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Advertisers could kill digital piracy 'overnight'

Digital piracy is profitable because online advertisers spend millions of dollars to have their banners displayed around content that engages their target demographic.

With the decline of DVD and physical sales accelerating, and places like Netflix and Amazon Instant offering high quality content on demand, there's a good reason why copyright owners need protection on the web. Online distribution is the future of all creative content whether people want to hear it or not.

An anti-piracy industry group called CreativeFuture is making their case with advertisers to encourage them to review the damage their ad dollars are having on the industry, while they can protect the work of legitimate copyright owners.

"Associating with piracy threatens your business and the value of the brands you serve…Pirate sites also severely undermine creative industries and the overall creative economy."

- Executive Director Ruth Vitale

So how can advertisers play a role in this? Well if you think about how ads are displayed, it wouldn't take much for an ad network to cut-off certain blacklisted websites in their exchange, and that's much easier to do than actually taking legal action to have a site closed in the first place.

There has also never been such a big supply of ad space available on the web with premium publishers and outlets providing good content. So even if advertisers lose millions of page views from these fake websites (which they don't even know they're advertising on), there would still be an abundant supply of websites to target their audiences.

Ultimately ad networks play the role in implementing the changes that ban fake sites from displaying ads. As the industry is moving towards RTB (Real-time bidding) and programmatic buying, soon, everything will be automated, so setting up the technology to place ads only on legit sites, is the way forward.

Without the business model of ads for large online pirate sites, there are few other options for them to make money directly from visitors

The only other way digital piracy could be profitable without ad networks is if the website owners negotiated direct-sold campaigns themselves, or set up a paying subscription for visitors. Who's going to believe that?

film industry network members