Who’s responsible for fighting online piracy?

As you know from my earlier post, we’re facing a wave of piracy bigger than we’ve ever seen before. OTT piracy – aka content redistribution – is today’s biggest threat. But is it down to the pay-TV operators or content rights holders to take on this fight?

A common enemy
There’s no doubt about it. Online pirates are bad for business. Pay-TV operators are facing potential subscriber churn to cheaper illegal services. For content rights holders this is an emerging threat affecting loss of revenue as these alternative sources are diluting the value of the content.

They’re your subscribers – you fix it!
It’s not just new OTT entrants that are the pay-TV operator’s competitors. Online pirates are too! They offer a quality ‘plug & play’ experience, with a wide range of compelling content at a very reasonable rate – often significantly cheaper than pay-TV operators.
Some operators have secured and optimized their platforms. And they’ve implemented the latest technology including session-based forensic marking. It’s fixed! Or is it?

What about the operators in your region that aren’t investing in fighting online piracy? Their content is still open to online pirates which can be offered to your subscribers. A leading OTT provider has proposed an interesting solution. They want to withhold some of the payment to the content rights owners – whose content is illegally available from other licensees. That money will then be pooled together with their own investment for a piracy fund.

It’s your content – you fix it!
Having their compelling content, particularly live sports, available in a pirate package can hit the rights holder’s bottom line. Licensees could argue against having to pay the high prices for the rights when the content is not being controlled. Rights holders need to be able to identify which licensee the leaked content is coming from.

Hollywood studios have mandated contractual piracy requirements for a number of years. I expect to see sports rights holders following by mandating requirements such as forensic marking and anti-piracy services to protect their valuable assets. But that is only one part of it. The rights holders also need to assist their licensees when it comes to enforcement as well as possible litigation.

A common approach
Providing innovative piracy solutions and services to pay-TV operators as well as being security advisors to rights holders have given us valuable insight. To be effective in combating illegal content redistribution there are 6 aspects which need to be considered:

  1. Implementing robust CA and/or DRM systems
  2. Implementing a robust forensic marking process
  3. Ongoing search for new sources of pirate content
  4. Acquisition and analysis of pirated content and devices
  5. Ongoing disruption of the distribution of illegal content
  6. Monitoring, investigation and prosecution of illegal service providers

Everyone can benefit from such a common approach: pay-TV operators, rights holders and consumers. When it comes to fighting online piracy – we’re stronger together.