A simple click of a computer button can give you access to privileged information, download movies and music or post photos online. But that same click can also be criminal and have devastating effects on someone’s life.
California State University, Northridge faculty and students have teamed with federal law enforcement officials to create a series of public service announcements (PSAs), in both English and Spanish, to educate the community about the dangers of stealing intellectual property and cyber bullying.
“They can’t stop all of this, but at least we can educate people about what is going on,” said CSUN cinema and television arts professor Nate Thomas, who oversaw the university’s involvement in the project. “My own production company has been doing PSAs for years. I call it doing social work using film and other media. So, when the federal government approached me about working on the project, I though it would be a wonderful opportunity to involve our students in something for which they can get paid, and they will get credit for working on something that has national exposure.”
Cinema and television arts professor Nate Thomas (left) on the set of the PSA on counterfeit clothing. Photo: Nate Thomas/CSUN
Led by Thomas, the CSUN team created six 30-second television spots and four 30-second radio spots on such topics as movie and music piracy, counterfeit medications, bootleg or knock-off clothing and the stealing of trade secrets.
“The theft of intellectual property victimizes all of us, and through educational PSAs, we can make an impact in reducing these crimes that plague Southern California, from counterfeit pharmaceuticals and auto and aircraft parts to music and movie piracy and the theft of trade secrets, which cost American businesses billions and compromise the economy and national security,” said Bill L. Lewis, assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles office of the FBI.
“These crimes can affect our health and safety, fund international organized crime, contribute to slave labor and hinder creative expression in the fields of arts and entertainment,” he continued. “Cyber bullying is another area where education is key to understanding that such activity has real victims and serious consequences, and the PSA will bring needed attention to the problem.”
Commissioned by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the ads now are available for broadcast as public service announcements on television and radio stations across the country. The PSAs can be viewed at http://www.fbi.gov/losangeles/news-and-outreach/public-service-announcements.
Thomas said CSUN cinema and television arts students worked alongside seasoned industry journeymen in a variety of capacities behind the camera to create the television and radio spots. Editing of the PSAs was done by CSUN students under the supervision of film professor Michael Hoggan, a respected film and television editor with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. In all, Thomas said, nearly 20 CSUN film students, faculty and staff worked on the project.