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Leading Advertising Agencies and Brands Join Voluntary Initiative to Reduce Ad-Supported Piracy

June 10, 2016

Yesterday, the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) issued a press release announcing “that leading Interpublic and Omnicom agencies, as well as Google, GoDaddy, and Bayer Consumer Health have joined the dozens of other agencies and major advertisers taking TAG’s Anti-Piracy Pledge to require their ad partners to take aggressive steps to help fight the $2.4 billion lost to pirate sites each year. Following last year’s endorsement by Publicis and WPP companies, including WPP’s GroupM, all four of the largest ad agency holding companies have now committed to TAG’s Anti-Piracy Pledge.”

The announcement included a statement from the co-chairs of the Congressional Internet Creativity and Theft-Prevention Caucus – Senators Orrin Hatch and Sheldon Whitehouse, and Representatives Bob Goodlatte and Adam Schiff:

“For years, the International Creativity and Theft-Prevention Caucus has worked with advertisers, ad agencies, and ad networks to take concrete steps to keep legitimate online advertising from appearing on sites dedicated to piracy and other illegal activities. It’s clear that the TAG pledge is gaining steam and that more and more advertisers and agencies are taking steps to ensure they are not unwittingly subsidizing online theft.”

MPAA applauds Interpublic, Omnicon and brands like Bayer, GoDaddy and Google – who have committed to ensuring that advertising for their products and services do not appear on websites dedicated to theft. As research by the Digital Citizens Alliance has shown, ad-supported piracy is big business, generating $209 million in aggregate annual revenue in 2014 alone. But creators are not the only ones harmed by piracy — consumers are as well. Cybersecurity firm RiskIQ recently found that 1 out of 3 content theft websites contained malware, and that consumers are 28 times more likely to get malware from a content theft site than on similarly visited mainstream websites or licensed content providers.

With the addition of these ad agencies taking the TAG pledge, we hope many more brands will follow the good example of the many major companies – including all six MPAA member companies – who have taken the pledge to make the right decision and use reasonable commercial methods to keep their good ads off bad sites. We also hope that more ad networks and intermediaries involved in the ad chain, like those run by Google, will come to the same conclusion – associating good brands with bad sites is bad business and harmful to creators and consumers.