ACEing piracy calls for concerted efforts and advanced technologies

Content piracy has been moving faster and in various directions. To combat this long-term war will require even more efforts and measurements from both government and industry players, alongside advancement in technology.

Every demand prompts a supply. On a positive side, placing this model in the media and entertainment industry encourages content makers to produce even more creative and premium content to meet the demands of today’s fragmented audience.

But on the dark side, the more premium the content, the higher the possibility of that premium content being pirated. In the case of Game of Thrones, the premiere was pirated 54 million times in 24 hours, according to Muso, an anti-piracy analytics company.

Content piracy has been one of the biggest banes plaguing the music and video industry for decades. From the early days of CD/DVD piracy, this act of theft has evolved in the Internet age into methods like torrenting and use of virtual private network (VPN). Even with the rise of subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) platforms, which offer more affordable and flexible price plans, pirated content is still widely accessible through illegal streaming websites and sale of illegal set-top boxes (STBs).

To protect the dynamic legal market for creative content and reducing online piracy, 30 content creators and on-demand entertainment companies from around the world launched the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE). The alliance, formed in 2017, comprises members from traditional broadcast networks like BBC Worldwide, HBO and The Walt Disney Company – as well as SVoD service providers such as Hulu and Netflix.

In August last year, ACE obtained a permanent injunction from the Federal Court in Canada against Vader Streams, a purveyor of unauthorised film and TV content. According to the media release, the alliance achieved “full suspension of Vader Streams’ operations, and the piracy outfit was ordered to pay US$10 million in damages”.

Vader Streams was an IPTV piracy network providing more than 200 dealers of illicit content with unauthorised access to 1,300 live streaming TV channels and a library of up to 2,400 movies and 350 TV shows.

Charles Rivkin, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, applauds the verdict, saying: “Actions like these can help reduce piracy and promote a dynamic, legal marketplace for creative content that provides audiences with more choices than ever before while supporting millions of jobs in the film and TV industry.”

In Asia, a new study commissioned by the Asia Video Industry Association’s (AVIA) Coalition Against Piracy (CAP), has revealed that 23% of Malaysian online consumers use a TV box, also known as illicit streaming device (ISD), to stream pirated TV and video content, and 50% of all online consumers have used piracy streaming websites to access premium content.

A similar research has also been conducted among online Filipino consumers, and the study finds that 34% of consumers use an ISD to stream pirated TV series and video content. This latest research reveals a “substantial increase” in ISD usage when compared to a study under­taken last year, which found that 28% of online Filipino consumers used ISDs to stream pirated content.

Ernest Cu, president and CEO of Globe Telecom, says: “The proliferation of ISDs in the market as an access of pirated content affects the livelihood of people in the local creative and film industries.

“There is a need to continue educating the public that online piracy is unsafe and can put data and devices at risk. We encourage everyone to watch content using legitimate sources only.”

Of the 34% of consumers who purchased an ISD for free streaming, 59% of the respondents stated that they had cancelled all or some of their subscription to legal pay-TV services. Specifically, 30% of the respondents asserted that they cancelled their international subscription services, which include pan-Asia-only offerings, as a direct consequence of owning an ISD. Some 24% of the respondents indicated that they have cancelled a specific part of their cable-TV subscription packages.

The research also discovers that 66% of online Filipino consumers have accessed streaming piracy websites or torrent sites to access premium content without paying any subscription fees.

Neil Gane, general manager of AVIA’s CAP, comments: “The ISD ecosystem is impacting all businesses involved in the production and distribution of legitimate content. Effective enforcement and disruption solutions are key, such as an efficient site-blocking mechanism disabling access to egregious ISD applications and piracy streaming websites and meaningful cooperation with e-platforms where ISDs are openly sold.”

British telco Vodafone has adopted Nagra’s cloud-hosted and cloud-operated Security Services Platform – Nagra cloud.SSP – to protect Vodafone TV (VTV) services across a large number of operating companies, including those in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy and Romania. In addition to the deployment of Nagra cloud.SSP, the Nagra Connect client and player was also chosen to complement the end-to-end security solution, thus enabling “comprehensive” security for VTV across STBs, web browsers, open devices and connected TVs.

Based on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model and using a multi-tenant cloud platform, Nagra cloud.SSP supports each operator market as a single tenant with secure device authentication and session management features. The Nagra cloud.SSP security platform runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS), enabling Vodafone to centrally manage all its security needs, including those that extend beyond traditional content protection, via a single platform.

As for Nagra Connect, it is a converged conditional access system (CAS)/digital rights management (DRM) client for connected STB and TV. Its secure player extends the viewing experience securely to all portable media devices.

Nuno Sanches, group head of fixed product development, Vodafone, comments: “Securing both the content and the service is key to Vodafone, and Nagra security solutions are best-in-class.

“As we continue to roll out VTV to more of our operating countries, we rely on Nagra to ensure that we remain at the forefront of service protection and provide the best product offering to our customers.”

For Dalet, the company has integrated the content security layer – including embedded modules to proactively manage risks – within its solutions for archive and content management workflows. From small to large-scale organisations, Dalet’s Archive solutions offer the capability to optimise workflow and maximise media companies’ assets.

Dalet’s Archive secure solutions manage several types of multimedia content, including video, audio, texts, documents and more. Designed to support news, sports, programmes and radio workflows, the Archive solutions allow media to be easily accessed and findable in a secured manner from any location through a web or mobile client, as well as to third-party systems with the rich integration layer.

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