Follow-the-money

The Commission has publicly committed, most recently in its Communication on a strategy for the Digital Single Market, to adopting a “follow the money” approach aiming to cut the revenue flows that drive commercial-scale IPR infringers into their activities. The approach seeks to create a Memorandum of Understanding where signatories put in place mechanisms to minimise the placing of online advertising on websites which infringe IPRs. By removing a revenue stream for IPR infringers, the thinking goes, there is a much lower economic incentive for the infringement of IPR. The approach therefore seeks to target only commercial-scale infringers. IAB Europe became a signatory to the European Commission’s Memorandum of Understanding on online advertising and IPR (MoU) on 25 June 2018, together with four national IABs and nine IAB Europe corporate members. IAB Europe’s role is to continue promotion of the MoU to member companies, which will mostly consist of informing members about its existence and reporting on meetings. New signatories may only join the MoU after the end of the assessment period (June 2019, 1 year after signature).

In 2019, the MoU signatories unanimously agreed both to continue the MoU work track and open the Memorandum to new signatories. On this basis, a new signatory was announced at the stakeholders meeting on 23 September. IAB Europe remains committed to making its members fully aware of the MoU instrument, whilst encouraging them to join it or respect its principles, as appropriate.

Initial findings from the independent monitoring of the MoU effect reveal that a modest positive impact on the issue of ad misplacement on IP infringing sites. The full results of the monitoring will be published alongside a study of effectiveness of the MoU, at this point in time expected in the course of Q2-Q3 2020.

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