The UK Gambling Commission has recently issued a supplementary consultation on the proposed requirement for an additional operating licence condition to ensure that licensees take responsibility for ensuring that advertisements place by themselves or others (including affiliates) do not appear on unauthorised websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content.

Is this consultation relevant to you?

The consultation is relevant to all licence holders' who place digital advertisements themselves or via third parties.

The consultation will also be relevant to those with an interest in digital marketing and copyright protection.

Placing digital advertisements responsibly – the proposal

The Gambling Commission has previously asked the industry for views on whether or not new requirements were required to ensure that digital adverts do not appear on websites providing unauthorised access to digital content.

Whilst there was consensus that adverts should not be appearing on websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted material, there were differences in opinion as to how this could be achieved.

The Commission have stated that whilst they have brought this issue to the attention of major gambling operators, advertisements continue to appear on websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content.

The Commission has taken the view that they cannot continue to operate on a reactive basis as they have been doing have in the circumstances are now consulting on the addition of the following proposed licence condition:

Licensees must ensure that they, or third parties (including affiliates) with whom they contract for the provision of any aspect of a licensees business related to licensed activities, do not place digital advertisements on websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content.

How to achieve compliance

The Commission has not specified any suggested measures that operators might wish to take to ensure compliance with the measure, but have outlined in the consultation a number of steps that a business might wish to consider:

  1. Access to and proactive use of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Units (PIPCU) Infringing Website List.
  2. Clear messaging/guidance to affiliates.
  3. Tightening contractual terms and conditions with affiliates to make very clear that adverts must not appear on illegal websites and ensuring robust action can be taken when breaches occur.
  4. Proactive monitoring of advert placement through the use of commercial content verification software.

What should you do?

If you are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and place digital advertisements, you should consider responding to the Consultation, a copy of which can be found here.

Responses to the Consultation must be with the Gambling Commission by the 20 June 2016.

Any proposed changes will be implemented in the Autumn 2016.

Given that this is a supplementary consultation on an issue that the Commission has previously sought views, it seems almost inevitable that the condition will be imposed on all operators' licences as drafted. Business would be well advised to start considering the steps that they can and should take to ensure that they are in a position to comply with any changes by the autumn of 2016.