Technology

UK Digital Economy Bill proposes legal mandate for Channel 4 to invest in films

MUMBAI: UK‘s new Digital Economy Bill has decided to place a legal commitment on broadcaster Channel 4 to invest in films. The bill, announced by the Queen as part of the state opening of Parliament on 18 November, is expected to become a law in the next few months.


Said head of the broadcaster‘s filmmaking arm Film4, Tessa Ross, "This is a prize we have been working towards for some time and are absolutely delighted that we are well on the way to achieving that goal. Channel 4 has supported Film 4 since its inception and volunteered a commitment to it in a new expanded digital remit back in March 2008."
 
Film4 presently invests around $16m (?10m) a year in feature projects like Slumdog Millionaire that grossed $377 million worldwide and this year‘s awards contenders, The Lovely Bones and Nowhere Boy.


Hailing the measures, UK Film Council (UKFC) chief executive John Woodward said, "Including Film 4 in Channel 4‘s remit for the first time is a prize the UK Film Council has been chasing for many years.


"As long as Channel 4 has not been required by legislation to make films, Film4 has remained on a knife-edge. The new legislation will finally embed Film4 at the centre of Channel 4‘s public service remit." 
 
The Digital Economy Bill also contains a two-stage strategy to tackle online piracy. The first stage is legal action and consumer education about online copyright, followed if necessary by a second stage in which reserve powers would be used to introduce technical measures, such as broadband disconnection.


UKFC chairman Tim Bevan said that the proposals should leave persistent pirates in no doubt that what they were doing was wrong and damaging both the film sector and wider economy.
"Piracy hits film revenues, threatens jobs, and restricts reinvestment back into new movies," Bevan avered.


"The digital film future is a hugely exciting prospect, but one obvious downside to a fully digital world is that piracy will be made even easier, which is why we believe strongly that these measures should be supported and introduced as speedily as possible," he added.
 

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