The Department of Justice and McGruff the Crime Dog have released their latest media campaign yesterday, targeting the wide world of piracy.
The campaign ties the aforementioned piracy and counterfeiting to to rather unwanted outcomes such as drug trafficking, gang violence, child labour, and the usual suspects of the industry. This all stems from research from the National Crime Prevention Council claiming "The public believes that “bargain” products—getting something they want at a cheaper price—is a normal part of life." The more interesting quote of research would have to be found in the 'key findings:'
NCPC’s icon, McGruff the Crime Dog, is a valuable asset in educating people about intellectual property theft. Seventy percent of older adults (31 and older), when prompted, recognize McGruff. Forty-nine percent of younger adults (ages 18 to 30) are aware of McGruff. Sixty-six percent of adults say they would be likely to act on advice from McGruff. Nearly half of teens (45 percent) say the same.
I know the dog is awesome for children; but for adults too? But back to the subject of piracy. What better way to present this than showing just where that money goes when you buy a pirate DVD from a Russian gangster, to only be transported Final Destination style into what sins 'just a few dollars' funds.
There you go. Hope you're feeling guilty. No? Maybe the British alternative would help.
Another video was also released in this campaign string, which tells the tale much more intuitively. Firstly, it dives away from physical media piracy, something most of us avoid anyway, and it shows internet piracy taking money from artists metaphorically through a busker and passers by taking money out of her guitar case.
The point of all this in the end, as the Department of Justice put so well, is that IP theft is not a 'victimless crime' and we all must rise above it to help push our media forward:
Fortunately, we can all be part of the solution. Anyone who suspects an IP crime can visit cybercrime.gov, fbi.gov, or iprcenter.gov to report suspected offenses. The public’s proactive attention to these issues can help us to disrupt the sale of illegal goods; to prosecute the individuals, gangs, and international criminal organizations that profit from these activities; and to stop those who would exploit the ingenuity of others for monetary gain.
Of course, all of this is not to say it will have any effect on piracy at all...
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.