White House Endorses Plan, But Will It Reduce Piracy?

Source: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Google Inc. (NASAQ:GOOG), Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT), Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO), and numerous Internet corporations and businesses joined forces to develop an anti-piracy plan that will cut off advertising revenue to rogue sites engaged in piracy and counterfeiting, at the request of the Obama Administration last month.

Since then, the Obama Administration has supported the anti-piracy plan put forward by the technology companies, which involved developing voluntary agreements with Hollywood and other industries to reduce online piracy.

“The Administration strongly supports voluntary efforts by the private sector to reduce infringement, and we welcome the initiative brought forward by the companies to establish industry-wide standards to combat online piracy and counterfeiting by reducing financial incentives associated with infringement,” Victoria Espinel, the U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator in the Office of Management and Budget, said in a statement Monday. She added, “We believe that this is a positive step and that such efforts can have a significant impact on reducing online piracy and counterfeiting.”

However, Variety reports that some rights owners have argued that the Internet companies’ plan doesn’t go far enough. Motion Picture Association of America Chairman, Chris Dodd, said it “places a disproportionate amount of the burden on rights holders” and is “not sufficient.”

The anti-piracy plan supported by the White House is made up of “best practice” guidelines. The gist of it involves online ad networks responding to complaints from copyright holders about specific sites. After investigating a notice, an ad network may then request a website no longer sells counterfeit goods or engages in copyright infringement, or it can refuse to place ads on the site.

Companies adopting the voluntary set of best practices are 24/7 Media, Adtegrity, AOL (NYSE:AOL), Condé Nast, Google, Microsoft, SpotXchange and Yahoo, with the support of the Interactive Advertising Bureau. According to Variety’s report, Google has been targeted by allegations that it profits from rogue sites that advertise illegal drugs, and engage in piracy. Google has responded by stating it already has stringent advertising policies, and works to remove those sites from its advertising network.

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