Congress Wants Online Advertisers to Snub Piracy Websites

Paul Lilly

Select members of Congress are trying to convince advertisers to join the fight in stifling piracy on the Web. Leading the charge is the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, which has taken pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and written letters to three prominent advertising agencies asking that they refuse to pay websites thought to be serving up illegal software.

Citing a story on the Politico blog, CNet says letters were sent to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Association of National Advertisers, and the American Association of Advertising Agencies. Part of the pitch is that not only does advertising help fund piracy sites, but it makes visitors think some of these seedy sites are legit.

While this might sound like a black and white issue, the Interactive Advertising Bureau tells Cnet the issue is highly complex because of the way these websites operate. For example, some sites will ink a deal with an ad network using a legitimate business and then later on down the road switch to an illegitimate business. In addition, some piracy sites steal ad tags from legitimate websites and post them on their own portals. These tags then relay to the ad network that the piracy site checks out.

The Anti-Piracy Caucus is comprised of representatives Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) and Adam Schiff (D-California), and senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island).

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