Lord David Puttnam, President of the UK’s Film Distributors’ Association (FDA), has stressed the importance of continued support and public investment in UK film distribution during this Olympic year and beyond, to allow UK cinema admissions and box-office to continue to flourish. He also used his keynote speech to the UK film industry to call for improved copyright enforcement in the digital age, and for consideration of EC plans for pan-European licensing
In announcing publication of the FDA Yearbook 2012, the release of a new cinema trailer highlighting British achievement in film as part of the GREAT campaign for 2012, and an approach to copyright to support investors and creators, Puttnam said that the key to the digital future, “or rather, the present – lies in forging new models, creating and sustaining new relationships with audiences. Here in Britain, we want our creative industries to remain at the forefront of the digital economy. A vital step for the technology sector is to signpost legitimate search options far more clearly and to delete links to sites that promote illegally sourced content. If the UK is to get a new Digital Copyright Exchange emerging from the Hargreaves and Hooper reviews, I hope the Government will ensure that it focuses solely on information to assist licensors and licensees to link up, rather than attempting to reinvent the wheel that is commercial trading,” he said
Puttnam also called for a new public information campaign, once the various government-backed reviews of aspects of copyright have run their course, to illustrate the role of copyright in enabling the creative industries to develop, attract jobs and investment, and deliver valuable experiences to audiences. The FDA notes that Intellectual Property is one of the areas in which the UK really flourishes, with over 10 per cent of national exports being derived from the creative industries.
Attention also needs to be paid, said Lord Puttnam, to the ideas being suggested to the European Commission which could result in moving away from a system of licensing rights based on national borders, to one based on the single market, which would be likely to disrupt the fragile ecology which accommodates the diversity of films and local tastes across the European Union. “The UK still needs to do everything it can to ensure that we have a state aid regime that continues to support British film culture and the audiences for British film, just as it has done over the last few years,” he said.