Advertising networks seek to cut off revenue for piracy sites


US companies which connect advertisers with websites have agreed to new measures which could lead to sites that infringe on intellectual property rights having advertising blocked.

The new measures, announced on July 15, which have been backed by networks including Google, AOL and Yahoo, will attempt to target sites that host pirated media or promote the sale of counterfeited goods.

Under the guidelines, rights holders can submit complaints about suspected copyright and trademark infringement to the companies, who could then demand the website stops infringement.

If the websites fail to comply the advertising networks could opt to stop supplying advertising.

According to Victoria Espinel, US IP enforcement coordinator, the new guidelines will see rights holders and advertising networks work together to reduce “financial incentives associated with infringement.”

In a statement on the White House’s official website, she says the move is a “positive step” towards reducing online piracy and counterfeiting.

“We encourage the companies participating to continue to work with all interested stakeholders, including creators, rights holders, and public interest groups, to ensure that their practices are transparent and fully consistent with the democratic values that have helped the Internet to flourish,” she said.

The news was met with a mixed response by copyright industry groups including the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)

Chris Dodd, chair of MPAA, said in a statement: “We applaud the interest and leadership in helping to protect the intellectual property rights of innovators and creators and its recognition that legitimate advertising should not be supporting illegal activity online.”

“However, an incremental step forward that addresses only a narrow subset of the problem and places a disproportionate amount of the burden on rights holders is not sufficient,” he added.

Jonathan Taplin, director of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Innovation Lab, welcomed the measures but also warned that they were “just a start.”

He said: “It [the agreement] will reduce the money flowing into the coffers of pirate sites, though they will find replacement ads, at a lower price.”

In a blog post Google said it is “pleased” to be participating in the agreement, adding: “by working across the industry, these best practices should help reduce the financial incentives for pirate sites by cutting off their revenue supply while maintaining a healthy Internet and promoting innovation.”

Other companies that have agreed to the measures include Microsoft, 24/7 Media, Adtegrity, Condé Nast and SpotXchange.

online piracy, advertising networks, Google, copyright, counterfeit