NAGRA Blog: Industry Collaboration in the Battle Against Piracy - Learnings from the Pay-TV Show

by NAGRA Blog

The loss the media and entertainment industry is incurring from piracy is increasing every day. The growing scale and sophistication of the pirate threat is something that cannot be ignored.  Valuable content is the lifeblood of the industry’s success, supported by an optimized user experience. Both must be protected to ensure long-term success. 

This was the basis of a recent conversation between industry executives at the Pay-TV Show in Denver.  Colleagues from Twentieth Century Fox and Tengence LLC joined David Würgler, NAGRA’s Senior Director Anti-Piracy Litigation, on the panel “Achieving cooperation in the battle against piracy” moderated by Mike Dano, FierceCable’s Editor-in-Chief.

It was clear that every person on the panel agreed that piracy is an industry problem that must be tackled by all players in the value chain. From service providers to content owners to third-party vendors, such as social media sites and payment vendors, it is safe to say that it takes a village to take on pirates. Threats to broadcast systems, IP-connected devices, the latest Kodi add-ons and the cultural and moral entertainment standards by region is forcing studios, sports rights owners, pay-TV service providers, and even government entities, to take action to understand, manage and disrupt the ecosystem in which piracy operates.

“There is no silver bullet to fighting piracy. Pirates are doing all they can to work the angles and utilize all technologies available to them, which is why we must be dedicated to doing the same, if not more,” said Würgler. “This approach is exactly what NAGRA brings to the table with comprehensive programs that cover legal, technical and enforcement efforts that are making a difference in protecting the valuable content that drives the industry forward.”

How big is the problem? Each country varies in the degree in which pirates operate and consumers view pirated content. According to panelists, compared to other counties, the percentage of people who view pirated content in the U.S. is low. However, because the U.S. has the highest number of people online, the numbers are actually the highest in the world. Access to broadband is the fuel to the pirate fire. The trick is to get ahead of the pirated content adoption now, and not wait for the problem to get out of control. The music industry is a great lesson-learned on this front. In some countries, such as India, having a pirated box in the living room has become a cultural and behavioral norm. What the U.S. and other established counties are doing well is fighting the pirate culture to keep consumers from believing that stealing is okay.

So what can be done? With content protection technologies based on CAS/DRM solutions working with great success, priorities have shifted to other initiatives, such as forensic watermarking and anti-piracy programs and services.

Forensic watermarking solutions insert an imperceptible and tamper-resistant watermark in the content, which then enables rights owners to pursue piracy incident and turn it off at the source. Using a watermark enables companies like NAGRA to scan the Internet and pirated streaming services for illegally redistributed content.  When such identified, it empowers the rights owner to take steps to stop the illegal flow of content, helping to keep that content in the legitimate value chain. Forensic watermarking is also a key part of the MovieLabs Enhanced Content Protection requirements and will be required by most Hollywood studios for the licensing of 4K and HD HDR content.

Advanced technologies, including watermarking and content protection solutions, need the added protection and action of Anti-Piracy Services to reach full potential. NAGRA combines deep intelligence about global pirate networks with real-time monitoring, takedown and litigation services that improve the defense against online content sharing piracy. For example, NAGRA can monitor, detect and find a threat and then work with local governments to take action. This has resulted in a number of legal wins to take down pirates.

According to Würgler, “When integrated with CA and DRM systems, watermarking and anti-piracy services will ensure the end-to-end digital ecosystem provides a holistic approach for true content value protection that will play a pivotal role in keeping pirates at bay.”

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