This week, GroupM, the global media investment management giant, adopted the Trustworthy Accountability Group’s (TAG) anti-piracy guidelines. This is a big win for the group’s efforts, and an example of how companies can voluntarily “follow the money” to fight piracy. Last February, TAG announced the Brand Integrity Program Against Piracy initiative to protect brands from showing up on illegal websites that exchange pirated content and counterfeit products.
Participants in the anti-piracy program agree to only work with vendors certified as Digital Advertising Assurance Providers (DAAPs). To be certified, vendors must show they are limiting exposure to piracy sites by providing tools to identify and prevent ad transactions.
GroupM is responsible for one in three ads, and accounts for $106B in client investments. The company is calling the adoption a “major leap forward” in ensuring brand safety for their clients. It is also a major leap forward for combating piracy. According to a 2014 report from Digital Citizens’ Alliance, an estimated $227M funnels into the hands of piracy sites through ad revenue each year. And since piracy sites do not pay for the products they “sell,” they get to keep upwards of 94% as pure profit. With GroupM’s commitment, the legal online environment for creative works grows healthier.
“The Copyright Alliance applauds the major step taken by GroupM to address ad-sponsored piracy. This move should help reduce the revenues that flow to sites that traffic in infringing content,” said Terry Hart, Acting CEO and Director of Legal Policy at the Copyright Alliance. “When legitimate ads appear on illegitimate sites, it not only harms the creators and innovators whose work is being stolen, it also harms the brands being advertised. We hope other agencies and brands follow GroupM’s lead and adopt the TAG guidelines.”
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