Digital piracy is rife and stakes are higher than ever for service providers. So how can you build on DRM to reduce copyright infringement and minimize losses?

The very nature of video piracy means it’s tough to put an accurate figure on global levels. But some estimates claim illegal streaming makes up about 24% of global Internet traffic. Whatever the exact cost, it’s clear that pirate sites are hurting the industry.

If you fall victim to the scourge of the digital seas, it can lead to reputational damage, loss of broadcast rights, lost revenue and long legal battles.

The industry has always used conditional access and digital rights management (DRM) to protect content, whether that’s live sports, news, movies or hit TV shows. But on its own, it simply isn’t enough to deal with modern threats.

Beyond DRMEnd points under attack

There are several ways attackers can get at that all-important video content. The easiest target is the end point: set-top boxes, PCs, laptops, game consoles, smart TVs, tablets and smartphones.

The main threats to devices include:

  • Device hacking, for example jailbreaking or rooting of iOS/Android devices, which overrides built-in security protections and makes content easier to steal.
  • App hacking to access unencrypted content.
  • Credential sharing/theft. This cost the industry US$500 million in revenue in 2015.
  • Illegal live re-streaming of content after capturing it unencrypted from legitimate end point devices.

Stem the tide

It’s vital to find a technology partner that can identify the methods and sources of piracy and shut down or at least disrupt the pirate services.

As the end point is most at risk, you need to:

  • Monitor how content is being delivered from that end point and ensure it’s going out over an approved secure link.
  • Install security controls to make sure the app hasn’t been tampered with. And deliver security updates when necessary.
  • Check the device itself hasn’t been compromised via a jailbreak, for example.
  • Look out for potential content leaks on online channels and networks. With the right tools you can close the loop by identifying and blocking the offending end point in real time. This applies most to live sports, where every second counts.

A holistic approach

Technology solutions such as the ones above can go a long way towards tackling video piracy. But don’t forget the non-technical tools at your disposal.

Pursue pirates through the courts to send a strong message to others. Having the tools in place to monitor the open internet and closed pirate networks for leaks will give you that vital evidence to support legal teams.

Just one leak can have a major impact on your business. As end-point devices are the weakest link here, you need to invest in tools that can target and secure content at this layer.


Michal Brenner

Marketing Manager

Service Provider Video Marketing