Piracy IS still stealing - you are taking somebody's product for free, what is currently illegally - but what would be the difference if a friend of mine lent me the DVD of the film?!

    This is a very grey area and I think it needs to be clarified and organised by the industry - find a way of using the internet as a way of promoting your film - like use a lower quality picture, and then put in the sales pitch at the end of the film to get people to buy it - You will never get Cinema quality film at your PC - so this does not kill off the film industry either - To the film industry, find a way of making the internet yours again

    Look what happened to illegal music downloads - this got cut out very quickly when downloading music became legal, done very cheaply over the internet - maybe the film industry could look at something similar, like about £5 per download of a film, or 50p per TV program - you would very quickly get a lot of business.

  • Comment number 15.

    I found the anti-piracy ads "You wouldn't steal a car, ..." deeply insulting. They were a major reason why I visited the cinema a lot less. After all, how would film company exectives feel if, on walking into a restaraunt, a guy on the door stopped them and said "STOP. DO NOT STEAL THE CUTLERY. WE ARE WARNING YOU NOT TO COMMIT CRIME ON OUR PREMISES". Of course they'd walk out. And then to put the SAME WARNING on DVDs which have been paid for, and make the insults unskippable.
    I cannot be alone in feeling like this. The fact that they're pulling the ads is probably proof that they've finally realised they've shot themselves in the foot by insulting their customers. Such stupidity!

  • Comment number 16.

    The best commentry on those "you wouldn't steal a car ads" came from the IT crowd with their spoof:

    "You wouldn't shoot a policeman, steal his helmet, go to the toilet in it, send it to his grieving widow, then steal it back again"

    Piracy IS a crime, but it is not on the same level as physical theft (Where an actual object with a cash value is removed from a retailer vs. the nebulous concept of the "lost sale"), and equating them thus in an advert diluted the message they were trying to send.

  • Comment number 17.

    As others have said, the irony of the preachy anti-piracy messages is that the only people who had to endure them are those who have purchased a legitimate DVD or a cinema ticket. So, I think a short 'thank you' message is much more appropriate.

    Clearly, piracy is a problem. Perhaps the most significant issue is that many, many people don't see it as a problem. They know it's illegal, but they don't have any moral issues with it. It's like taking stationery from work - technically theft from employer, but people don't tend to see it that way. What I mean is that the mere knowledge of it being illegal isn't enough. So the crass message equating it to stealing a car isn't going to be effective.

    This, of course, led to the awful 'Knock Off Nigel' ads, presumably attempting to attach a stigma to piracy. But it feels so outdated, and not at all in touch with people's attitudes towards the activity. Those adverts are pretty cringeworthy to watch. A number of techniques have been tried over recent years (Nigel, the 'steal a car' ones, ads laughably claiming that pirate copies are of dismal quality) and none of them seem to have had much success.

    I don't know the answer. I also don't go along with the argument that people are 'trying before they buy' and that they buy legitimate copies later. I know people who haven't bought any music or films for years, yet their computers are full of them. Many people feel that they shouldn't bother paying for things that are available free. Of course, anything's available free if you're willing to break the law. So perhaps the parallel with theft isn't so ridiculous after all. Not that it works in an advertising sense.

    Ultimately, if it doesn't seem wrong in a moral sense, people will continue to do it, regardless of whether or not they know it's illegal. I mean, my girlfriend's parents download massive amounts of music, even though they'd never consider committing an offence in the real world. I find that slightly odd.

    What's the answer? I have no idea!

  • Comment number 18.

    "The majority of illegal downloads are followed up at a later date with a legal purchase, the impact of piracy on the industry is minor and always has been."

    I notice you don't reference this ill-defined statistic, ravenmorpheus, so would I be right in saying this is your own opinion rather than any fact? I certainly have never seen any professional report on the subject coming to that conclusion, and I find it incredibly hard to believe that teenagers, sitting in their bedrooms downloading Beyonce onto their iPods suddenly feel wracked by guilt and end up buying a legitimate copy. Utter nonsense.

    It seems every response to this blog is designed to make the poster feel better about the fact that they are stealing.

    Yes. Stealing.

    It doesn't matter how you argue the for or against; strip away the debate over the involvement of ISPs and any rights they have to monitor where your traffic is flowing from. The sheer, unavoidable fact of the matter is that downloading copyrighted material is illegal, and there is no such thing as a person who "doesn't realise".

    It doesn't matter what argument you make.

    It doesn't matter how much film and music producers charge, or how they choose to distribute their product.

    It doesn't matter how you try and spin it.

