Directory of "Illegal Websites" Aims to Cut Off Pirates' Ad Revenue
March 31, 2014 12:38 PM
comment(s) - last by
New effort looks to directly take away a top source of pirate booty
Top piracy websites like
The Pirate Bay
are often surprisingly savvy at monetizing their own product of sorts (stealing the products of others). That money has helped the sites secure competent legal representation,
good server support
, and find other ways to stifle enforcement efforts from content owners.
I. New Strategy to Fight Pirates -- Block Their Ads
Anti-piracy groups have focused much of their efforts on either
targeting customers who pirate with threat schemes
, or by looking to
force or cajole internet service providers into trying to filter/block popular piracy sites
. The former approach was largely a failure
due to the costs
the public backlash
. The latter approach proved largely ineffectual as well, given clever use of technologies such as proxy networks.
City of London Police
has come up with a clever new scheme to bleed the pirates dry. They call their creation "The Infringing Website List" (IWL), a directory that it described as an "up-to-date list of copyright infringing sites". They're dubbing the IWL effort "Project Creative".
The enforcement agency's goal is to provide the list to third-party advertisers like Google Inc. (
), Microsoft Corp. (
), and Apple, Inc. (
), pressuring them to ban the listed sites from advertising eligibility.
The project is currently tied intimately to London law enforcement, but if successful pcould be adopted by other groups and jurisidictions.
The City of London's
Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit
(PIPCU) is enthusiastic about the project. Detective Chief Inspector Andy Fyfe comments
in a press release
If an advert from an established brand appears on an infringing website not only does it lend the site a look of legitimacy, but inadvertently the brand and advertiser are funding online crime. Therefore the IWL also serves as a safety tool, ensuring the reputation of advertisers and brands are not discredited through association with illegal websites
The police claim they will avoid the mistakes of past enforcement efforts by the RIAA and others by properly notifying sites if they make the list, to allow for appeal. Overzealous efforts have played a key role in scuttling past efforts, such as the backlash generated when the RIAA
sued a deceased elderly grandmother
back in 2005.
The IWL was tested in a pilot last year. It brought relatively few complaints, but only resulted in a 12 percent reduction in branded product ads on targeted websites. The question now becomes whether the police and private sector partners can convince more tech companies to refuse to advertise to priates.
But a bigger question, perhaps, is whether the police can prevent the effort from devolving into the
desparate, heavy-handed efforts
of days past (and present).
II. Piracy is Big Money Business, but Police Aren't Doing Themselves Favors With Secrecy
No one is questioning that some small artists have suffered from rampant digital piracy. While figures of piracy are often overestimated, exagerrated, or misunderstood, it's hard to believe that no artist big or small has lost revenue to pirates.
A UK affiliate of the
Recording Industry Association of America
(RIAA) -- the
Digital Citizens Alliance
(DCA) -- in
a recent study
suggested that piracy sites such pull in $227M USD in piracy revenue per year. In Q3 alone, large torrent sites (the highest earners) pulled in an estimated $23M USD. That survey claims that the top 30 bittorrent sites earn an average of $4.4M USD annually, while the top few (e.g.
The Pirate Bay
) can early $6M USD or more per year.
the London police
and DCA's promises of fairness seem questionable, given that they aren't even making their list public. A spokesperson admitted to TorrentFreak:
All sites on IWL are identified and evidenced as infringing by rights holders and then verified by PIPCU.
We are not making the IWL public.
The List will be ever changing as new sites appear and older sites comply.
That begs the question -- if this is supposed to be a public "hall of shame" to admonish pirates and is supposed to be an honest, lawful, transparent boycott effort against brazen theft, why make the decision of keeping the list secret?
London Police aren't exactly known for their friendliness to the public. [Image Source: China Daily]
Public support has always played a key role in fighting crime, as illustrated by the success of the "most wanted" list in the U.S. If law enforcement turns its back on public sentiment by refusing to share information on enforcement efforts on them, it raises fears of corruption and/or incompetence.
suggest, the lack of transparency is troubling as it raises the risk of innocent websites being misclassified and suffering financial damages. To that end the piracy lobby may once again fall victim to its
City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU)
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: YArrr matey
3/31/2014 5:29:28 PM
No, you'll never completely get rid of sharing, but if you get rid of the ad revenue, you'll take down a lot of the pirate sites.
RE: YArrr matey
3/31/2014 10:35:27 PM
and yet it won't take down the Pirate Bay. Yarrrr!
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
The Pirate Bay Abandons Sweden, Sets up New Strongholds in Norway, Spain
February 26, 2013, 2:05 PM
Anti-Piracy "Mafia" in Finland Raid House, Confiscate Winnie the Pooh Laptop
November 23, 2012, 9:16 AM
Anonymous Knocks Down Virgin Media's Site Over Pirate Bay Takedown
May 9, 2012, 11:45 AM
The RIAA's Dream Turns to Nightmare -- Inside The Pirate Bay's Torrent Purge
February 14, 2012, 12:47 PM
Britain Blames Social Media For Class Riots, Looks to Censorship
August 12, 2011, 9:25 AM
"Mo' Money", Less Problems: Google Offers Cold Hard Cash for Finding Its Browser Bugs
October 1, 2014, 3:04 PM
eBay to Spin Off PayPal Business Next Year
September 30, 2014, 7:28 AM
Facebook to Use Your Browsing Data to Sell Offsite Display Ads
September 29, 2014, 3:52 PM
After Microsoft Complains, EU Rejects Google's Search Settlement for Second Time
September 23, 2014, 4:58 PM
Microsoft Expands Free Office 365 to All College Students
September 22, 2014, 3:21 PM
Apple Adds New Password Protection for Third Party iCloud Apps
September 17, 2014, 8:50 PM
Most Popular Articles
New AT&T Mobile Share Value "Double Data" Promotion Lasts Through October
September 28, 2014, 8:32 AM
TiVo Mega Features 24TB of Storage, Can Record Three Years* Worth of TV Content
September 8, 2014, 8:45 AM
Tesla Motors Confirms Nevada Gigafactory Deal, Will Receive $1.25B in Tax Breaks
September 4, 2014, 8:24 PM
FBI Outraged That Apple, Google are Adopting Digital "Locks" to Protect Users
September 26, 2014, 1:00 PM
Samsung Takes on All Challengers with 5.7” Galaxy Note 4, 5.6” Galaxy Note Edge
September 3, 2014, 10:00 AM
Latest Blog Posts
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information