Google cuts ads to pirate sites

Google is forbidding piracy sites to make revenue using its Adsense system.

Copyright holders from the music, film and other creative industries will be able to alert the big ad networks if their ads are appearing on sites offering links to pirated content or counterfeit goods.

A similar idea is being hatched out by the British music industry body, the BPI.

According to the Guardian, the BPI is working with the Internet Advertising Bureau in the UK on a scheme that has yet to be announced.

This will involve a central database of piracy sites for ad networks, agencies and brands to blacklist.

One such site was Surfthechannel which made £35,000 per month from on-site adverts before its owner was jailed.

A study by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Innovation Laboratory in January found that Google and Yahoo were two of the biggest advertisers on pirate sites.

Both have clauses in their contracts forbidding sites from displaying their ads if they help piracy, but it is up to the copyright owner to prove that anything untoward is happening.

The scheme was thought up by the US Intellectual Property Enforcement co-ordinator Victoria Espinel and ad industry body, the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, 24/7 Media, Adtegrity, Condé Nast and SpotXchange have all signed up.

It is still not clear how they will police sites that haven’t been reported to them by rights-holders. In fact it looks like they will still have to be reported by Big Content. 

Cracking down on piracy sites is a bit like playing whack-a-mole, as soon as one is outed another tends to pop up.