new tactics in film piracy battle

The UK film industry is changing the focus of its fight against piracy.

A series of adverts warning people against the offence have been withdrawn and replaced with a campaign thanking the public for their support.

The Industry Trust says cinema and DVD sales rose in 2008 and its campaign message "You wouldn't steal a car... piracy is theft" transformed attitudes.

But it still sees illegal downloads as a threat and wants internet providers to cut off customers involved.

It also wants the government to step in if self-regulation fails.

The new adverts for cinema audiences and DVD buyers in the trust's You Make The Movies campaign thanks the public for paying to see films.

The campaign comprises of three trailers directed by Little Britain director Steve Bendelack, which show fans paying homage to iconic moments from Lord of the Rings, the Life of Brian and Jaws.

The voice-over for the adverts is by Bafta award winner Noel Clarke - who played Mickey in Doctor Who and is the director of Adulthood.

He said it was vital the campaign used humour to get its message across.

"We know recession is hard but if you're going to the cinema and you see something like this... it's a little bit of humour to say thank you for coming.

"Here's the industry not saying 'don't do this' but instead it celebrates the public by saying 'here's a skit of a film you may remember'.

Online leak

"It's a way of thanking them because without them doing that the movie industry, particularly over here, could be in jeopardy.

"If everyone chose to buy knock off DVDs and downloads, eventually British film production would dry up altogether."

The Industry Trust For Intellectual Property Awareness said the biggest threat to the film industry is from illegal digital downloading.

The campaign launch comes as a copy of X-Men Origins: Wolverine starring Hugh Jackman has been leaked online a month before its cinema release.

Since being uploaded to file sharing websites on Tuesday, more than 75,000 copies of the film have already been downloaded and reviews by users have started appearing online.

The film is not due for release in the UK until 29 April and 1 May in the US.

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