Educational activity

Follow the money

”Follow the Money” strategy is based on the approach of cutting off from economic sources all services that distribute content without authorization of its right holders. At present this strategy has been indicated as the most effective tool to fight against illegal distribution of an audio-visual  content online.

Pilot  programs  of  the initiative have already been launched in many European countries.In Poland we realize this objective based on good practices created by an audiovisual market in cooperation with advertisers and payment intermediaries.  Poland belongs to one of the first countries where  mechanisms allowing for allocation of advertising budgets exclusively to law abiding services were developed and implemented. The activities undertaken by Sygnal Association and IAB Polska are now considered an example at a European scale.

As  part  of  the  ‘follow  the  money’  approach,  Sygnał  Association  regularly  monitors  illegal websites,  develop  mechanisms  and  tools  that  promote  conscious  marketing  spend  on  legally operating websites, participates in or initiates approach-oriented meetings.

In order to comprehensively follow the ‘follow the money’ approach guidelines, all participants of  the  advertising  market  must  cooperate  and  the  phenomenon  must  be  monitored  on  an ongoing basis so as to better understand the nature of revenue flows to websites that operate without respect for the law.


Advertise Consciously

Revenue  generated  from  advertising  online  is  one  of  the  most  important  economic  sources for  websites  infringing  broadcasts  rights  and  rights  to  audiovisual  works.  Therefore,  in addition to the “Advertise Consciously. Initiative for Fair Advertising” campaign carried out by IAB  Polska,  Sygnał  Association  has  decided  to  carry  out  a  campaign  targeted  primarily  at advertisers, media houses and other entities operating in the online advertising market

While  identifying  measures  used  by  portals  illegally  obtaining  content,  Sygnał  Association encourages  market  participants  to  support  only  the  legal  market  and  to  allocate  their advertising budgets to law-abiding portals. Decisions by advertisersand media houses not to place  ads  on  websites  illegally  distributing  content  are  crucial  as  they  directly  contribute  to such websites being cut off from economic sources

More and more marketers specify principles of advertising brands on the Internet by defining the context in which the brand may be shown. Excluding pirate sites from media plans is one of the primary measures to ensure safety of the advertiser’s brand.


Table of Reported Violations

Advertisers  and  media  houses  are  often  unable  to  assess compliance  of  websites  with  the law, in particular because IPR infringers create false appearances of compliance with law by charging subscription fees or placing advertisements

Sygnał Association has details of websites that display video content without the consent of the  rights  holders  and  monitors  ads  displayed  on  them  on  a  day- to-day  basis.  The Association also provides free-of-charge professional support and tools to help advertisers to make informed advertising spend decisions.

One  of  them  is  the Table  of  Reported  Violations  made  by  websites  that  distribute  content without  respect  for  the  law.  If  you are  concerned whether  the  website  on  which  you  post your ads operates legally, please contact us at:


EU Initiatives

The  European  Commission  considers  actions  based  on  the  ‘follow  the  money’  approach  as one  of  the  most  effective  ways  to  combat  illegal  use  of  content  for  commercial  purposes. Numerous   documents   developed   by   the Commission   seek   to   facilitate   the   system implementation of tools reducing illegal use of content on the Internet.

On 1 July 2014, the European Commission adopted an “Action Plan to address infringements of intellectual property rights in the EU” communication. It specifically foresees :

  • engaging  in  a  dialogue  with  stakeholders  (e.g.  online  advertising  agencies  and payment service providers) to reduce profits from commercial-scale infringements on the Internet;
  • improving  cooperation  between  Member  States  and facilitating  exchanges  of  best practices;
  • providing  a  comprehensive  training  programme  for  Member  State  authorities  with  a iew  to  achieving  faster  preventive  actions  against  commercial  scale  IP-infringing activities across the EU and identification of barriers to cross-border cooperation.

The  “follow  the  money”  approach  is  also  referred  to  in  numerous  Commission  documents related to the Digital Single Market. The ‘follow the money’ approach is also considered as the most effective tool to fight against commercial  distribution  of  illegal  content  online  in  the  “Copyright  enforcement  online: policies and mechanisms” report published on 14 January 2016 by the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) operating at the Council of Europe. The report underlines the nature of the  approach  that  does  not  consist  in  direct  combating  manifestations  of  piracy,  but  on blocking  to  websites  financial  flow  deriving  from  piracy  in  cooperation  with  advertisers  and providers  of  payment  services,  such  as  Visa,  MasterCard  and  PayPal. Pilot  programs  of  the initiative have already been launched in countries such as the UK, Spain and Italy.