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New best practice plan to ban piracy sites from getting online ad revenue gets mixed response

Every hard­work­ing busi­ness devel­op­ment man­ag­er likes to see grat­i­fy­ing online adver­tis­ing sales gen­er­at­ed by his agency’s cre­ative tal­ent; but what he doesn’t like to see are pira­cy web­sites enjoy­ing any rev­enues from those ads. Thanks to a new “best prac­tice” ini­tia­tive, which has been embraced by leviathans like Google, AOL, Microsoft and Condé Nast, those sites are like­ly to find it a lit­tle hard­er to do so.

Mixed respons­es

The guide­lines involve the cre­ation of an infor­mal com­plaint pro­ce­dure which allows rights hold­ers to noti­fy ad net­works when­ev­er they’re alert­ed to one of their ads being fea­tured on a dubi­ous web­site. Once noti­fied, Google and oth­er net­works will (vol­un­tar­i­ly) inves­ti­gate the iden­ti­fied site and decide whether it’s involved in pira­cy. There are hints in the guide­lines that the flagged web­site will, upon inves­ti­ga­tion, be giv­en the chance to issue a counter-notice.

The more sea­soned busi­ness devel­op­ment man­ag­er could be for­giv­en for view­ing the ini­tia­tive as an attempt to head off Gov­ern­ment inter­ven­tion. When the Stop Online Pira­cy Act (SOPA) was under debate, there was much talk of fur­ther leg­is­la­tion to cut off the sup­ply of finance to any site dab­bling in copy­right infringe­ment. But while the record­ing indus­try has giv­en luke­warm sup­port to the ini­tia­tive and the Motion Pic­ture Asso­ci­a­tion has been dis­mis­sive (it won’t be effec­tive, they believe), the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion has enthused about it.

A state­ment from the admin­is­tra­tion reads:

“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.”

A mul­ti-stake­hold­er alter­na­tive 

Google has pub­licly acknowl­edged the prob­lem of ad-spon­sored pira­cy sites in its state­ment on the ini­tia­tive, but MPAA Chair­man Chris Dodd believes that plac­ing the onus on rights hold­ers is sim­ply not enough. Instead he called on “all play­ers in every sec­tor” to join with rights hold­ers in tak­ing a proac­tive a stance to ban legit­i­mate ads appear­ing on ille­gal sites, includ­ing ad agen­cies, adver­tis­ers, online ad exchanges, and ad place­ment services.

Busi­ness devel­op­ment man­agers might have an addi­tion­al job to do if the indus­try heeds Dodd’s advice.

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