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September 29, 2015

A Big Step To Combating Ad-Supported Piracy

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We previously blogged about the new Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), a voluntary agreement among advertising agencies and bureaus to address the problem of brand advertising on rogue websites that promote illegal and harmful content such as copyright piracy and malware. These rogue websites exist largely because they have been able to profit by attracting advertising dollars because of their high traffic volumes. The question has always been: Why would a company with a valuable brand want to associate their brand with such disreputable activities? The Trustworthy Accountability Group is set up to address this problem.

Last week, a major global advertising company, GroupM, announced that they will require all of their media partners (places where they place advertising) to receive certification from the Trustworthy Accountability Group. So this is a huge first step toward achieving the goals of the TAG.

GroupM’s North American Chairman, John Montgomery, said:

“We’re in the business of giving the world’s most valuable brands marketing advantages with smart media strategies. This inherently means we’re vigilant for clients’ brand safety. Our work with TAG in the development and full adoption of anti-piracy guidelines is a major leap forward. . . . Fighting pirates of copyrighted content requires every ounce of our tenacity and ingenuity, but with the advent of TAG’s Brand Integrity Program Against Piracy, we have powerful new tools and safeguards.”

Voluntary industry agreements such as TAG are great examples of the major players in an industry taking responsibility to ensure a healthy content ecosystem. I’m sure no small amount of work has gone into getting this voluntary agreement to this stage, and I commend all those who have been involved.

We’ve said it many times: A health Internet content ecosystem is to the benefit of everyone involved. Every player in the Internet space has an interest in making sure that there is plenty of high-quality creative content available through the Internet to the global community, and a key element is to isolate bad actors. The TAG is a significant step in that direction. Good move, GroupM.

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