There has been speculation that websites which provide unauthorised access to copyrighted content, such as illegal file-sharing websites which allow people to download the latest movies for free, are being partially funded by gambling operators advertising on such sites.
The Gambling Commission has expressed concern about this issue and has taken action, by introducing a new licence condition, to obligate its licensees to take responsibility for ensuring their adverts are not placed on sites “providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content”.
The new licence condition (licence condition 16.1.1) requires licensees to:
a) ensure that they do not place digital advertisements on websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content,
b) take all reasonable steps to ensure that third parties with whom they contract for the provision of any aspect of their business related to the licensed activities do not place digital advertisements on websites providing unauthorised access to copyrighted content, and
c) ensure that the terms upon which they contract with such third parties enable them, subject to compliance with any dispute resolution provisions, to terminate the third party’s contract promptly if, in the licensee’s reasonable opinion, the third party has been responsible for placing digital advertisements for the licensed activities on such websites.
One significant consequence of the introduction of this licence condition is that gambling operators must ensure that any new contracts they sign with affiliates include provisions which are compliant with it. In addition, operators should technically amend existing agreements, although it is likely to be difficult from a commercial perspective to ask an affiliate to include additional termination rights for an operator, without the affiliate receiving any additional benefit.
For the full text of the Gambling Commission’s response please see here.