Ad Nets Adopt Best Practices to Stop Online Piracy

Move follows White House push for voluntary industry action

Google, Yahoo and six of the nation's largest ad networks have committed to a set of best practices aimed at stopping online piracy and counterfeiting by cutting off the flow of ad revenue to rogue sites.

Broad adoption of the guidelines comes one month after the White House released its strategic plan on intellectual property enforcement and renewed a push for private industry to take voluntary actions to reduce online infringement. 

Besides Google and Yahoo, the ad network owners that agreed to adopt the best practices include 24/7 Media, Adtegrity, AOL, Condé Nast, Microsoft and SpotXchange.

"We believe that this is a positive step and that such efforts can have a significant impact on reducing online piracy and counterfeiting," Victoria Espinel, the U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator, said in a statement. "We also encourage other participants in the online advertising space to consider adopting voluntary initiatives that protect ad networks, publishers, advertisers, creators, rightsholders, and above all, consumers."

The best practices adopted by the eight companies build on the framework of the Interactive Advertising Bureau's quality assurance guidelines. As part of the code, the companies have agreed to adopt policies prohibiting websites that are principally dedicated to selling counterfeit goods or engaging in copyright piracy from using an ad network's advertising programs. They also agree to independently monitor where ads are running and establish a complaint process when rights holders find websites that are infringing on copyrights or selling counterfeit goods.

"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 of the IAB. "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."