The White House announced that it has reached an agreement with several of the largest Internet ad networks. The goal: to curb advertising on websites that peddle copyright infringing content.
The White House announced that a deal, including AOL, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, had been reached to try to limit the display of advertisements on websites with content that infringes copyright and engage in counterfeiting. The voluntary measures taken by the firms is a bid to stem the flow of cash to websites that typically rely on advertising to make money.
Google, arguably the most important internet ad broker, said the "Best Practices for Ad Networks to Address Piracy and Counterfeiting" would "maintain and post policies prohibiting websites that are principally dedicated to selling counterfeit goods or engaging in copyright piracy from participating in the Ad Network's advertising programs".
Fred Humphries, VP of US Government Affairs at Microsoft said the takedown requests that form part of the proposed best practices have worked well for Microsoft in the past. He said,
"It's been our experience that a notice-and-takedown mechanism like the one envisioned by these Best Practices can be an effective means to address online infringement," Humphries said. "An appropriate notice-and-takedown system - that requires rights holders to identify specific instances of infringement and online services to respond promptly and appropriately to such notices - can address infringement while still respecting critical values such as fair use, privacy, free speech and the freedom to innovate."
Laura Covington, VP of IP Policy at Yahoo said the firm "prohibits publishers in our ad networks from selling counterfeit goods or engaging in copyright piracy", adding "we want to create and maintain a healthy online space, promote innovation, and protect intellectual property".
While Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and others are trying to cut off sources of income for websites peddling copyright infringing content, it should also be noted that the advertising networks themselves make money from displaying the adverts in the first place. So not only will the people behind the websites take a financial hit, but large firms could see advertising revenues dip as, not surprisingly, websites that host copyright infringing content tend to be quite popular.