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Ad Networks Launch New Guidelines

The White House’s Office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL announced new best practices guidelines for ad networks to address piracy and counterfeiting. The guidelines are designed to help the ad networks regulate themselves.

Under the guidelines, ad networks will maintain and post policies discouraging or preventing sites that sell counterfeit goods, engage in copyright piracy or otherwise violate laws. They will also accept and process notices from rights holders regarding sites in question, and provide guidance for the content of a “proper” notice, and identify the “designated agent” to receive such a notice.

“With more than 30 trillion individual pages on the web, online piracy and counterfeit remains a challenge,” said Susan Molinari, Vice President, Public Policy and Government Relations at Google. “Google takes that challenge seriously. Using cutting-edge technology like YouTube’s Content ID and innovative copyright removal tools for Web Search, we develop and deploy antipiracy solutions with the support of hundreds of Google employees. In addition to developing legitimate, innovative, and convenient content offerings (such as Google Play and YouTube, through which our partners together generate hundreds of millions of dollars), we continue to develop solutions to help fight piracy and counterfeit online.”

“We think one of the most effective ways to do this is to cut off the money supply to rogue sites that specialize in piracy or counterfeit,” added Molinari. “To that end, in 2012 we disabled ad serving to 46,000 sites for violating our policies on copyright infringing content and shut down more than 82,000 accounts for attempting to advertise counterfeit goods. Nearly 99% of our account suspensions were discovered through our own detection efforts and risk models.”

“By working across the industry, these best practices should help reduce the financial incentives for pirate sites by cutting off their revenue supply while maintaining a healthy Internet and promoting innovation,” she said.

“At Yahoo!, we have worked hard to create top-tier data-driven ad networks. We are dedicated to maintaining high quality standards for advertisers and publishers. We prohibit publishers in our ad networks from selling counterfeit goods or engaging in copyright piracy,” said Yahoo VP of IP Policy, Laura Covington. “Ultimately, we want to create and maintain a healthy online space, promote innovation, and protect intellectual property. The best practices we have committed to will help all of us get there.”

Fred Humphries, Vice President, U.S. Government Affairs at Microsoft said, “As both a creator of copyrighted works and a provider of online services, including advertising services, Microsoft understands the problems faced by copyright owners subject to massive infringement and the need to ensure that innovation can flourish online. It’s been our experience that a notice-and-takedown mechanism like the one envisioned by these Best Practices can be an effective means to address online infringement. An appropriate notice-and-takedown system – that requires rights holders to identify specific instances of infringement and online services to respond promptly and appropriately to such notices – can address infringement while still respecting critical values such as fair use, privacy, free speech and the freedom to innovate.”

“AOL has been building trust with our users for more than 28 years,” said Dave Jacobs, SVP, Publisher Sales at AOL Networks. “And we have been equally committed to maintaining high quality standards for advertisers and publishers – taking piracy and counterfeiting seriously. Many of the best practices guidelines very much mirror what we have been doing all along at AOL and, consequently, we quickly supplemented our current practice and are now in compliance with the best practices.”

“To have the White House stamp of approval is critical as part of the evolution of the IAB Quality Assurance Guidelines and the industry as a whole,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB, in response to the statement from the White House’s Office of U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement. “IAB has served as a big tent where stakeholders across the digital ecosystem, including some of the largest tech companies and intellectual property rights holders, have come together to combat copyright piracy with the speed and urgency that the issue demands. Bringing these disparate parties together at the same table, we have been able to establish guidelines that strictly protect copyrights, while allowing the digital economy to flourish.”

According to the IAB, many other companies, including 24/7 Media, Adtegrity and SpotXchange are also “reaffirming and extending their commitment” on standards related to intellectual property rights.

You can take a look at the guidelines here.

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