Last month, TorrentFreak reported that the Creative Content UK (CCUK) “Get it Right” anti-piracy campaign had ended the practice of sending infringement notices to ‘pirating’ Internet users in the UK.
“The educational emails sent by ISPs upon detection of infringing file-sharing activity have served their purpose and are ceasing, with the focus instead increasing the broader engagement with fans based around their passion for music, TV, film and all other kinds of creative content,” a CCUK spokesperson told us.
The wider campaign, which is funded by the UK government and run by music and movie industry groups BPI and MPA, launched a new phase today. It aims to educate consumers on the efforts expended during the creation of original content in the hope that will lead to a natural decline in piracy rates. Hearts and minds, if you will.
It begins with the first installment of a new mini-series featuring creators (social influencers) talking about their own content and what it takes to produce it, including the work put in by those behind the scenes.
Quite smartly, CCUK has gone down the “accessible superstar” route in its first episode by featuring popular YouTuber Caspar Lee and ‘influencer’ Snoochie Shy, who together have more than 10 million followers on various platforms.
Given that this writer had to Google for information on both Lee and Shy, it seems clear that the target audience of the campaign is relatively young. We spoke to CCUK who confirmed our suspicions.
“The principal target audience of the Get it Right campaign overall is 16-34, but the focus of this particular influencer video (and others to come) is more 16-24 – so Millennials and early Gen Z essentially. It may also resonate with some younger, early-teen Caspar and Snoochie followers too,” a CCUK spokesperson explained.
As the video notes, Caspar Lee starred in a movie (Laid in America) which according to CCUK was heavily pirated to the tune of 500,000 downloads/streams in a single month. This in itself raises an interesting question.
If Lee’s followers are his biggest fans, presumably they already have some level of respect for him. If that’s the case, why did so many of them pirate his movie, even after having semi-direct ‘personal’ contact with him through his social media channels? That’s something CCUK hopes to address with its campaign.
“One of the paradoxes of Internet/social media led fandom is arguably that there can be huge love and passion for the artist/influencer, their content and what they do and have to say, but this doesn’t always translate into their content being accessed from the right sources,” CCUK told TF.
“Some fans may even think – ‘this guy must be making loads of money – he’s not going to miss if I don’t pay for it.’ But the reality is that artists and creators do feel it, particularly new ones trying to break through.
“Think how many young creators are looking to make a living from the Internet and from creating content, and all the people that work with them, who can all be seriously impacted. Caspar and the people that worked with him didn’t get to make a sequel for example.”
CCUK add that some of this unofficial consumption may be down to a genuine lack of awareness, with people having difficulty differentiating between official and pirate platforms, for example. But whatever the reasons for piracy, the group’s leaders hope to use their education campaign to encourage a change in both behavior and attitudes.
“It’s encouraging to see Get It Right quietly but surely having a positive effect, and that its core message is getting through,” says Ian Moss, BPI Director of Public Affairs.
“Fans have a clear choice – If they value the creative process, and access content legally from licensed sources, creators will be able to invest more of their time and creativity into producing the music, film and other entertainment we love. If they don’t, and creators feel less able to take risks and invest, this rich choice will diminish for us all.”
Marianne Grant, who co-leads on the campaign for the MPA, believes that people who have been exposed to the Get it Right campaign are now more willing to see how their own actions can make a difference by spending more time considering whether to consume from legitimate sources.
“Since Get it Right was launched, more people are taking that time, with the almost 30 per cent of the population who have been exposed to Get it Right materials reducing significantly their use of infringing content,” Grant says.
“Our task now is to reach further into the population with these interesting and important messages – to provide more engaging and informative content to improve people’s understanding about the creative process and all the people who are involved in it – and to encourage further change.”
A CCUK spokesperson informs TF that this first ‘influencer’ video is “effectively a pilot”, the results of which will shape the direction of future videos in the series. They will target the same age group, so expect to see similar “influencers” playing a key role in future productions.
Whether the campaign will make a real difference “on the ground” remains to be seen. However, reading between the lines and given the target audience, older pirates may not be considered the biggest problem in the UK right now. And of course, they’ll be more set in their ways, so molding younger minds may be the easier option.
They’ll also know who Caspar Lee is, which is a big plus and a good start.