M&E Daily

Irdeto: Collaboration is Needed to Fight Piracy and ‘There’s No Panacea’

Collaboration is required to combat the ongoing problem of piracy and there is no one solution among the many technologies available to fight it, according to Erik Hietbrink, technical product manager for watermarking and online piracy detection at Irdeto.

“There is no single solution to fight piracy,” he said Oct. 13, during the webinar “Fighting Piracy is a Collaborative Effort.”

“There’s no panacea” and a coordinated plan and comprehensive, multi-layered tool kit protecting content from end to end are the keys to protecting valuable revenue, he said.

“Piracy is eating away the revenue of content owners [and] for the operators that are broadcasting the content,” he told viewers.

Pirates also earn revenue at the expense of device manufacturers as they illegally transmit thousands of copies of legally licensed content, offer the latest movies and TV shows, and rebroadcast live sports and other TV content, he said.

One issue is that many consumers typically don’t even realize they are getting content from a pirate site because it often looks so professional now, he noted. And many of the pirates are “largely untracked,” he added.

Some organizations, meanwhile, “still don’t have a good view of how widely spread their content is and, therefore, have no idea what impact it has on their bottom line,” according to Hietbrink.

Content owners are now demanding extra layers of security, in part because of the money piracy is costing them and in part because the damage it can do to an organization’s brand reputation, he said.

To gain control of the problem, “you need to address all chains in the entire link” and you also must “control the privacy and integrity of the content at all stages of the chain,” he noted.

Enterprise-grade security and robust content protection are required for the fight against piracy, he said. Access control and maintaining the privacy and integrity of content at all stages of the value chain are needed, and everyone plays an important role in mitigating risk and protecting valuable content, he said.

Irdeto security solutions alone protect more than 5 billion devices and applications for the world’s best-known brands, he told viewers and went on to note that its solutions include what any effective system for fighting piracy require:

  • Multi-digital rights management (DRM) with authentication in which content is encrypted and users are required to log in, limiting access to content to only those users with credentials. Many organizations implement this badly or not at all, Hietbrink said.
  • Concurrent subscriber management (CSM) with authentication, which “can make a major difference” also because it manages the number of streams from a user/profile, preventing credential sharing. Often, a subscriber does not even know his or her subscription is being pirated, Hietbrink noted.
  • Watermarking is also an “essential tool” because it identifies the unique user and distributor of the leaked content, detecting weaknesses in the distribution chain.
  • App watch, which provides an extra level of protection and enables operators to regain control of open store apps downloaded on Android hybrid set-top boxes, identifying apps/plug-ins that facilitate pirated content. It offers the ability to notify users and/or quarantine unstable/malicious apps and illegal plug-ins, Hietbrink said.
  • Online piracy detection (OPD) service, providing automated scanning, augmented by expert analyst review to identify pirated content online, enforcing all illegal streams from social media, streaming sites, Kodi and search engines to mitigate spread of pirated content. “Without such a service you basically do not have a good overview of what happens with your content,” Hietbrink said, adding it makes “visible what your piracy problem is.”
  • Cyber services, which investigate and collect evidence to support criminal cases to take down problematic piracy services and remove ads for illicit services.

By combining all these services, you get more value, Hietbrink told viewers. For example, combining multi-DRM with watermarking and OPD enables streaming services to identify compromised devices leaking content and then revoke them at the user level or have the video stream downgraded, he said.

“You can do a lot to prevent content from leaking but, in the end, content will be pirated,” he conceded. However, good security increases the hurdle for pirates to share and monetize content they steal, he noted.

Although watermarking is enormously helpful in the fight, using it is still not standard operating practice among content owners. That is because there continue to be hurdles involved in using it, he said, pointing to: Reluctance to disrupt existing processes; a lack of resources to deal with difficult integrations of workflows; and high cost implications due to “one size fits all” business models.

He went on to highlight the benefits of the Irdeto TraceMark Distributor Watermarking Concept, noting the company partnered with IBM Aspera to offer user to multi-user watermarking delivery via IBM Aspera on Cloud (AoC). He then demonstrated the AoC+TraceMark watermarking solution.

The benefits of a DMW Cloud Managed Service like this, he explained, are: Fast deployment, ease of use, an unchanged user experience, support for Ultra High-Definition and High Dynamic Range video, and support for flexible business models.