×

Ad Trade Group Launches Tool to Track Blacklisted Piracy Apps

An advertising industry coalition is launching a new collaboration tool to track apps that promote content piracy — as a way to help marketers ensure they don’t run ads on apps trying to profit from copyright infringement.

Essentially, the tool from the Trustworthy Accountability Group is designed to be a continuously updated blacklist of mobile apps that have been flagged as enabling the distribution of pirated music, movies, TV shows or games.

At launch, the TAG Pirate Mobile App Tool includes more than 8,000 apps that violate the intellectual property rights of content owners, and it will be updated with new offenders as they are identified and shared by TAG members and supporting organizations.

TAG declined to share the names of any of blacklisted apps, which have already been removed from app stores because they’ve been identified as infringing intellectual property rights. Even after an app is removed due to copyright or trademark violations, it can continue to generate revenue through ads.

The MPAA and the Recording Industry Association of America both voiced support for the new TAG initiative.

“The initiative announced today provides a welcome new tool to help block the financial incentives for criminal enterprises that are turning a handsome profit from advertising on pirate mobile apps and large-scale pirate websites,” said Farnaz Alemi, VP, global content protection counsel at the MPAA.

Victoria Sheckler, SVP, deputy general counsel for the RIAA, added, “As music listening on smartphones has exploded, so has the rise in mobile apps that specialize in scamming users and stealing from creators… One of the best tools to address this scourge is the voluntary sharing of information among advertisers and other important stakeholders to ensure legitimate ads do not find their way on to these bad apps.”

The tool, available to members via the org’s site at tagtoday.net, tracks apps on Apple’s iTunes App Store and Google Play.

Any TAG registered member can submit information to the TAG Pirate Mobile App Tool about infringing apps, if those apps have been removed based on a complaint to the app store that published the app. Advertisers can use the list directly, or they can work with a digital advertising partner to use the TAG Pirate Mobile App Tool as part of existing filtering capabilities for ad placement decisions.

“By sharing information about those illegal apps, TAG helps companies quickly identify and remove them from their supply chains, thus cutting off the flow of money to pirates and intellectual-property thieves,” TAG CEO Mike Zaneis said.

App developers can appeal their inclusion on the list if they believe they’ve been wrongly blacklisted. To so, they must submit evidence that an app at issue doesn’t infringe intellectual property rights, and TAG will review the appeal.

TAG was created by the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). Members of the organization’s leadership council include Verizon’s Oath, Dentsu Aegis Network, Disney, Facebook, Google, GroupM, NBCUniversal, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe, and Warner Bros.

TAG’s other information resources for members include the Malware Threat Sharing Hub, Data Center IP List, and network of certified compliance officers at member companies.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • fundo logo

    Google‘s Area 120 Is Testing Fundo, a Crowdfunding Service for Creators (EXCLUSIVE)

    Google’s skunkworks lab Area 120 has been quietly testing an events-centric crowdfunding service for YouTubers, Variety has learned. Called Fundo, the service allows creators to invite their fans to virtual meet & greet sessions and other paid online events. A Google spokesperson confirmed the testing in a statement provided to Variety: “One of the many [...]

  • Telling Lies - Logan Marshall-Green

    Sam Barlow's 'Telling Lies' Government-Surveillance Thriller Game Sets Release Date

    After more than two years in the works, “Telling Lies” — the investigative thriller from acclaimed game creator Sam Barlow — is ready to take the stage. The game, produced with and released by Annapurna Interactive, will be available next Friday, Aug. 23, via Steam and Apple’s Mac and iOS app stores. “Telling Lies” will [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Will Stop Letting Copyright Holders Seize Revenue via Manual Claims on Very Short Music Clips

    YouTube is pushing back against overzealous copyright policing by music companies. Starting in mid-September, the video giant will forbid copyright holders from making manual claims to commandeer revenue generated by YouTube videos that include very short music clips (e.g., five seconds of a song) or “unintentional” music (like music from passing cars). “One concerning trend [...]

  • Chelsea Handler memoir book buy online

    Chelsea Handler Bonds With Alexa in iHeartRadio Smart Speaker Promo

    iHeartRadio has teamed up with Amazon to promote Chelsea Handler’s podcast “Life Will Be The Death Of Me.” Beginning this Thursday, users of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and other devices with Alexa built-in can opt to get their mornings started with Handler cracking jokes and exchanging banter with the smart assistant. Users simply have to [...]

  • David Messinger, Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Hires CAA Veteran David Messinger as CMO

    Activision Blizzard tapped David Messinger, a former 15-plus-year veteran of CAA, as its first corporate-wide chief marketing officer. Messinger, based in Santa Monica, reports to Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard’s president and COO. It’s the first time the video-game company has appointed a CMO who will oversee the global marketing operations across all of Activision Blizzard [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content