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ANA, 4As Tell Marketers: Up To You To Fight Online Piracy, Counterfeiting

Published on May 04, 2012

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) yesterday released a Statement of Best Practices that encourages all marketers to take affirmative steps to address the serious problems of online piracy and counterfeiting.

The associations released the Statement at a meeting of the International Anti-Counterfeiting Conference in Washington, DC. The Statement specifically advises marketers to include language in their media placement contracts and insertion orders to prevent ads from appearing on "rogue sites" dedicated to infringement of intellectual property rights of others. In addition to the ANA and 4A's, the Statement is supported by a key industry partner, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Bob Liodice, ANA’s President and CEO, stated: “Marketers must have confidence that their ads are not unintentionally providing financial support or otherwise legitimizing ‘rogue’ Internet Web sites whose primary purpose is to steal the intellectual property of America’s innovators and creators.” Liodice noted that “ads for iconic and trusted brands can lend inadvertent legitimacy to the illicit business models and can mislead consumers into believing that these ‘rogue’ Web sites are offering authentic products and complying with the law.”

Addressing online piracy and counterfeiting has been a strong priority for both the White House Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) and the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus. They have urged ANA, the 4A’s, IAB and other industry groups to play an active role in this fight. The Best Practices Statement supports this critical need by encouraging all marketers to take affirmative steps to avoid placement of their ads on "rogue" Web sites. “The deceptive practices of these ‘rogue’ Web sites are unfair both to consumers and the companies that invest vast resources to establish brand integrity,” said 4A’s President-CEO Nancy Hill. “Combatting online piracy and counterfeiting is a key priority for the entire business community and we look forward to continuing to work with the White House, Congress and all of our industry partners on this important issue.”

Randall Rothenberg, IAB President and CEO, stated: “Protecting the availability of quality, original content is vital to the health of the Internet. IAB remains committed to combating online piracy and through our Quality Assurance Guidelines program we will continue to develop a more secure digital supply chain. We appreciate the initiative by ANA and the 4A’s and look forward to working with our marketer and agency partners to find effective business solutions that can choke off revenue from these criminals.”

Liodice concluded: “We strongly urge all marketers to discuss this matter with their ad agencies and media buyers to stress your company’s commitment to combatting online piracy and counterfeiting. The entire Internet ecosystem must come together to address this problem."