    You are commiting theft. T. H. E. F. T.

    And before anyone chips in with comments of "do-gooder" or "corporate troll" I myself have downloaded copyrighted material on occasion, just like I would be willing to bet everybody else who has posted here does. The difference seems to be I'm not trying to justify it to myself as anything other than a crime.

    We all know the illegality of such actions, but the majority of people seem to want to adopt a childish attitude of digging up terse excuses to rationalise why they should be allowed to commit this crime.

    At the end of the day, if you disagree with the cost of seeing a film or buying a CD/DVD, don't buy it. It's as simple as that. You don't have some god-given right to access the material regardless.

    Start a campaign, lobby the corporations, tell them what it is you want and suggest a business model they might adopt to accomodate it. Just don't come on here with the usual pathetic excuses and fabricated "statistics" that you heard from someone down the pub who was, most likely, also trying to sell you Wolverine on DVD for a fiver.

  • Comment number 19.

    The anti-piracy adverts, and being forced to watch them even if you've never pirated anything are grossly offensive, as are "un-skippable" adverts.

    Whenever I watch a DVD with either feature, I keep thinking to myself "next time I should buy a pirate copy myself, just to put one over on these idiots".

    Not done it yet, but then I don't watch many DVD movies. The temptation is growing though.

  • Comment number 20.

    So this morning it appears that the "Knock Off Nigel" ads have not been consigned to the scrap heap - what a shame. Has there ever been a more laughable attempt to curb piracy than these ads? What is the aim of them? To insult & give a hard time to those who might dare to download media? The only feeling they stir in me is sheer embarassment for the people that created them & actually thought they would be effective.

    The industry needs to realise that the culture of paying through the nose to see a film in a cinema is changing/dieing. People now have 50" HD TV setups at home and are not prepared to pay upwards of £10 a time to sit in a dirty, stuffy, noisy cinema. It's time for a rethink.

    The studios & distributors need to be getting good quality copies of movies into people's homes, for a reasonable price, at the same time as the box office release. Perhaps at a cost of say £2.50 a time or £5 for an HD copy, preferably without DRM restrictions so end users can burn it to DVD to watch or stream it as & when they please etc.

    Until the industry is prepared to re-evaluate its business model & drag itself into 2009, they'll always be fighting a losing battle.

  • Comment number 21.

    Piracy isn't theft, it's copyright infringement.

    Theft is if I walked into the Lourve and took the Mona Lisa painting.
    Copyright infringement is if I walked into the Lourve took a photo of the Mona Lisa, printed it off and hung it on my wall at home.

    Until the legal authorities actually realise the crime they're trying to stop no-one will take them seriousely.

    Talking of old adverts can anyone explain how someone who bought a PC from PC World, gets their broadband from BT and downloads a movie, watches it at home, then deteles it, is funding terrorism?

  • Comment number 22.

    I find it wonderful that when I buy a DVD I am rewarded with an annoying advert that I can't skip & so delays me getting to the content I have actually paid for.

    Even better is the fact that the annoying advert tells me not to steal media but buy it...which is exactly what I have done anyway!

    Even better still is that I'm sure anyone who is watching a stolen version of the dvd won't have to suffer the annoying advert or waste their time with it. Which makes me wonder whether or not I would have been better off with a stolen copy? Which is surely not the thought process the media providers want to provoke?

    Given that this approach has done nothing to endear me to the media providers I am pleased to hear they are taking a more positive approach to combating piracy...just as long as I can skip the new content!

  • Comment number 23.

    If you download a film illegally you are not subjected to the idiotic "you wouldn't steal a car" ads. If you pay for a dvd, you have to sit through it every single time you watch something. So they reach 100% the wrong audience.

    Here's a way to combat piracy: do something about the cost of watching films. The UK has the world's most expensive cinemas; it can now cost almost £20 for ONE ticket in London. Then you are required to sit through more ads than you will ever see in cinemas in other countries.

  • Comment number 24.

    Posted by Craig-Disko - "Start a campaign, lobby the corporations, tell them what it is you want and suggest a business model they might adopt to accomodate it."

    Don't you think that by downloading such material in the volume that we apparently are that we as consumers are already suggesting a business model that the industry might adopt?

    Funny how the industry seems slow to pick up on that though.

    Yes it is theft but only because the law is written in favour of corporations not the consumer, if the law were written to take into account the way consumers want to access material then downloading material would be considered differently would it not?

    Perhaps my remarks about people trying before they buy are not correct but among my "social group" that is the case, and I frequently download albums to see if they are any good, the ones I don't like I delete from my system, the ones I do like I either see about downloading them again via iTunes or I go and buy them in a shop, purely because if I like something I will support it by purchasing it. Perhaps I am one of a minority who do this though.

