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Gambling Commission update: adverts must not be placed on websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content

Posted on 10 March 2022

On 7 February 2022, the Gambling Commission (“The Commission”) reminded licensees of their responsibility under Licence condition 16.1.1 of the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) to ensure that their adverts are not placed on websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content.

This includes the requirement for licensees to:

  • Take all reasonable steps to ensure that third parties with whom they contract do not place adverts on copyright infringing websites; and
  • Ensure that the terms upon which they contract with such third parties enable them to terminate the contract promptly if the third party has been responsible for placing adverts on such websites.

Despite a significant reduction in the number of adverts appearing on websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content, the Commission is not satisfied with the amount of adverts that still appear.

The Commission makes clear that adverts placed on websites that provide unauthorised access to copyrighted content contribute to the funding of those websites and therefore associate gambling with crime (in contravention of the first licensing objective under s.1 of the Gambling Act 2005).

The Commission has stated that licensees need to introduce additional controls or review the monitoring methods they currently have in place to ensure their adverts do not appear on copyright infringing websites. Although the Commission stops short of specifying any particular measures licensees should take, the reminder suggests that one such measure might include (but is not limited to) registering with and proactively monitoring the Infringing Website List (IWL) owned by the City of London Policy Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) to enable decisions to be made to cease advert placement on illegal websites.

The reminder also refers to a guide designed to assist operators and affiliates with the registration process which can be obtained by emailing: pipcuantipiracy@city-of-london.pnn.police.uk.

The Commission increasingly expects licensees to take account of updates published on its website. We, therefore, recommend that licensees register with the IWL and monitor it regularly.  Licensees should also consider if their policies and procedures for preventing adverts appearing on websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content (either directly or via affiliates) are appropriate and effective and make any necessary updates or improvements.

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