Piracy challenges faced by OTT and live stream industry need coordinated, global action

The unprecedented boom experienced by OTT and live stream industry has pushed the envelope for adopting robust content security strategies covering the whole gamut of the content delivery framework. Video watermarking, in combination with DRM protected content, go a long way in enabling content owners and distributors to produce and distribute valuable and binge-worthy content over OTT at higher resolutions (UHD) and fidelity.

At the same time, it has become imperative to handle the biggest challenge that the content ecosystem faces today – online piracy and the resultant revenue loss. Taking advantage of analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog transformations, pirates illegally capture and distribute content over torrents, streaming sites, and cyberlockers. Concerted efforts in formulating hardened security policies and technology advancements in the fields of video watermarking and multi-DRM encryption have not been enough.

It is important to recognize the role of all players in the content ecosystem whose support and collaboration is indispensable to handle piracy at each stage of the content flow. These include content owners and distributors, device manufacturers, cable operators, security technology providers, and content monitoring services. A conducive environment is necessary to have discussions and formulate policies plug any systemic loopholes and attack piracy at its roots, as explained below:

  • Global nature of piracy: Piracy is no longer a one-man job or something limited to a few regions or markets. It spawns across all premium content markets and categories. An effective content security strategy, with video watermarking at its core, is the need of the hour.
  • Lack of standardized protocols for session-based tracking: Pirated content may originate from multiple sources, with each using different video watermarking techniques, DRM vendors, and associated identifiers. The scale and the multiplicity of environments cause a challenge for content monitoring providers to use the right watermark detector and scan for the watermark in the pirated content. There is an impending need to formulate a standardized protocol to solve such interoperable challenges and facilitate enforcement strategies.
  • Multiplicity of policy domains: Different jurisdictions have varying approaches to handle piracy, which further impedes the adoption of video watermarking tech of DRM protected content on a global scale. For all relevant policymakers to have a common view of the existent challenges, there is a need to conduct comprehensive training and education programs to synchronize piracy enforcement policies across markets and business streams.

Thus, the streaming content ecosystem needs a coordinated approach to overcome these challenges and stem piracy attacks, which are global in nature.

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