    And if such piracy is so rife and hurting the industry in such a way as they claim why has the industry not gone under before now, the internet has been around for long enough to kill the industry off has it not?

  • Comment number 25.

    "The Film industry has commissioned some research which COULD provide a HINT that blah blah blah"

    Quality reporting there. In other news, a BBC Technology reporter may have written a blog post which might, in some other reality, be considered interesting, depending on the day of the week


  • Comment number 26.

    Piracy was NEVER theft and still isn't. There is no such thing in UK law. Copyright infringment is NOT theft, it's a civil thing, theft is criminal.

    I can't believe they are still allowed to class this as theft when it has never been so.

  • Comment number 27.

    Piracy IS wrong, there is no doubt about it.

    Technically speaking it may be copyright infringement - fine - but it is still taking a product or service without paying for it, which amounts to stealing.

    There really is no difference between taking a DVD from a store and downloading one illegally online. Think about this: how much do those 'physical goods' - i.e. the DVD disks - which you say differentiate stealing from piracy cost? 5p each? Probably less. The DVD's don't cost the company money, MAKING the film does!

    Another thought, would getting in a taxi, getting the guy to drive you to where you want to go, getting out and running away be morally ok? You've not taken any physical goods from him, just a service, so that'd be ok then?

    Perhaps taking a movie from a store without paying, copying it and putting it back is ok too?

    Get some morals guys! Stop kidding yourselves with your childish 'copyright' or 'it's not stealing mum!' arguments. Pirating a film is taking the hard work of the hundreds of people who took months to produce it without so much as a penny back. I don't think you'd be so forgiving if someone was siphoning money off your paycheck for their own personal fun would you?

  • Comment number 28.

    As others have already pointed out the absurdity of the Film Studios argument (eg BT is not responsible for phone sex) I will pass on repeating at length.

    However, I am fairly sure I break the law frequently. I buy DVDs, I then use suitable programmes to download them onto my Home server (without the ads!) so that I can watch them later (even in the garden on the laptop) or even let my children watch them on the PSP (great way to shut them up on long car journeys). I also store my music collection on the home server having ripped them off the CD that I bought.

    I have no sense of shame. I paid for the DVD/CD and I using it solely for my own and family's enjoyment.

  • Comment number 29.

    Whats the difference between downloading a film to watch and waiting for said film to come out on tv and then recording it onto a DVD/tape/hard drive - the only difference is time. So is it only the time aspect that makes it illegal?

    With regards to the majority of downloading i do its TV programs, and based on the fact that i have a full Sky subscription, i just sometimes happen to be out, whats the difference between me downloading the episode to watch and watching it on TV.

  • Comment number 30.

    Never posted before but registered to throw in my 2 cents for this subject

    It's been proved that regardless of the tactics employed, people that use P2P are always one step ahead of the game. DRM is another example. This has been cracked, proven worthless and only persecutes the customer buying the legitimate copy.

    As mentioned by others, an IP is no guarantee of who is using the connection or proof of where the end user is. It is easy to use a network program like TOR to anonymise your whereabouts using encryption in multiple layers.

    Also, a lot is being made of public trackers, The Pirate Bay etc. How do they intend on tracking and cracking the thousands of smaller, members only, private trackers that use https?

    I've noticed the BBCs coverage of Wolverine says that the authorities have removed the torrent. But with 100,000 or more downloads, doesn't that mean there are over 100,000 potential copies waiting to be uploaded. 2 minutes and some basic knowledge is all it takes.

    I have downloaded things and I do follow this up with legitimate purchases of content I enjoy. I still go to the cinema but at ten pound a ticket, I'm more selective. Last year I saw one film at the cinema twice, bought the Blu-ray, then brought it twice again for xmas presents. How has my download impacted the industry exactly?

    Arctic Monkeys decided that a good portion of their material would be avaliable online, free to download, on their own fansite. When they released their 1st album it was one of the quickest selling debuts in history, the second album was also a success. I also remember them having number ones and headlining Glastonbury. All those downloads certainly did some serious damage didn't they?

    Why isn't anyone else being this innovative?

  • Comment number 31.

    Oh, and the MPAA have just announced that box office takings were up 5% to a record, all time high of 21.8bn.

    Same people that put these anti-piracy messages on your DVDs, in the cinema, attempt to change the law to prosecute filesharers.

  • Comment number 32.

    i love the Mona Lisa analogy.

    mine goes like this.

