The OTT and live stream industry’s piracy problems necessitate a coordinated, global response


As the OTT and live stream industry has grown to unprecedented proportions, it has necessitated the implementation of comprehensive content security measures that cover all aspects of content delivery. When video watermarking and digital rights management (DRM) are used in tandem, content providers can produce, distribute, and monetize high-quality content over the internet at ultra-high definition (UHD).

The biggest threat to today’s content ecosystem – online piracy and the resulting revenue loss – must also be addressed. Pirates illegally capture and distribute content via torrents, streaming sites, and cyberlockers by exploiting analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog transformations. Security policies and technology advancements in the fields of video watermarking and multi-DRM encryption have not been enough to prevent the spread of malware and piracy.

As piracy is an issue that affects the entire content supply chain, it is critical to recognise the importance of all the players in the content ecosystem. Providers of security technology, device manufacturers and distributors of digital content are just a few examples. In order to hold productive discussions and develop policies that close any systemic gaps and combat piracy at its source, the following conditions must be in place:

  • Because of its global reach, piracy is no longer just a one-man show or a regional phenomenon. All types of premium content markets and genres are breeding grounds for it. The time has come for an effective content security strategy that includes video watermarking at its core.
  • Pirated content may come from a variety of sources using a variety of video watermarking techniques, DRM vendors, and associated identifiers because there are no standard protocols for tracking sessions. Watermark detection in pirated content can be difficult because of the sheer number and variety of environments in which content is monitored. Such interoperability challenges and enforcement strategies necessitate the development of a standardised protocol to address them.
  • There are many different policy areas to consider. Video watermarking technology for DRM protected content is hampered further by differing approaches to piracy enforcement across jurisdictions. It is necessary to conduct comprehensive training and education programmes to synchronise piracy enforcement policies across markets and business streams so that all relevant policymakers have a common understanding of the challenges that exist.

Streaming content’s ecosystem therefore necessitates a coordinated approach in order to meet these challenges and stop worldwide piracy attacks.

It is much easier to insert and remove video watermarks using frame-based forensic watermarking techniques. Using just a few frames from the movie for extraction is also a big advantage for these tools. By securely embedding information that can be recovered in the case of a breach or leak, frame-based watermarking techniques can offer an additional degree of protection to DRM-protected content. One-step watermarking can also be included within a video encoder, however this is not generally used. This requires a new encode for each individual file requested by the end user. Hence, it is most ideal for application in smaller quantities, such as screeners or post-production.