We are writing to thank you for the progress you have made in addressing the exploitative practices used by some in the online advertising marketplace, including the diversion of advertising to websites
engaged in piracy.
Your pledge to act to reduce digital piracy is commendable. In your June 19 letter to the Co-Chairs of the International Creativity and Theft-Prevention Caucus, you highlighted the “Core Criteria for Effective
Digital Advertising Assurance” that you are developing, as well as the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s recently announced “Trustworthy Digital Supply Chain Initiative.” We believe these are the kinds of industry-led voluntary actions that can most effectively take the profit out of piracy.
Of course some action against ad-sponsored piracy is better than none, but news flash, ad-sponsored piracy is not news. Every few months it seems some new initiative is announced yet, in reality, in the land of the online pirates and their quest for profits, nothing much has changed. A year ago the White House released a statement on best practices to “Combat Online Piracy and Counterfeiting” which included this statement:
The Administration strongly supports voluntary efforts by the private sector to reduce infringement and we welcome the initiative brought forward by the companies to establish industry-wide standards to combat online piracy and counterfeiting by reducing financial incentives associated with infringement. We believe that this is a positive step and that such efforts can have a significant impact on reducing online piracy and counterfeiting.Y
Is there an echo in here? Why all this coddling of piracy’s enablers? Enough with the self-congratulatory preening. DO SOMETHING! Four years ago I wrote this on my blog about ad-sponsored piracy, popuppirates.com, when I launched the site in June of 2010:
In the process of scouring the web for the thousands of illegal download links and online streams of our film (more than 55,000 documented to date) I quickly discovered that various, theoretically legit companies, seemed to be (indirectly) generating income through the placement advertising on websites featuring streams and download links to pirated films. In addition, and most troubling, is that fact these ads generate income for operators of these pirate websites and add to generous profit totals for ad providers…
…The nature of the advertising varies, but I was dismayed to discover that the ads were not limited to cheesy online gaming sites, etc. Rather, they include a number of legit companies like Sony, Radio Shack, Pixar, Porsche, ATT, Chase, Network Solutions, Auto-Zone and even Netflix (particularly ironic since they carry our film). The list of advertisers goes on and on. It’s the same situation, if not worse for other films. Ads are ubiquitous on pirated content throughout the web
Now, exactly four years later what has changed? Not much…
Just this morning I checked out primewire.ag, a notorious pirate site and within moments was confronted by major brands advertising promoting their products while simultaneously filling the coffers of the pirate profiteers. As I reloaded the pages and clicked through listing of download links to movies like “The Transformers-Age of Extinction” and “Rio 2” I was greeted with ads from Lexus, Verizon, ATT, Domino’s Pizza, State Farm Insurance, Mucinex, Dick’s Sporting Goods and BP popping up directly beneath a ” Support the Site” plea. This is just one pirate site and it took me less than 10 seconds to find multiple major brands advertising there.
Time for talk is over. I’ll “thank” advertisers for their (overdue) response when–and if– I click on these pirate sites and don’t see this anymore: