Google and Yahoo appear on ‘piracy’ ad list


A report from the University of Southern California has ranked Google and Yahoo in the top-ten companies that place adverts on alleged pirated websites.

Appearing second and sixth respectively, Google and Yahoo are supporting the major global pirate movie and music sites, according to the Advertising Transparency Report, published on January 3, 2013.

The Internet companies’ rankings are jointly-held with their subsidiaries Double Click (Google) and Right Media (Yahoo), which manage online advertising for their clients. The report does not differentiate between the ads the parent and subsidiary companies have placed.

Google did not respond to a request for comment but a Yahoo spokesperson said the company was committed to removing ads from sites that appeared to breach copyright law.

Jonathan Taplin, director at the Annenberg Innovation Lab, which published the report, said the “top networks are placing close to 10,000 ads per month on pirate [alleged] sites”, but could not provide further details. He said the data was compiled throughout the whole of 2012.

The report does not specify which sites it has picked, though it said researchers used Google’s Transparency Report to compile the list. That report provides information on the requests Google receives to remove links to alleged pirated sites.

The university’s report picked the sites subject to the most requests on Google’s list and “used a bot that scrapes the ad network HTML identifier off each ad” to view whose advert it was.

Californian-based company OpenX, whose chief executive Tim Cadogan is a former Yahoo vice president, ranked first on the list. Other companies included Exoclick (third) and Sumotorrent (fourth).

Hillel Parness, partner at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi in New York, said: “The report used data from Google on the number of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) removal requests it receives. Under the DMCA, sites hosting copyright-infringing material supplied by others have little duty to remove such material unless they receive valid take-down notices.”

“The report may reflect growing frustration among copyright holders regarding recent judicial interpretations of the DMCA, as well as a growing movement to hold accountable those services that would normally receive DMCA notices, but who are nevertheless seen as providing the infrastructure that allows infringement to take place.”

The university’s report is the first of a monthly assessment of ad networks and their relationship with alleged pirated sites.

Yahoo acquired Right Media for $680 million in April 2007 in a move seen as a response to Google’s purchase of Double Click for $3.1 billion in the same month.

The report is available here.

This article was first published on 04 January 2013 in World IP Review

google, yahoo, right media, double click

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