Advertising remains a key lifeline for piracy sites. Now, the UK Intellectual Property Office is stepping up its efforts to curb advertising on copyright infringing hubs.
Pirate sites cater to millions of people, but those people don’t pay the bills. Instead, most piracy revenue is drawn from on-site advertisers, which often includes well-known consumer brands that care more about reaching key demographics than infringement issues.
Now, the British Government is stepping up its efforts to curb those unholy alliances. Earlier, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) placed warning adverts on sites that contain pirated content. Now, a published video is aiming to further reduce the number of infringing sites on the internet.
The PIPCU runs The Infringing Website List (IWL), which aims to give advertisers and agencies an updated list of websites that have infringing content. With this information they hope that these advertisers will decide to pull their ads, which in turn will reduce ad-revenue for these infringing sites.
Underlying the campaign is the premise that pirate sites frequently survive from ad profits.
The video states that “of the top 500 IP infringing websites, 294 contained well-known recognized brands.” The IWL intends to prevent companies and brands from appearing alongside pirated content, as it not only makes the websites look legitimate but it can be perceived that they endorse the site.
”Apart from adding legitimacy to crime by connecting themselves with all the risks associated with illegal websites including viruses and malware, brands are tarnishing their reputations and they are paying for the privilege.”
The Intellectual Property Office and IWL have reported that UK advertisers are appearing 73% less often on pirate sites as a result of their work, and that they continue to work towards reducing this further.
”Stop funding criminals, sign up to IWL,” proclaims the IPO in a concluding statement.