Photo by Kav777

Photo by Kav777

A funny thing happens when you ask people to do the right thing. Sometimes, they do.

At CreativeFuture, we keep calling attention to the (almost always) unintentional role that advertising from major companies plays in supporting the theft of our creative works.

Piracy is a for-profit, black market business that profits in part from advertising from major brands – many of which are completely unaware that their ads are turning up on these sites.

To address the issue, we’ve taken a remarkable and revolutionary approach to keeping major brands from advertising on pirate sites – by politely asking them not to!

We announced this campaign back in August in an op-ed that ran in Ad Age written by CreativeFuture Leadership Committee Member Martha De Laurentiis. Over the past several months, our Leadership Committee has written to major brands letting them know that their ads are showing up on pirate sites – and that there are steps they can take to fix the problem.

This campaign has benefitted from an invaluable partnership with GroupM, parent company to some of the largest advertising agencies in the world including Mindshare, MEC, MediaCom, and Maxus – and it turns out our letters are having an impact.

Last month, the advertising community’s Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) announced that more than 20 major global brands – including American Express, Colgate-Palmolive, and Wal-Mart – had taken TAG’s Anti-Piracy Pledge and committed to taking commercially reasonable measures to keep their ads off pirate sites. They were joined by a dozen leading ad agencies and groups – including OMD, Rocket Fuel, GroupM, and Starcom Mediavest Group – all pledging to take steps to keep their clients’ ads off pirate sites.

Included in this list of brands and agencies were several that we had contacted as a part of our letter-writing campaign.

This is what progress looks like.

We have already thanked all of these companies for their efforts (you can click here to see the thank-you letters our Leadership Committee has sent so far).

People like to be thanked – will you join us in doing so?

Below, you can see all the thank-you tweets we sent out to let the world know about their good deeds. Support this campaign by re-tweeting these posts – please!

Piracy is a complex and complicated issue that adversely affects all creatives – but there are ways to reduce it. When responsible parties in the internet ecosystem – such as advertisers and agencies – volunteer to do the right thing, it helps take the profit out of piracy and ensure a thriving creative economy for the next generation of creative voices.

But it’s not enough for CreativeFuture’s Leadership Committee to show their appreciation. Each and every thank you from you counts. A lot.

Thanks for doing your part!