Enjoying the latest films and music? Spare a thought for those who created it – The Guardian

Posted by Google News | Industry News | jueves 26 diciembre 2013 7:54 pm

It’s a scene we’re all familiar with: the family gathered for Christmas, eating a delicious meal, swapping jokes pulled from crackers, children enthusiastically unwrapping presents, singing carols or listening to the Queen’s speech. And perhaps later, relaxing on the sofa as James Stewart discovers the true meaning of family in It’s a Wonderful Life.

Maybe your loved ones prefer The Wizard of Oz, Home Alone or another festive favourite. But whatever your choice, there’s no denying that entertainment – the films we can quote the lines from, the Christmas specials we cringe at and the seasonal CDs we have on in the background – has been a part of many Christmases past.

Nowadays, families may be laughing at Christmas videos on YouTube, tweeting, watching specials on a tablet or sitting plugged into an iPod listening to music that sounds distinctively non-Christmassy. Or perhaps they will still be watching a Christmas film, keeping up the tradition.

The question is: will they be watching it legally? Will they have gone to one of the growing list of legal download sites that offer recent releases, such as Man of Steel, for under £4 each, or will they decide that, after buying generous Christmas gifts, they can’t spare a few pounds to ensure that at Christmas in the future there will still be songs, films and books to enjoy?

Charles Dickens had a name for the type of person who could not look beyond their own narrow interests to see the impact of their parsimony – Scrooge – but of course we know that, because enough of Dickens’ readers recognised that the arts needed to pay. In fact, Dickens was an early champion of international copyright law, making himself hugely unpopular on an 1842 tour of America after he called for Congress to recognise the copyright of British authors: «Firstly because it is justice; secondly, because without it you can never have, and keep, a literature of your own.» It took until 1891 for Congress to act – and today it seems surprising that international copyright was ever in doubt.

These days too many of us – of all ages – seem to think that the theft of creative content is a victimless crime, taking profit from big businesses that have plenty to go around. Those who run sites that host copyright-infringing content think they have the right to do so, that their theft is justified – no matter that 345m tracks were illegally downloaded in only the first six months of last year, or that more than a third of all films viewed online in the UK infringe copyright. We think that the industry bigwigs will enjoy one less glass of champagne, or have to fly economy rather than first-class to the Caribbean. Those circulating copyrighted content can be as Scrooge-like as they please, because there’s no Tiny Tim to think of.

Except that there is. The creative industry in this country is no Tiny Tim – it is, in fact, one of the UK’s biggest success stories, with 1.5m jobs dependent on it – but from sound engineers to camera crews, and from printworkers to retail shop assistants, this industry is vital to the future of our economy. It creates jobs, not just at big record companies and studios, but at thousands of small, independent companies, and for thousands of singers, dancers, actors and writers, who are finding it ever more difficult to survive in an industry that is losing £500m a year to copyright infringement.

Whatever our taste, we all surely benefit from the global creative industry, which allows us to choose the type of entertainment we prefer, whether Breaking Bad, Beyoncé or Downton Abbey. Lionel Guyett, an actor in Downton Abbey, is one of a host of industry figures to have backed the Creative Coalition Campaign‘s petition urging politicians to support measures to tackle the theft of creative content online. So have I – and so have Arlene Phillips, Tim Piggot-Smith and hundreds of others working in all corners of the entertainment industry. Why? Because we are proud of Britain’s rich creative history, from Shakespeare and Dickens to Downton, and we are fearful for its future.

The CCC, a partnership between creative businesses and unions, believes it is time for our representatives to stand up for creators and workers by making a commitment to support the fight against illegal downloading and streaming. With only one more Christmas before the general election, the CCC has launched a new petition calling for all parties to make this a manifesto priority in 2015.

At Christmases past and present, we have laughed, cried and cheered for much-loved characters created by artists who dreamed of making it in the creative industry and got there. We have smiled to see George Bailey‘s luck change and his Life become Wonderful, and we have watched Macaulay Culkin see off the baddies with any number of ingenious schemes. We have listened to recordings of White Christmas and Fairytale of New York, or sat down with a book when we just needed a bit of peace. It’s time to make sure that, at Christmas in the future, we can do the same.

Source Article from http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/26/film-music-christmas-creative-industry

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