NZFACT launches comics to increase awareness of movie piracy


MUMBAI: The latest addition in the New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft’s public education drive aims to spread the anti-piracy message at the cinema this school holiday season.

Children watching the latest releases at their local cineplex over the coming weeks will receive the comic book, Escape from Terror Byte City, which was launched at Wellington’s Reading Cinema by Motion Picture Association executive vice-president and chief policy officer Greg Frazier.

"Raising the level of awareness around piracy’s effects – particularly among the young – is crucial in preserving the vitality of the screen industry. There’s no doubt piracy has hurt the film industry worldwide. It jeopardises the ability for a movie to make money – if at all – and this impacts on the level of investment available for new films. It’s always the smaller, local screen industries – like New Zealand’s – that suffer the effects of piracy the most because they’re the ones that can least afford any loss of income," said Frazier.

The comic book joins a range of education initiatives launched in the past year. These include: Delivery of 130,000 English and te reo maori education brochures to schools; creation of a new anti-piracy trailer for use in the cinemas and collaboration with the Ministry of Education to incorporate the teaching of intellectual property issues into the school curriculum.

The latest initiative will see some 17,000 comic books distributed through the Reading, SkyCity and Hoyts cinema groups.

Commerce Minister Simon Power said, "I welcome this initiative as part of an education campaign to raise awareness of the costly effects of piracy on New Zealand’s creative industries. The government is committed to working with all stakeholders to address this issue."

The comic book aimed at five to ten-year-olds tells the story of Jeremy and Ben who become trapped in a virtual city after downloading an unauthorised copy of a movie from a peer-to-peer filesharing site.

NZFACT executive director Tony Eaton said while there needed to be deterrents for illegal filesharers, education was ultimately the most important tool in preventing copyright infringement. "Only the public can put movie pirates out of business – by saying no to pirated material and supporting the investment, creativity and hard work from the people that give us the movies we love," he added.