AF asks Government to extend film tax break, stop online piracy

17 Nov 2011

The Audiovisual Federation (AF) has called on the Government to extend the film tax break until 2020 and to implement measures to protect the industry from online piracy.

The IBEC group which represents the film, television and animation sectors in Ireland, said that if the Government wants to achieve its plans to double the turnover of the audiovisual industry to €1bn, it will need to extend tax relief for film projects.

This is covered under section 481 of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997. It aims to encourage investment into Irish-made films, which make a significant contribution to the Irish film industry by offering tax relief to the cost of production.

“The audiovisual sector has the potential to drive economic growth and job creation,” said AF director Torlach Denihan, speaking at a seminar on ‘Online business models and the content industry’ in the Alexander Hotel in Dublin.

“With the right support, we believe the sector can easily achieve the ambitious targets in the Government’s Creative Capital report to double the turnover of the Irish audiovisual industry from €500m to €1bn, double jobs from 5,000 to 10,000, and increase exports of Irish productions.

“It is essential that the Government continues funding the Irish Film Board and extend the film taxation incentive Section 481 until 2020, both critical measures for the ongoing development of the industry. The extension of Section 481 to 2020 would allow for greater certainty and commitment for inward investors,” said Denihan.

The AF has also called on the Government to put measures in place to protect the media industry from online piracy.

“The audiovisual sector is facing a number of challenges, ranging from shaping the role of the public service broadcaster in an era of new online platforms – smartphones, tablets and net books – to developing new business models that will monetise content,” said Andrew Lowe, Element Pictures director and AF chairperson.

“Companies are investigating new production funding models, advertising approaches and innovative partnerships between advertisers and production companies.

“However, piracy remains the greatest challenge for the industry with over 100,000 movies illegally downloaded each week.

“We need a speedy conclusion to the consultation process currently under way on aspects of copyright law by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Industry needs a workable and robust solution. It is essential that the proposed Statutory Instrument on copyright infringement be implemented as a matter of priority,” he said.