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Advertisers Pledge Not to Support ‘Rogue' Websites
Author:  Howard Gantman
Date:  05/08/2012

The nation’s major advertising trade associations have released a set of best practices to ensure that companies do not place ads on websites dedicated to selling counterfeit products and stolen content.

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) released a Statement of Best Practices to curb advertising on “rogue” Internet sites, which ends up filling the pockets of the operators of these largely offshore sites.

The statement specifically advises marketers to include language in their contracts and insertion orders to prevent ads from appearing on ‘rogue’ sites dedicated to infringement of intellectual property rights of others.

Ads for trusted brands can inadvertently lend legitimacy to “rogue” sites and can mislead consumers into believing that these sites are offering safe and tested products and complying with the law. In reality, this could not be farther from the truth. These sites are stealing the intellectual property of US creators, and in turn, stealing from the American economy.

In addition to movies, music and other creative content, these rogue sites traffic in counterfeit prescription medications, household products and other goods. They are located throughout the world, and while they often look legitimate - featuring advertising from reputable companies and accepting major credit cards - they're really online havens for theft, enabling criminals to profit from content or intellectual property they had nothing to do with creating.

The potential harm from these rogue sites - exposure to malware, identity theft, unsafe and untested medicines, counterfeit products, and lost jobs and income for creative workers - is profound. 

The release of the statement is a sign of industry trying to take steps to tackle the problem of online piracy on their own and it is a big step in the right direction toward that goal.