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DRM IS JUST ONE COMPONENT OF A FULL SPECTRUM OF SECURITY COMPONENTS USED IN CONCERT TO THWART THE THREAT OF PIRACY a partner that can handle that device fragmentation with a multi-DRM solution.” THE ANTI-PIRACY TOOLBOX There are several different tools used as part of the security process in protecting content, no matter how that content is presented, whether that’s on a DVD being sent out to a film reviewer, as a file in the cloud being worked on by a special FX team in another country, as live or video on demand (VOD), over-the-top (OTT) content being viewed or downloaded by a viewer, or any other number of possibilities. Watermarking, forensic or visual, “solves the issue of content out in the wild”, says Levy. “Watermarking can tell you who leaked the content. The more they use, the more you ratchet up the security level, as you can’t find it and you can’t necessarily see it. It’s the most powerful tool available to enable the reduction of piracy.” Running on both the client and server side, Levy explains operators are able to put a studio watermark into content when they receive it, as well as a session watermark in the content at the time of playback using ‘on-the-fly’ packaging. Levy adds they also use visual watermarks and ‘burn-ins,’ which is where operators print the user ’s information, IP or their session ID into the video frames as the content is being played back. Fingerprinting is mostly used to block content that is being tightly controlled by the licensor. An example of this is when a user loads a video containing fingerprinted music on to YouTube and the video is taken down, or if a user tries to upload a video

football league La Liga found itself facing a €250,000 fine by the Spanish Agency for Data Protection (AEPD) as it was accused of illegally using its fan app to track down people pirating its content. La Liga is said to have used its app to listen in on fan conversations in order to trace streaming of its content in locations such as bars. In its defence, La Liga has stated that it uses a fingerprinting technique to protect its content and is appealing the fine, yet this shows how little agencies and end users are aware of the risks of piracy, and how content is really protected. “Right now, every direct-to-consumer app in the universe uses DRM,” says Levy. “Whether it’s sports, TV, movies or long- form episodic content, DRM is a driver of allowing long-tail and AVOD content to be delivered under the studio’s mandated use of DRM. DRM enables downloads and offline playback of these types of content as well.” Like a knight on a white charger, DRM, while defending content, is also a deterrent against content thieves. It enables the likes of content creators like BBC iPlayer, DAZN and Netflix, as well as platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, to make content available and even downloadable, which means those who want to watch do not need to go to illegal sources for their fix of live football or the latest episode of the most addictive new series. However, Levy warns: “The biggest challenge out there for DRM is the number of platforms being used by viewers. It’s a hugely fragmented landscape, so for a DRM strategy to be successful, you need

in 2018, with people most interested in TV programmes. The US led this dodgy league with 17.4bn illegal piracy site visits, according to MUSO, a digital piracy tracking business. This was followed by Russia with 14.5bn, Brazil with 10.3bn, India with 9.6bn and the UK with 5.75bn. Live sports is a prime target for illegal streams and downloads, but leagues, federations and rights holders are now cracking down on pirates. In March 2019, three men in the UK were sentenced to a group total of 17 years in prison for selling illegal streams of Premier League games to more than 1000 pubs, clubs and private homes over a ten-year period. However, these crackdowns do not always go to plan. In June 2019, top Spanish

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