Jakarta. Government, creative and advertising industry representatives joined forces last week to launch the Infringing Website List aimed at reducing piracy websites' advertising revenue.
The program involves the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf), as the government representative, and the Indonesian Film Producers Association (Aprofi), Recording Company Association (Asiri), Indonesian Association of Advertising Agencies (PPPI) and Motion Picture Association (MPA) working together to identify the most popular piracy websites in Indonesia and sharing their findings with advertisers to encourage them to remove their ads from such sites.
The idea did not originate in Indonesia. It was initiated in the United Kingdom by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) in 2014, resulting in Operation Creative, which involves more than 130 advertising associations and companies and currently lists over 2,000 piracy websites.
PIPCU Det. Insp. Nicholas Court said in a statement that the Infringing Website List is an effective tool to strip pirates of their source of revenue.
"This method of disruption, rather than traditional prosecution, has proven to be a success. We are able to offer value for money for our stakeholders rather than seeking difficult and time-consuming website take-downs in hard-to-reach jurisdictions," he said.
Indonesia is the fourth country in the Asia-Pacific region to take this approach, after Vietnam, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
Aprofi chairman Fauzan Zidni quoted a study by the MPA that shows that 75 percent of ads on illegal file-sharing websites are for pornography and gambling websites, while the remainder are by legal brands.
"We seek to invite the brands to make the 25 percent disappear," he said during the launch of the Infringing Website List at Grandkemang Hotel in Kemang, South Jakarta, on Thursday (12/10).
He quoted a report by the Digital Citizens Alliance, which shows that pirate websites globally generated $209 million from advertising alone in 2015.
"We don't know how much Indonesian pirate websites rack up each year, because there have not been any studies on that," Fauzan added.
Speaking as a representative of the country's music industry, Asiri general manager Ventha Lesmana said piracy websites have caused musicians and music labels to suffer huge losses.
"Around 2.8 billion songs, worth Rp 8.4 trillion [$621 million] in total, are illegally downloaded by Indonesians each year. The money does not go to the musicians, record producers, or the labels," Ventha said.
Before the establishment of the Infringing Website List, site-blocking was the key procedure to combat copyright infringements in the creative industry. Bekraf, Aprofi and Asiri would normally identify piracy websites and report them to the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to get them blocked.
The latest issue of MPA Asia-Pacific Reporter revealed that 260 copyright-infringing websites for films and television shows have been blocked since 2015.
The number is higher for music, but it is not yet an effective measure to combat online piracy.
"Asiri has proven success in blocking access to major piracy websites. We've seen more than 300 infringing websites blocked, reducing the level of online copyright infringements. The Infringing Website List is the next step to bring down piracy websites and starve them of the money they do not in any way deserve," Ventha said.
Representing local advertising companies, PPPI chairman Charlie Aziz welcomed the Infringing Website List, saying that he believes no brand wants to be associated with illegal websites.
"One of our programs is good corporate governance in Indonesia. Ad placement on the infringing websites cause harm to many people in the industry and has negative consequences for brands' reputations. Therefore, as an association with 140 advertising agencies as members, we support this initiative wholeheartedly," he said.