ArtsWatch: Target: Pirate Sites' Ad Revenues

Online ad networks' support for content piracy scrutinized by USC study
January 07, 2013 -- 7:47 am PST
By Philip Merrill /

In recent news ...

New Year's Antipiracy Resolution — Crack Down On Rogue Websites' Ill-Gotten Gains
On Jan. 3 the University of Southern California's Annenberg Innovation Lab launched its first monthly Advertising Transparency Report, revealing the top 10 online advertising networks associated with infringing sites, as tracked by Google's Transparency Report. The Annenberg report helps begin 2013 with a constructive approach to Internet antipiracy, consistent with the principles articulated last May by leading national advertising associations. USC Annenberg Innovation Lab Director Jonathan Taplin said, "Whenever we talk to a brand about the fact that their ads are all over the pirate sites, they're like, 'Oh, how did that happen?' We thought it would be easier if they knew what ad networks were putting ads on pirate sites — so they could avoid them." As major players, both Google and Yahoo are in the top 10, but the best course ahead is unlikely to be a simple matter of boycotting the ad networks on the Annenberg list. Now that the 113th Congress has been sworn in, they might finally be able to "follow the money" and eliminate the funds that keep infringing sites in business.

China Keeps The Ball Rolling On Intellectual Property Progress
A day after the conclusion of diplomatic trade talks on Dec. 19, 2012, Business Software Alliance welcomed China's assurances that its legal software campaign will be extended to state-owned enterprises. Last July, China reported $160 million in purchases of legal software for government offices, and funds were continuing to roll out on the county and city level. Microsoft announced in late December that it has been purchasing PCs from Chinese shops and analyzing the security risks posed by pre-installed counterfeit software — an antipiracy approach calculated to keep the pressure on the process of positive change in China. Forensic surveys of 169 counterfeit software configurations found that a majority were loaded with malware designed to expose users to criminal invasions of privacy and cyber attacks. Separately, on Dec. 28 top Chinese regulators extended and toughened their Internet "identity management policy," requiring users of online services to register under their real names. Although Western observers are suspicious that this lack of anonymity could be abused to stifle free speech, an official Chinese government spokesman touted privacy protections built into the new laws, including the ability to use pseudonyms — concealing users' real identities from the public, but not from the online service provider's backend registration.

Russia Commits To IP Enforcement Action Plan With United States
On Dec. 21 U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk announced the finalization of an Intellectual Property Rights Action Plan with Russian diplomats, committing Russian authorities to an array of improved enforcement activities, including consultation and coordination with rightsholders, supporting new laws to hold Internet service providers liable for infringement, and promoting public awareness of IP enforcement actions. International Intellectual Property Alliance Counsel Eric J. Schwartz said, "The action plan, if properly and fully implemented, should significantly improve the marketplace for American and other foreign rightsholders in Russia, as well as improve the marketplace for Russian creators and producers. It is a detailed plan that is intended by the two governments to serve as a blueprint for specific and enhanced IPR protection and enforcement actions in Russia."

United States To Telecommunications Conference In Dubai: "No Deal"
The International Telecommunications Union's World Conference on International Telecommunications produced a new treaty, signed by all but 55 countries, including the United States, on Dec. 14. "In Dubai, the U.S. delegation and our allies succeeded in preventing many of the worst proposals that would have undermined Internet freedom and openness from making it into the final treaty. But the new treaty still included deeply problematic provisions, and the U.S. was one of 55 countries that did not sign," said Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowksi. Internet activists around the world had targeted the treaty and arguably deserve plenty of credit for this outcome. China and Russia were among the many nations that encouraged a more active role in Internet governance for the ITU, and the split is likely to have far-reaching consequences in the years ahead.

The Recording Academy actively represents the music community on such issues as intellectual property rights, music piracy, archiving and preservation, and censorship concerns. In pursuing its commitment to addressing these and other issues, The Recording Academy undertakes a variety of national initiatives. ArtsWatch is a key part of an agenda aimed at raising public awareness of and support for the rights of artists. To become more involved, visit Advocacy Action @ and sign up for Advocacy Action E-lerts.

Click on the "ArtsWatch" tag for links to other GRAMMY News stories in this series.

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