Hong Kong effort removes ads from piracy sites

Hong Kong Creative Industries Association targets 'blacklist' of 14 overseas-hosted sites.

Press conference on the scheme yesterday in Hong Kong.
Press conference on the scheme yesterday in Hong Kong.

A total of 50 brands have participated in a pilot run initiated by the Hong Kong Creative Industries Association to remove ads from 14 overseas-hosted sites that deal in pirated entertainment content, the coalition of broadcasters, publishers and intellectual property rights owners announced yesterday.

The association created the list of infringing websites frequently visited by Hong Kong users in December. Total traffic to the sites was said to average around 2.3 million visits per month. And ads from as many as 169 brands, including financial organisations, supermarket chains and academic institutions, had showed up on the sites.

The actual IWL (infringement website list) was only made available to participants in the initiative, including six major advertisers, agencies and intermediaries. Hong Kong broadcaster TVB, Time Warner and 211st Century Fox were named as participants of the pilot infringement website list scheme.

HKCIA said that the initiative, which was first introduced in the UK in 2013, aims to cut the flow of advertising revenue to the piracy sites, deter online infringement and increase brand safety. The group now aims to expand the list to 180 sites by the first quarter of 2018.

“The online advertising spending in Hong Kong in 2017 is estimated to be HK$5.72 billion [US$730 million], and approximately 30 percent has gone or will go to these infringing websites," Ralph Szeto, chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Interactive Marketing, said in a statement. "We fully support the IWL scheme because it protects not only the copyright holders but also our clients’ brand reputation and image.”

Elsewhere, Taipei Times has reported that intellectual property associations and advertising agencies in Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding last month to participate in the IWL initiative. Most of the piracy sites on Taiwan’s list are hosted in mainland China, according to the report.

The participants in the Infringement Website List scheme in Hong Kong are: 

  1. 21st Century Fox    
  2. Hong Kong Comics and Animation Federation 
  3. Hong Kong Creative Industries Association Limited        
  4. Hong Kong International Screen Association
  5. Hong Kong Recording Industry Association      
  6. Hong Kong Video Development Foundation 
  7. IFPI Asian Regional Office    
  8. Motion Pictures Association  
  9. Hong Kong Movie Producers and Distributors Association 
  10. Hong Kong Motion Picture Industries Association    
  11. Television Broadcasts Limited        
  12. Time Warner                                       
  13. Hong Kong Theatres Association Limited
  14. Vobile

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