New initiative from the advertising community follows the money to address piracy

This week, the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), an initiative created by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) to attack ad-supported piracy, fraud, malware, and other deficiencies in the digital supply chain, announced the launch of the Brand Integrity Program Against Piracy. The goal of the program is to help advertisers avoid damage to their brands from ad placement on illicit websites and media properties that distribute stolen content and counterfeit goods.

As part of the program, a small number of independent third-party validators, including Ernst & Young and Stroz Friedberg, will certify advertising technology companies that provide tools to restrict the display of advertising on undesirable sites as Digital Advertising Assurance Providers (DAAPs). You can read more about the program here.

This program is very important given that, according to recently released studies, advertising revenue for sites that are mostly dedicated to the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted content reached $227 million in 2013. On the launch of this initiative, Sandra Aistars, Chief Executive Officer of the Copyright Alliance, said:

“We are glad to see brands taking the initiative to deploy validated tools and technologies to keep their ads off of infringing sites. As the organizations setting up this effort have recognized, when legitimate ads appear on illegitimate sites it is harmful to the brands as well as to the artists and other creative people whose work is being stolen. Using validated vendors, brands will be better able to direct and police where their ads appear, and so there should no longer be any excuse to continue piracy supported by legitimate brand advertising. While this is an important first step, ultimate success will require widespread adoption by advertisers, ad agencies, and ad placement entities. Consumers and creators should continue to monitor this issue and encourage brands and ad tech companies to do the right thing.”

This type of voluntary agreements is something that the Copyright Office, members of Congress, consumer groups and the tech industry have all supported in recent years to address online piracy. This program is a step in the right direction, employing a “follow the money” approach. We commend the advertising community for taking it.

Photo credit: mxkabakov/iStock/thinkstock

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