MSN Sponsors Anti-Piracy Film Contest

MSN UK is holding a contest for both youths and adults aimed at teaching the evils of intellectual property theft - an issue Microsoft is constantly battling to protect its software. The short film competition, aptly titled Thought Thieves, requires entrants to make a commercial-length video about how IP theft affects society.

"Think about it: what would a world look like without protection for intellectual property?" Microsoft asks. The winning films will receive £2,000 of film and video equipment vouchers; runners-up will receive a free trip to London where all of the entries will be screened at a special event.

"Looks like the idea is to tell a compelling story in rather quick fashion why stealing copyrighted material is bad. In a nice touch, the competition is not restricted to 18 years and older. Microsoft has a second 14-17 year-old category," noted Jupiter Research senior analyst Joe Wilcox.

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Films will be accepted for entry until July 1 on CD or DVD in any format compatible with Windows Media Player. Microsoft encourages originality, but reminds contestants that entries "should not include any third-party materials (such as music in which you do not own the copyright)."

"I have to give the Microsoft UK folks credit for creativity. The competition is an intriguing way of educating would-be filmmakers about intellectual property theft," added Wilcox. "Of course, they would learn as soon as their rocking film started making the BitTorrent circuit."

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