Russian Government Seeks to Shame Companies Advertising on Pirate Sites

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The Russian government has opened a new front in its (very) nascent war against online piracy, preparing a "shame list" of local and foreign companies that place ads at web sites carrying illegitimate content.

The entire list, featuring about 100 companies and prepared by the communications ministry, is to be made public in November. However, speaking at the Kinoexpo conference in St. Petersburg earlier this week, deputy communications minister Alexei Volin mentioned a few names, including Ford, Nissan, Volvo, Mazda, Toyota, Microsoft and Gillette.

"We want to publicly name companies that actually help pirates," he was quoted as saying by the Russian business paper Vedomosti. "Among them are many brands that are so proud of their reputation. To fight piracy, one could use traditional methods and also non-traditional ones."

Companies mentioned by Volin denied any wrongdoing, saying that ads for their products could only make it to pirates' web sites if they were placed by their dealers who run their own ad campaigns.The move is part of a larger anti-piracy campaign implemented by the government in collaboration with the Russian Association for Electronic Communications (RAEC).

Launched last month, the industry group RAEC/Media aims to be a platform for dialog on major issues in the media market and internet industry, with fighting piracy high on the agenda. RAEC/Media said it will talk to ad agencies to prevent placing ads at web sites with suspicious content, as many of the companies on the communications ministry's list work use ad agencies.

"We will hold strategic meetings with ad agencies that place ads for the brands Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Mazda, Volvo, Gillette and Microsoft," Marina Surygina, head of RAEC/Media, told Billboard. "We will show them a black list of pirate web sites and we will recommend that they not deal with them."

She added that results of those meetings will be subsequently discussed in an event attended by representatives of ad agencies and companies in question and Volin. According to Surygina, in December, the group will also present a new model for legitimate distribution of online content.


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