One of the rising anti-piracy complaints of entertainment industry companies is how so-called ‘pirate’ sites are funded by advertising, both from legitimate and illegitimate advertisers.
Last month, for example, a report backed by the entertainment industries claimed that 90 percent of the top pirate sites link to malware or other unwanted software. In addition, two-thirds of the websites were said to link to credit card scams.
Helped by these numbers, copyright holders and anti-piracy groups are now framing torrent sites, streaming hubs and cyberlockers as a cyber threat. This presents them with a new angle to urge lawmakers to target these sites and services.
Last week the Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations organized a hearing on the “hidden hazards” of online adverting. For the MPAA, this offered an ideal opportunity to chime in with their piracy angle.
“As the Senators consider steps to address the safety and security of online advertisements, we hope they will also examine the extensive growth of these hazards on sites that offer infringing movies, television shows and other creative content,” MPAA writes.
The MPAA notes that several recent reports pointed out how these pirate sites are rife with malicious ads and urges lawmakers to take steps to address the issue. Not for Hollywood’s financial benefit, but to protect Americans from malware and scams.
“As the Subcommittee considers steps to address the safety and security of online advertisements, we urge the members to examine these reports and others which detail the numerous hazards on pirate sites,” MPAA notes.
“Unfortunately, these illicit sites continue to attract large numbers of Americans, especially young people who might not be aware of the harms they could easily encounter,” they add.
So there we have it. The MPAA, who are generally speaking not too concerned about the well-being of people who “steal” their work, are now asking Senators to take them under their protection. Apparently, the MPAA don’t want pirates to catch viruses or run into credit card scams.
A humbly presented goal, but of course it’s just another obfuscated attempt to disconnect ‘pirate’ sites from their revenue streams. Considering the recent push against advertising networks, including the London Police pirate site blacklist, this won’t be the last we’ve heard of this.
Photo: Michael Theis