    If i buy a DVD, watch it, lend it to my friend, who watches it, and get it back - that is fine.

    If i buy a DVD, watch it, stick it on the internet so all my friends can watch it (i'm not watching it at the same time) - that's bad?

    obviously it is - but what will actually happen?

    until it becomes unprofitable for the studios to make the movie, they'll keep making them.

    The "official" methods for distributing films are flawed. other people in cinemas, adverts, trailers and messages on DVDs, all hinder the experience.

    The viewing public are making their own mind up - we want it now, we want it controllable and we want it cheap.

  • Comment number 33.

    #18 Craig-Disko

    I actually think you're misreading the majoirty of the posts here. I think most people would accept that illegally downloading copyright material is against the law. I certainly am well aware of that, just as I am aware of other things, also against the law, that many people do.

    What is evident from the postings here is that while many would consider it illegal, few or none consider it to be immoral. As a similarly-prevalent alternative; many people in this country smoke cannabis. This is an illegal thing to do, but I'd be willing to guess that, if not a majority, then a huge minority would consider this to be either normal, or a perfectly acceptable (and not immoral) thing to do. But still illegal.

    Quite simply put, it is within the auspices of the BPI, computer games industry, and so on to solve this problem. One good start would be to consider charging a lower amount for people to purchase material digitally (as is the case with music on iTunes). It is beyond laughable that a company would charge the same for a digital version, which many do, when they are not absorbing the costs of:

    - Retailing (well, a cheaper internet version)
    - Disc production
    - Shipping
    - Packaging

    If they addressed that, and brought digital content to a more reasonable price, then more may turn to legal downloading.

    Straw poll on how many consider those industries' profits to be more immoral than illegal downloading?

  • Comment number 34.

    #27 Hive-Mind

    As my post above indicates, there are many more costs than that which online retailing cuts out.

    Once the film is made, it has to be:

    -Written to discs (this process involves expensive capital requirements, as well as the discs themselves.
    -A certain amount of QA checks need to be performed.
    -Discs are then sent (in accordance with projected orders) via freight, to depots.
    -These are then forwarded to individual stores, at further cost.

    In addition, physical retailing requires expensive and attractive covers/boxes/etc. to attract attention and promote sales. This involves production of such material, and design - the latter being particularly expensive.

  • Comment number 35.

    Knock Off Nigel and such adverts on DVD and Blu Rays that I have PURCHASED made me want to BUY THE PIRATE VERSION! Using a stick on those who support the movie industry is moronic.

    I have been saying for many years that the movie software industry should be thanking those who have bought the product, not treating them like criminals.

    Steve Jobs showed the music industry with the iTunes store how to provide a legal music download service. Yet the music industry want him to raise his prices! He's refused because that would only promote piracy. At least someone has some sense.

  • Comment number 36.

    #33 antoniosteve

    I'm with you on the poll.

    As I've stated, and it's reported on this site, the MPAA have said the takings for 2008 are a record haul. If downloading is so distructive to the industry, how is this possible?

    I think the issue is quite simply greed, the reluctance to relinquish control, possibly just refusal to adapt their model.

    If the internet does kill the creative industry (which it won't re: previous post Arctic Monkeys) they could always move into banking?

    Didn't Radiohead also release their In Rainbows album, downloadable for a 'donation' the amount decided by the customer? Essentially 'free' if you wanted it to be.

    Didn't this also go to number 1 when released to disc? In the UK and US simultaniously no less.

    Innovation and adaption to new means to distribute and promote ones work seems to be the down to the decision of the individual.

    Why then has the industry not moved in a similar direction?

  • Comment number 37.

    Keep saying piracy is theft is like saying keep saying the earth is flat. A flat earth was once a perfectly good model to work to, but the earth is flat no more.

    I don't know when the "piracy is theft brigade" will be cast into obscurity by a changing world, it might be 10 years or it might be 50, but I think it will happen. In the 1970s, a record company that sued any radio station for playing their songs wouldn't have lasted very long. Sure there were a lot of people that used to play music they had recorded off the radio on cassette, but there still were enough people buying the singles to make it worth the record companies making them. Of course when radio stations controlled what music people heard, it was all very controlled, but I seriously would like to hope we've moved beyond such control now.

    Maybe the sensible resolution would be to have unauthorised _selling_ of copyrighted material illegal.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    The piracy of intellectual and creative property and the countermeasures thereon is as old as the hills.

    Voltaire's Candide was simultaneously published across Europe to combat piracy. This was in the eighteenth century.

    There would appear to be no cast-iron resolution to this one. We humans can't help but share information and devise new methods to do so.

