Today, the White House announced the Best Practices Guidelines for Ad Networks to Address Piracy and Counterfeiting (2013IPPractices.com). In an effort to address content owner concerns about ad networks providing revenue streams to websites engaged in piracy and counterfeiting, the guidelines will help ad networks establish a set of self-regulating best practices to address known infringing sites in their respective ad networks.

Some highlights from the guidelines:

  • Ad Networks are committed to maintaining high quality standards for advertisers and publishers and at the same time respecting intellectual property rights to maintain a healthy Internet and promote innovation.
  • The best practices include (among other things):
    • Maintaining and posting policies intended to discourage or prevent, to the extent possible, websites that are principally dedicated to selling counterfeit goods, engaging in copyright piracy or otherwise violating laws from participating in the ad network;
    • Accepting and processing proper notices from rights holders regarding websites participating in the Ad Network alleged to be principally dedicated to selling counterfeit goods or engaging in copyright piracy and to have no substantial non-infringing uses; and
    • Providing guidance for the content of a proper notice and identifying the designated agent to receive such notice.
  • The best practices are intended to encourage and supplement, not replace, responsible and direct independent actions taken by intellectual property owners to enforce their intellectual property rights and are not intended to impose a duty on any Ad Network to monitor its network to identify offending websites.

As part of this initiative, AOL, along with Yahoo, Microsoft and Google, established this set of self-regulating best practices to address known infringing sites in their respective ad networks.

AOL has been building trust with our users for more than 28 years. And we have been equally committed to maintaining high quality standards for advertisers and publishers – taking piracy and counterfeiting seriously. Many of the best practices guidelines very much mirror what we have been doing all along at AOL and, consequently, we quickly supplemented our current practice and are now in compliance with the best practices. Advertising.com boasts one of the best networks in terms of quality, which is part of our success story, and this initiative will reinforce that. I commend the collaborative efforts of the participating Ad Networks and the industry to help combat online piracy.