Lawmakers push advertisers to stop supporting pirate sites

Members of the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus are asking online ad networks to do more to keep advertisements off websites that promote online piracy.

"Only through proactive efforts will the harms associated with ad-supported piracy be mitigated," the caucus wrote in identical letters to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers.

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The caucus is led by House Judiciary Chairman Bob GoodlatteBob GoodlatteLawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program House votes to crack down on undocumented immigrants with gang ties House Judiciary Dems want panel to review gun silencer bill MORE (R-Va.), Rep. Adam SchiffAdam SchiffOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Democrat: Trump only loyal to the 'pro-Trump' party Sunday shows preview: Trump officials gear up for UN assembly MORE (D-Calif.), Sen. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseJuan Williams: Momentum builds against gerrymandering Overnight Regulation: FTC launches probe into Equifax | Dems propose tougher data security rules | NYC aims to slash greenhouse gas emissions | EPA to reconsider Obama coal ash rule Overnight Cybersecurity: Kaspersky to testify before House | US sanctions Iranians over cyberattacks | Equifax reveals flaw that led to hack MORE (D-R.I.) and Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchFinance to hold hearing on ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea Week ahead in finance: Clock ticking for GOP on tax reform MORE (R-Utah).

Over the past two years, the ad networks have developed and updated best practices to keep copyright-infringing sites from hosting — and thereby profiting from — the advertising of legitimate brands.

"We support these steps, but note that much remains to be done to operationalize the commitments made and to make them effective in preventing the appearance of legitimate ads on pirate sites, rather than simply responding once they are placed," the caucus wrote.

The group of lawmakers called on the ad networks to develop "greater specificity" around steps to prevent legitimate ads from ever appearing on pirate sites, as well as ways to measure how effective those steps are.

"Until recently the technological tools needed to carry out such preventive measures were not available," the letter said "But marketplace solutions are emerging, and the time is ripe for stakeholders to come together with a renewed focus on developing and implementing a more effective preventive regime that can harness those new technological developments."

The caucus also asked the ad networks to consider ways to address mobile advertisements, "which represents a significant and growing share of online advertising revenues, both for legitimate and pirate sites."