    Think of this as a never-ending war.

  • Comment number 40.

    Home taping is killing the music industry...

    Well ok it didnt...

    Video taping is killing the movie industry

    Well ok maybe we exagerated...

    Illegal downloading is killing the music and the movie industry... uhh...

    leaving aside the legality issue, which is copyright and the fact that probably 99.9% of the population has broken it at some point by borrowing someone elses record, tape, video, CD, DVD etc.

    1 Download doesnt = 1 lost sale.

    Perhaps if the movie industry got off their fat butts and moved with the times (like the music industry finally has) they could increase their vast profits even more but even if they managed to stop piracy totally tomorrow I doubt that they would notice a big rise in profits.

  • Comment number 41.

    My local cinema, closed last year. It is in a prime position, and the landlords want to redevelop the site. The cinema had previously been running at a profit, privately.

    This means that to watch the latest films, I either have to watch them on dvd, or travel 9 miles to my nearest cinema.

    I live in a town of approx 45,000 people, what does the movie world intend to do about this?

  • Comment number 42.

    Re: #15

    I just love your analogy comparing the Anti-Piracy message on DVD's to a restaurant:

    (quote from "greySailorNick":)


    If anyone actually saw a sign like this before you sat down to eat, you'd walk right out!!!

    Find this sign (which you cannot skip) on a DVD you paid for and you might not want to buy another one quite so soon...

    Im glad they have got the message, or rather we arent getting the message anymore... lol

    A good solution is BT/Virgin roll out EXTREMELY FAST Broadband, connected straight into a dedicated Internet Set Top DigiBoxes which have all the latest HDMI connections to your Flat Screen TV and cinemasound systems for maximum enjoyment.

    Everything should be OnDemand via the TV available 24/7 where you pay a fixed fee subscription.

    This eliminates the NEED for people to download anything at all because there should be a million tv shows online in Hi Quality or Hi Definition available at an instant...

    Whoever makes this system will certainly win.

    BT Vision have it right but....(1) hardly anyone can use it because the broadband speeds arent fast enough in society today (2) There isnt enough content, ie BT Vision is lacking approx 998,000 tv shows and movies on the servers.

  • Comment number 43.

    Posted by JonBristol -

    "A good solution is BT/Virgin roll out EXTREMELY FAST Broadband, connected straight into a dedicated Internet Set Top DigiBoxes which have all the latest HDMI connections to your Flat Screen TV and cinemasound systems for maximum enjoyment.

    Everything should be OnDemand via the TV available 24/7 where you pay a fixed fee subscription.

    This eliminates the NEED for people to download anything at all because there should be a million tv shows online in Hi Quality or Hi Definition available at an instant..."

    How about having it all on the internet and available via a PC that you can download things when you want and keep them for as long as you want and only pay per download or is that too technical for people?

    There are too many restrictions on what you can and cannot do with material at the moment, via services such as BT Vision and the like and it requires a very high speed broadband connection, which most people do not have, something that will remain the same for all but the "elite" who can afford it for a very long time to come here in the UK.

    Oh and then there is the cost of a subscription, I don't know about anyone else on here but I don't have a sky subscription because I cannot afford it and I begrudge having to pay a licence fee to the BBC and co. and a subscription to sky at the same time.

    Pay per download on PC with no restrictions on how long you can keep files, where you keep them, how you watch them etc. is the way to go.

  • Comment number 44.

    Once again, the film industry continues to be stuck in the past.

    First, they release the movie in the cinema. Not only do I have to get there, and pay for a ticket, i'm expected to sit through various advertisements (despite the fact i've already paid to be there) and be shown a video telling me not to pirate stuff, which by virtue of being at the cinema, i'm not doing anyway. And as it's basically in public, you can get stuck with a noisy idiot in the audience.

    Then, after making you wait for MONTHS, they release it on DVD / Bluray. Again, I have to go out and buy it. Again, it has advertisements and piracy warnings at the start. Which often you can't even skip! They seem to have gone BACKWARDS from VHS!!

    What's more, they're making the same mistake as the music industry did with Napster - they're actually ADVERTISING piracy! That's how daft this whole thing is - "knock-off nigel" especially, people aren't THAT stupid, and they'll just be offended into taking the illegal option.

    They need to modernise, and follow the music and games industry into the paid-for download market, at least.

  • Comment number 45.

    The knock-off-nigel song was very catchy, perhaps it actually had the reverse effect...

    I'm off to BitTorrent to get some movies downloaded.. "i'm a knock of nigel a knock of nigel........"

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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