The intercepting of advertisements served on dodgy pirate sites has begun to choke their revenue by 70 per cent, according to the City of London police, vindicating the policy of following the “money trail”, rather than an individual infringer, said the police and trade groups.
Tactics include harassing the seedy ad networks and payment processors used by sites that promote and distribute porn, warez and unlicensed content.
In recent years, major global brands were unwittingly helping fund the trade in warez and unlicensed content, as well as filth. For example, an advertisement for Lexus cars washed up on a bestiality site.
The chain of transactions behind a digital advertisement being displayed was so complex that brands such as Lexus and their agencies could plead ignorance and escape liability.
Then again, as musician and campaigner David Lowery pointed out two years ago: “I’ve never seen Coca Cola or Apple advertisements on a hardcore pornography or pirate site. If Apple can control it, so can others.”