The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) recently launched what it is calling the Brand Integrity Program Against Piracy. The program will coordinate with companies in need of advertising and reliable advertising agencies in an attempt to diminish the number of advertisements that appear on websites which facilitate access to illegal content or counterfeit goods.The Brand Integrity Program Against Piracy was supported at its launch by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a several organizations and companies involved in advertising, online publishing, advertising technology, media, and consumer protection, including:
- Advertising: Association of National Advertisers (ANA), American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), GroupM Interaction
- Advertising Technology: Collective, DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science, L-3 and MiMTiD, sovrn, Veri-Site, whiteBULLET
- Media: Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), CreativeFuture, Copyright Alliance
- Consumer Protection: International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC)
Any advertising agency that wants to participate in TAG’s new initiative can do so by using validated tools and services to identify and prevent advertising from running on websites which violate core IP principles.
TAG will also work with third party validators, such as Ernst & Young and Stroz Friedberg, to certify ad agencies as “Digital Advertising Assurance Providers” (DAAPs). In order to be certified as a DAAP, advertising agencies must be able to identify ad risk entities, prevent advertisements on undesired ad risk entities, detect, prevent or disrupt fraudulent or deceptive transactions, and eliminate payments to undesired ad risk entities. Once an ad agency is certified as a DAAP, it can work with companies to ensure that their ads do not end up on websites with illegal content.
This is a very important initiative considering there has been a rise in the number of ad-supported piracy websites. The Digital Citizens Alliance released a February 2014 report entitled “Good Money Gone Bad,” concluding that websites selling advertising against illegal content make roughly $227 million in annual ad revenue. The largest Bit Torrent websites are making more than $6 million a year, but even some of the smallest websites make more than $100 thousand a year.
While it is hard to estimate how much of this ad revenue is lost to the original artists and brand owners, even a $1 loss to innovators and entrepreneurs due to theft of IP is very unfortunate. This initiative and other private tools, such as WheretoWatch.com and Rightscorp, are a step in the right direction towards diminishing the size and scope of online piracy and the sale counterfeit goods and content.Strong IP rights are important for ensuring that content providers, artists, innovators, and marketers can earn a return on their ideas and labor, incentivizing more innovation, investment, and economic growth.