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New Effort To Cut Pirate Web Sites
New Effort To Cut Pirate Web Sites' Advertising Gravy Train

By Seth Fitzgerald
July 16, 2013 10:31AM

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While Google and other companies love to automate much of their work, these new anti-piracy policies will focus on communication between content creators and ad networks. Rights holders will first have to find a copyright infringement and report it, then they will also have to provide proof that the ads are being served on a specific ad network.

The basic concept of piracy is that people do not want to pay for media and they would rather steal it than "waste" some of their money on the product. Even though this applies to the regular user of pirating Web sites, the Web sites themselves care very much about money and require it in order for them to stay up and running.

In order to combat these pirating sites in a new way, Google, AOL, Yahoo and others are working with the White House to cut off revenue to pirates by kicking them out of their advertising programs. This will be the first wide-scale attempt to target pirating sites in any way other than actually shutting them down by pulling the plug on their servers or by cutting off access to their URL.

All of these advertising companies are working directly with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and members of the White House. Their main goal is to shut off ad services to Web sites "principally dedicated to selling counterfeit goods or engaging in copyright piracy."

Completely Optional

The IAB and the Obama administration were able to cut out almost any legislative process regarding this new anti-piracy measure by allowing advertising companies to voluntarily change their process instead of making it mandatory.

Ad networks that decide to follow the new ad-serving protocol will include anti-piracy language in their "Terms and Conditions," continuously contact media creators to prevent pirated copies of their content, and post these new policies on the ad network's Web site.

Google's Ahead of the Game

This is definitely a new development for many of the ad networks that agreed to cut off revenue streams to pirates. However Google has been fighting piracy for years. In 2012, Susan Molinari, Google's vice president for public policy, announced the company had "disabled ad serving to 46,000 sites for violating our policies on copyright-infringing content, and shut down more than 82,000 accounts for attempting to advertise counterfeit goods in 2012."

Even as recently as last week, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said that content creators should take pirates to court instead of relying solely on Google to shut them down. Google has fought piracy on YouTube even more than in its search engine. Even though many users have disliked YouTube's removal of pirated content, Google has continued to take down thousands of videos every month.

Cooperation Is Key

While Google and other companies love to automate much of their work, these new anti-piracy policies will focus on communication between content creators and ad networks. Rights holders will first have to find a copyright infringement and report it, then they will also have to provide proof that the ads are being served on a specific ad network.

Of course, ad networks will prefer to have most of the responsibility fall on the content creators instead of Google, AOL, or Yahoo having to deal with tons of angry rights holders.

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