CDSA Panel Delves Into Game Piracy Issues

Two security experts from Microsoft and The Walt Disney Studios shared their perspectives on content protection during a CDSA-produced panel at Tuesday’s LA Games Conference. Aaron Kornblum, senior director of security policy, Interactive Entertainment Business for Microsoft, and Ben Stanbury, manager of information safeguarding for The Walt Disney Studios, talked piracy in the games business with moderator Guy Finley, executive director of MESA and director of anti-piracy affairs for CDSA.

Acknowledging the constantly morphing worlds of content production and delivery, Kornblum and Stanbury said that although their companies have had processes in place for protecting physical content, there is a need to revamp the assessment processes for protecting digital content.

“The piracy threat is evolving. Pirates are going to follow the money, and digital piracy is thriving,” Kornblum said.

Microsoft has taken proactive steps to protect its hardware and software. By utilizing its Xbox Live service as a tool to connect device and content, the company is able to identify if a console has been altered to play pirated content. According to Kornblum, if such a console is detected, it is then restricted from utilizing Xbox Live services.

Stanbury also commented that in an effort to further dissuade physical piracy, game publishers are increasingly using online connectivity to activate content features within a title (i.e., not placing the content on the disc itself).

There have been situations, Kornblum admitted, where a creative approach to a solve a particular business unit’s immediate need has resulted in increased exposure to piracy or theft.

Stanbury added, “Transformation of internal process has traditionally been based on need or for increased efficiencies; however, now there needs to be a more comprehensive, company-wide approach to risk management.”

Both executives spoke to the importance of having trusted vendors as an integral part of the security process. They suggested keeping security in mind in the business development process, and having a flexible approach to digital content protection to achieve maximum results. They also said that having partners like the MPAA and CDSA helps support their piracy programs.