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Digital video piracy is widespread, growing, diverse and continues to affect the bottom line of studios. The negative influences of piracy are not limited to revenue loss but include bandwidth consumption, job losses and brand reputation. Piracy is not only damaging if an entire film is leaked or pirated, but this also negatively affects short clips such as dailies, scenes, and trailers.

Stay-at-home orders from the covid-19 pandemic have accelerated and refined the practice of piracy as well. Websites hosting illegal movies and TV shows have attracted more than 137 billion views last year with many other methods of piracy consumption readily available. And piracy and account sharing are forecasted to cost US Pay-TV and OTT operators $67 billion worldwide by 2023. According to Bloomberg, websites and apps featuring pirated movies and TV shows make about $1.3 billion from advertising each year. In other words, a holistic approach is needed when trying to combat all forms of piracy or these numbers will only increase.

Some Hollywood studios have their own online security personnel. Others might even have customized tools to tackle and monitor piracy themselves. But their core focus is really about provide entertainment. After all, we all know that their adversaries (i.e. internationally operating online criminals) are often technically sophisticated. These studios need a technical partner that can play a proactive role in helping to define standards (such as how to easily and effectively apply watermarking to their content), create new functionality, dashboards that provide insights into active piracy on their content and most importantly, bundle other relevant services such as collaborating with international law enforcement bodies.

Whether you are producing short clips, high-end videogames, blockbuster films  or streaming live sports, a comprehensive 360 degree “tackle in real time” anti-piracy approach is needed. Threats are diverse, complex and growing. Combining technology (forensic watermarking, web crawlers, etc.) with a human approach (investigators, law enforcement, forensic analysts, etc.) is a very effective way to fight piracy and cybercrime.

In order to properly protect the revenue of media services and the copyright of multimedia content, it is important to understand the variety of services, technologies and personnel that Irdeto offers. In this upcoming blog series we will dive lightly and in clear and simple terms into:

  • the benefits of watermarking
  • methods to tackle online piracy
  • the breadth of the video piracy threat landscape and
  • the comprehensive palette of services and people Irdeto has to drown the pirates

In order to protect the content and revenue of your business, the key prerogative is to understand the benefits of forensic watermarking solutions. Let’s outline what forensic watermarking actually is and how it protects against piracy:

    Forensic watermarking places an imperceptible watermark on a video asset.  The video asset can be a short clip, feature film, TV series or sports event; be it is live or streamed.
    Forensic watermarking can also be used during film production, post-production or OTT consumption.  And it can be over a broadcast or unicast transmission medium.
    When necessary, watermarking can be used to gather evidence for criminal proceedings. Watermarking is used to uniquely identify its authorized user while providing irrefutable evidence of misuse and to enforce contractual usage agreements between a content owner and those who shares its content.
    A forensic watermark is robust, secure and can’t be modified or altered without damaging the video asset; thereby ensuring that watermarked content can always be tracked.
    Forensic watermarking is only one tool in your entire anti-piracy toolbox.  You will need the ability to detect, monitor, and immediately remove illegal content. Irdeto provides you with a content protection suite with solutions such as conditional access, multi-DRM, brand protection, cyber resilience programs and much more. 

In our next blog of this series we will take a dip into some of the methods used to tackle online piracy.

Have you recently produced a short clip? Is your production team producing a feature? Do you need help securing these with forensic watermarking?

Get in touch to learn more. And see these Irdeto Anti-Piracy webpages for further information:


Forensic Watermarking   –   Online Piracy Detection   –   Cyber Services