Follow the Money, Part II

by Howard Gantman 06/08/2011 16:15 (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)

File this under Three Cheers for Doing the Right Thing: GroupM, the unit of advertising, marketing and communications giant WPP, has announced that they will no longer place ads on websites illegally distributing stolen movies, TV shows or music.  As AdAge reported today:

"Great content fuels the web, and if that is being illicitly distributed, we feel it's a problem for the long term," said Group M Interaction Chief Operating Officer John Montgomery.

Some rogue websites do not sell the content they steal, and instead use online advertising to make money from their illegal activity.  If advertisers boycott these sites, their profits dry up and it becomes harder for the criminals who operate them to pay for server space and other costs. 

This means that any efforts to dry up rogue sites’ advertising dollars is one of the keys to stopping online content theft, not unlike working to get payment processors to refuse to handle rogue sites’ financial transactions.  Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante testified that cutting off advertising revenues to rogue sites “combat their very existence, or at least substantially decrease their impact on the market for legitimate copyrighted content.”

And GroupM is no drop in the bucket.  According to AdAge, its agencies spend $6 billion each year on digital advertising.  Working with content owners, some of whom are its clients, GroupM is assembling a list of rogue websites to ensure that none of that money will go to support content theft.  That's great news for creators.


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