Follow The Money: Online Piracy and Self-Regulation in the Advertising Industry

Michail Batikas, Jörg Claussen, Christian Peukert

Research output: Working paperResearch


In this paper, we study the effects of a self-regulatory effort, orchestrated by the European Commission, that aims to reduce advertising revenues for publishers of copyright infringing content. Historical data lets us follow how the third-party advertising and tracking services associated with a large number of piracy websites and a corresponding set of legitimate “placebo” websites change after the agreement to self-regulate went in place. We find that larger EU-based advertisers comply with the initiative and reduce their connections with piracy websites. We do not find reductions for other non-advertising services that track consumers, which has potentially important implications for the efficiency of targeted advertising.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMunich
PublisherIFO Institute, Center for Economic Studies (CES)
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
SeriesCESifo Working Paper


  • Piracy
  • Copyright enforcement
  • Online advertising
  • Natural experiment

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