TAG launches scheme to protect brands’ advertising amid crackdown on pirate sites

James Warrington
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The scheme would also block revenues to websites that profit from illegal, stolen content (Source: Getty)

The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) today launched a new initiative to help protect brands from appearing on websites that post pirated material.

As part of the scheme, known as ‘Project Brand Integrity’, the industry body will monitor adverts and alert brands if their campaigns are running on pirate sites.

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The initiative is part of a wider crackdown in the industry amid fears brands’ adverts could appear next to undesirable or illegal material due to opaque programmatic advertising systems.

The move would also block crucial advertising revenues to websites that profit from illegal, stolen content.

“If you are a brand advertiser, the skull-and-crossbones isn’t just a pirate movie trope,” said TAG chief executive Mike Zaneis.

“It accurately reflects the toxic danger of associating your brand with stolen content and criminal activities on pirate sites.”

TAG has run a similar campaign in the US since 2016, which it says has cut down ad impressions on pirate sites by more than 90 per cent.

The new scheme, which has been launched with advertising insurance firm White Bullet, will capture screenshots of any offending adverts and the associated code.

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TAG will then alert the advertisers, allowing them to take action to remove the campaigns, and will work with law enforcement to ensure agencies are complying with anti-piracy measures.

Detective Constable Steve Salway of the City of London Police’s intellectual property crime unit said: “We are always pleased to see the introduction of initiatives such as Project Brand Integrity that uphold similar values to our own.”