Significantly, the Anti Piracy Unit – headed up by John Hilllier – will have a new focus on online and digital theft. This will see ELSPA lobbying for greater power for Trading Standards, the Police and HM Revenue and Customs, demanding stronger laws on IP theft and improved enforcement.
“It amazes me that if someone breaks into my house and steals my TV, the police will do something about it. But the same is not happening when people steal the lifeblood of our business,” pointed out Jackson.
As a result of the new focus on online piracy, the Anti Piracy Unit will move from the erstwhile Evesham office to the Wardour Street HQ. Evesham will be closed, while the software forensics function will be outsourced to a third party. The number of physical investigators will also be reduced as the team concentrates on intelligence-led operations and online activity.
“Whilst we are sorry to lose some of the team, it’s vital we re-organise and channel resources into new areas that respond to the challenges of tomorrow,” explained Jackson.
But most important will be ELSPA’s new emphasis on political policy, with five key objectives (see below) being outlined by the trade body to improve its image, both with Government and in the minds of the public.
“We need to ensure that we are properly heard in the annuls of Government,” added Jackson.
“In summary, I think we were aware that because of the rapid growth of the industry, we hadn’t quite caught up. We’re not suggesting for one moment that ELSPA was old-fashioned in any way; we’re simply positioning the trade body to fight the battles that we expect to face in the future."
THE NEW ELSPA
The trade body has outlined five main policy objectives…
- Promote higher education skills agenda
- Lobby for more/better HE courses, funding and supply of graduates
- Support members in engaging with schools on educational value of games
- Talk about theft, not piracy
- Demand stronger laws on IP protection and better enforcement
- Address the social acceptability of IP theft
- Create and selling compelling industry value data
- Argue strongly for tax concessions or equivalent industry support
Health and wellbeing
- Improve positive perceptions of industry – show the educational benefits of games and the need for responsible parenting
Cultural and Convergence
- Package ELSPA policies as helping to deliver ‘entertainment’ and heading the creative revolutio of the future
- Strongly support DCMS in building industry and promoting objectives across Government