Booksellers urged to support campaign against illegal downloading

Booksellers urged to support campaign against illegal downloading

The Booksellers Association (BA) has released a video which urges people not to illegally download creative content such as e-books, or risk destroying the industry.

The video features Nic Bottomley, owner of independent bookseller Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, and was filmed as part of the multi-million pound government-backed campaign tackling copyright infringement called “Get It Right From A Genuine Site.”

Booksellers are being urged to share the 90 second video, hosted on The BA's YouTube site, along with the hashtag #Genuine, to spread the message about the perils of copyright infringement.

In the video, Bottomley says he was inspired to set up his own bookshop in 2004 when he and his wife were on honeymoon in the US and visited the Elliott Bay Bookshop in Seattle.

“The wonderful thing about being a bookseller is that your job is different every single day,” Bottomley said in the clip. “…You know that when you buy a book from a high street booksellers or a book or an e-book from a legitimate website that the nature of that content, the writer of that book or e-book, has been properly rewarded for their work.”

Bottomley has previously told The Bookseller that copyright is “critically important” to every element of the book industry. “The whole industry functions on everyone getting paid for their effort in the process of getting a book to market,” he said. “From the moment an author comes up with an idea and starts putting pen to paper, it’s based on a collaboration and the fundamental principles of copyright that underpin it. As soon as people start passing things around freely, it removes the principle behind the whole business."

Tim Godfray, c.e.o of the BA, said the ‘Get It Right From a Genuine Site' campaign aimed to inspire people to support what they love by buying from legal sources. “We need to help the creative community to invest in creating more of content, and the development of new artists and writers and ideas as a result,” he said.

Godfray added that is was also a “great opportunity” for booksellers to engage with their customers, particularly younger ones, about the value of content.

The nationwide campaign launched in November and asks the public to "think twice" about where they get their entertainment from. It was devised by creative industries alliance Creative Content UK (CCUK) and aims to promote respect for the creative industries - a key growth area for the UK economy - in order to see it flourish.

Statistics from the Publishers’ Association’s Copyright Infringement Portal have revealed that over 3.3m notices to infringing websites have been served, in the last five years, with over 1.5m links delisted from Google Search in that time.

However, the government’s Online Copyright Infringement Tracker Survey, now in its fifth iteration, shows that publishing has much lower level of piracy than music and film. Of those who do download books from illegal sites,  there is a stronger “bulge” for older infringers aged between 35-55 and respondents indicated that they downloaded the works illegally because it is easy (60%), quick (48%), free (44%).

Meanwhile, the infringers said they would be encouraged to stop if legal services were cheaper (32%), if everything they wanted was available legally (26%) and if it was clearer the website wasn’t legal (23%). Altogether 10% of downloaders said they never intended to stop accessing infringing content.

Susie Winter, director of policy and communications for Publishers Association, said: “It is of fundamental importance that the UK has a strong robust copyright framework.  Authors need and deserve to be recognised and rewarded for their work.  Publishers who invest in them need to be incentivised and given the means to support new talent.”

She added: “While legislation and enforcement are important so is educating people and raising awareness of the contribution copyright makes.  This is why campaigns such as Get It Right From a Genuine Site and the work the Intellectual Property Office is undertaking, which is supported by The PA, are so crucial”.

It is the first time that content creators from the worlds of film, TV, music, games and books have, with the support of government as well as trade unions and retailers, have come together with internet service providers to reduce copyright infringement.

The project is two-fold. First, it will benefit consumers by directing them to safe and secure sources of content. Second, after the campaign has launched, a subscriber alerts programme will kick in early next year notifying bill-payers if illegal content is being shared through their internet connection. The latter is a partnership between the UK's four main internet suppliers -ISPs - BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin Media.