What are common forms of digital media piracy?

Digital content creators face a never-ending battle to guard their premium copyrighted content against digital piracy. The increasing development of internet infrastructure globally and the advent of online video streaming have made content owners’ pursuit in curbing digital piracy even more challenging. Miscreants use various tools and methods to steal and spread copyrighted content. Here are a few commonly used methods:

  • Screen recording: There are several software applications easily available on the internet which allow users to record a mobile or computer screen. It is not illegal to download these applications, but miscreants use it widely to record copyrighted video content from premium OTT services, like Netflix, and leak them. Such captures reduce the quality of video streams, but since OTT content is in high demand – many of its videos being Hollywood blockbusters – there is a high demand for it in the piracy market.
  • Watermark removal: Pirates have resorted to using sophisticated software that removes or obscures forensic watermarks, making it a difficult task to trace the original source of piracy. This trend has been increasingly noticed in live sports streaming. Without proper forensic watermarking info in video frames, there is little that content owners and law enforcement can do even if they lay hands on pirated video files.
  • Renting: It is basically lending a copy of the original source for a short period without the approval of the copyright owner.
  • Camcorder piracy: Recording any portion of a movie on a computer, mobile device, or tablet or even in theater using any kind of recording devices, like a video camera, another mobile phone or voice recorder is part of camcorder piracy. Pirates generally use a video camera to record a newly released movie on an OTT platform or a theater and release it online in a few hours if not days. These leaks cause major losses to filmmakers and distributors. In some cases, pirates manage to access the movie even before the release and leak it to piracy websites.
  • Counterfeiting: Pirates often create duplicates of original content. Miscreants try their best to replicate every aspect of the original product, including the box, CDs, and manuals to make the counterfeit look as authentic as possible to the naked eye. These counterfeit products are often sold at only a fraction of the original product.

Since piracy is so rampant, especially with premium content broadcast on OTT platforms and live streams of music and sporting events, the entertainment industry spends billions of dollars each year in finding effective ways to control it. The multi drm solution is a direct response to the pirates’ international networks.

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