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ELSPA announces new policy plans for 2007 that include modernising, communication and re-organising for a bright new future.

Friday 19th January/...ELSPA, the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association, today outlined its manifesto for 2007, which will lay the building blocks for the games industry body's strategy for the next five years.

The main thrust of the initiative is driven by a strategy to modernise. This will be supported by a new focus on key policies that are primarily driven by new technologies and the changes taking place in games, outbound communication and co-ordinated government partnership. It will also include a re-organisation of ELSPA.

The Leadership Initiative was announced by ELSPA Director General Paul Jackson. The modernisation sees ELSPA become the first major entertainment industry to significantly re-organise its anti-piracy unit. Its leadership position will provide an increased focus on Internet and digital download piracy.

ELSPA Director General Paul Jackson, said: "ELSPA's role and challenges in the coming years are central to our thinking with the Leadership Initiative. As an organisation ELSPA has to change and be ready for the challenges of the next five years."

The three strategy points behind the new ELSPA are:

Modernise - An overhaul of ELSPA's structure and expenditure

Engage - Provide more focus and resource on outreach

Provide - Increased resources for servicing its membership and positioning the UK as the world's cultural capital for games

This will be supported by an increased focus on political policy, which will also drive broader ELSPA communication. As a result, ELSPA established five main policy objectives on which to work with government to improve its image and stature within Whitehall and the mind of the public and sustain its future as the European Capital for the games business;

Education - promoting higher skill levels among new industry entrants through better learning opportunities at school and improved course provision in higher education

Crime - challenging policy makers to attack IP theft more vigorously

Economic value - highlighting the importance to UK wealth generation of a vibrant games industry

Health and Wellbeing - improving understanding of the educational and social value of gaming

Culture and Convergence - demonstrating that games are at the core of the digital and creative revolution

ELSPA will continue the parliamentary contact, meeting regularly with political stakeholders in order to drive political focus to the 2007 policy objectives. This will continue to promote the cultural and economic importance of the games industry, as well as updating and communicating with stakeholders the modernising objectives.

As a launch pad to modernising and increasing political communication the re-organisation of the ELSPA Anti-Piracy Unit will result in a new focus on online and digital theft, which has become a major area for concern.

The changes will also see ELSPA concentrating additional efforts on lobbying for greater power for Trading Standards, the Police and HM Revenue and Customs, demanding stronger laws on IP theft and improved enforcement. As theft moves swiftly into the digital age a new level of support will be required in the protection of IP.

The changes to the Anti-Piracy Unit will entail closing the Evesham office, and the redundancy of the office manager position. The software forensics function will be outsourced to a third party. The need for physical investigators will be halved from six as work will be focused on significant 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" says Paul Jackson.

He added: "I'd like to thank everyone for their hard work over the last ten years. The closure of the Evesham office marks the end of an era, but also the beginning of a new one."

ELSPA will be the first to make this move tackle digital and online IP theft, this leadership move will provide the level of attention required as piracy develops online.

ELSPA's 3-P's; Protect, Provide and Promote will still be maintained.


Editor's notes

About ELSPA -

ELSPA (The Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) was founded in 1989 to establish a specific and collective identity for the computer and video games industry. Membership includes almost all companies concerned with the publishing and distribution of interactive leisure software in the UK.

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