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The fight against ad supported piracy is shaping up to be one of the most significant campaigns of the year. There’s much more to be gained its success (or lost from its failure) than any campaign against individual users. The reason quite simply is that we’re dealing with some of the country’s most prestigious brands and largest ad networks. The Copyright Alliance is playing a role in the campaign, releasing a public letter to CEOs of brands advertising on pirate sites (more below).

The catalyst that  inspired this campaign was the first part of a study released last month by USCAnnenberg Innovation Lab’s that drew on one year’s worth of data examining the sites with the greatest number of DMCA Takedown requests. The Lab, under the direction of Jonathan Taplin, looked at those pirate sites and noted who was advertising on them. It’s worth noting that there are an estimated 150,000 pirate entertainment sites online.

This month’s report looked at the same data, limited to January 2013. The objective was to see if there had been any significant changes in the month since the release of the first part of the report. Google and Open X, which both featured prominently on the 2012 list were gone from this month’s Top 10. Yahoo! continues to be a leader and first on the list is Propellerads.com. There are also several new entries on this list, which is indicative of how crowded the field of ad serving on pirate sites has become.

This month’s leading ad networks, placing ads on pirate sites:

  1. Propellerads
  2. Sumotorrent
  3. Yahoo (Right Media)
  4. Admxr
  5. Exoclick
  6. Adcash
  7. Quantcast
  8. Mgid
  9. Adtransfer
  10. Infolinks

The following brands appeared on multiple occasions on the observed infringing sites:


American Express









General Motors


K Swiss




Mercedes Benz

Nationwide Insurance



Progressive Insurance
Saks Fifth Avenue


State Farm Insurance




Victoria’s Secret

Visa Volkswagen


Walt Disney World

The Copyright Alliance just yesterday released a public letter addressed to the CEOs of brands that advertise on ad supported pirate sites asking them to take the following pledge:

“I support the rights of artists, creators and innovators to be compensated for the fruits of their labor. I run my business ethically, and value my brand.  I pledge not to advertise on sites which illegally exploit the work of creators without their permission.” 

To sign that letter. Click here.




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