As reported in RapidTV News, ABI Research is now saying that video service providers are estimated to be losing around $6 to $8 billion a year due to piracy. While the report demonstrates that piracy is still a serious problem, and one that needs to be addressed in a serious manner, it also shows something that might seem counter intuitive. DRM is actually working.

How can we say that? Well, the report points out something else, the methods of piracy have now changed. What used to be a rampant problem of illegal copying of video content on the device side (such as copying DVDs) and pirate satellite set-top boxes has now shifted to “illegal fully-loaded Kodi boxes, social network live streams, torrents of exclusive series or movies, web-based redistribution via file lockers, and password sharing,” (RapidTV News).

Piracy changing with the times

The latest methods for distributing illegal content show that piracy has changed along with the way with consumers. Increasingly consumers are leaving broadcast TV and recorded physical media for easy-to-use, attractively priced OTT (over-the-top) streaming video services overflowing with top-rate content that can be enjoyed anytime they want and on any screen they desire.

Of course, it is still possible to illegally copy streaming video so OTT service providers continue to use DRM in their video services. The end result is it is now a much easier for path for consumers to spend a relatively small amount of money to enjoy as much video as they can possibly watch rather than deal with all of the hassles of pirating it on their own.

Even with the rise of OTT video, the demand for pirated content is still there and unlikely to disappear anytime soon. To compete with OTT services, pirates have to emulate them in much the same manner, i.e. provide consumers easy-to-use methods of consuming their ill-gotten gains. So, it’s no accident the piracy “products” in many ways look like the legitimate services that consumers use every day.

Adding service based countermeasures

To make their services happen, the pirates have turned to more “professional” ways of stealing content, such as using cameras to record video played on a screen, stealing video content from service providers to the entertainment industry, etc. In many ways, these methods are much the same as the ones that criminals have used for years.

Standard DRM still remains important to “keeping honest people honest.” Yet, they also need to keep up with the pirates. This is why piracy countermeasure services such as ExpressPlay uDRM are adding features such as watermarking that allow content creators to determine just where pirate content is leaking from.

At Intertrust, we’re proud to have played a part in helping the content industry win one battle and look forward to playing a part in the next one.