On 25 June, IAB Europe became a signatory to the Memorandum of Understanding on Online Advertising and IP Infringement (“the MoU” or “the Memorandum”). I feel privileged that I was able to sign not just on behalf of IAB Europe, but also four of our national associations (IAB UK, IAB Italy, IAB Poland, and IAB Slovakia). Several IAB Europe corporate members will also be signatories to the Memorandum – and a majority of the members involved were in favour of IAB Europe’s support for it.
The MoU has the goal of reducing the placement of advertising on websites which blatantly infringe copyright or sell counterfeit goods on a commercial scale. The hope is that by reducing the viability of online advertising as a source of revenue for these sites, there will be less commercial incentive for hosting copyright infringing content. From an advertiser’s point of view, it’s also important that their brand image is not damaged by appearing on the wrong types of website. This is nothing new, and advertisers have already been protecting their brands with the use of brand safety tools.
Thus, there are both regulatory and commercial incentives for making this MoU a success – so how do we get there? As this blog’s title suggests – this is not the end of the process, despite years of negotiations on the text – this is the beginning. The MoU’s first 12 months will be an assessment period, during which time the European Commission will undertake to commission independent studies into the existence of advertising on commercial-scale IP infringing sites. At the same time, signatories to the MoU will be checking in quarterly to demonstrate the measures they’ve taken to limit ads appearing on infringing sites, and how effective they estimate them.
As a trade association, our role will be to educate our members on the importance of the MoU and to encourage adoption after the assessment period. IAB Europe’s members who are interested in signing on after the assessment period are also able to join our delegation to the quarterly meetings – and action can always be undertaken on an individual basis. We are looking forward to getting started and seeing some positive results!
Download the Memorandum of Understanding below.