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Illegal Streaming Only Benefits the Bad Guys

jeudi 20 juin 2019, 01:13 , par Digital Pro Sound
Content Insider #628 – Content Shrinkage

By Miles Weston

            “What is dead may never die… but kill the
bastards anyway.” – Theon,
“Game of Thrones” Season 8, HBO, 2019

Back in 2010, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association
of America) learned the hard way that vigorously protecting content from
illegal sharing was dumb. 

Only an idiot or a really mean, calloused lawyer would
sue a single mother of four, contending she was responsible for the 24 music
downloads her kids grabbed without her knowledge — $1.5M!

Not cool guys!

However, at the other end of the spectrum, we really
can’t wrap our head around the conclusion that a “moderate level” of piracy is
actually a good thing as proposed by Antino Kim,
assistant professor of operations and decision technologies at Indiana University’s Kelley School of
Business  and his co-authors
— Atanu Lahiri, associate professor of information systems at the University
of Texas-Dallas, and Debabrata Dey, professor of information systems at the
University of Washington.

After all, their study they came to the conclusion
that some level of piracy had a positive impact on profits for
manufacturers/retailers and enhanced consumer welfare. 

to them, piracy can actually reduce – or completely eliminate – the adverse
effect of double marginalization (manufacturers and retailers making a profit on
product/service produced/sold).

forbid that people in the supply chain should get paid for their contribution.

admitted that when enforcement is low and piracy is rampart, everyone in the
supply chain suffers but somehow determined that a certain level of piracy
might be a good thing.

their academic parallel universe that says the best thing to do is squeeze everyone
in the supply chain and the product/service will somehow arrive at an optimal
retail price and life will be good.

it feels like they first developed their conclusion (consciously or
subconsciously), worked backward and yep, they were right! 

certain level of piracy is a good thing.

Sorry, we just can’t agree that content piracy –
music, TV shows, movies – is a victimless crime:

There are estimated to be more than 190B visits to
pirate media sites last year in 2018 (5.75B from UK, 17.4B US)Last year too, HBO’s Game of Thrones had 90 million illegal
views during the first three daysSeason 8 Game of Thrones’ first episode was pirated 55M times in the first
24 hrs.The TV, movie industry lost $51.6B to piracy last
year (film industry takes in about $10B annually)The M&E industry is the biggest freelance
(independent) industry we know and non-paying content viewing ultimately
impacts the contracted film crew with fewer projects, opportunities

When people watch the Emmy or Oscar awards, tune in
to TMZ or read the tabloids, they get the idea that “everyone” in Hollywood,
Bollywood or in some way is involved in the TV/movie business lives the “good

Those folks are less than.5 percent
of the thousands of folks you see listed on the shows’ credits (if they even
get listed), put in a longer day than those who walk the red carpet, go home in
the evening and pay to go to see the movie just like the rest of us.

The less a TV series or movie brings
in, the less money is available for future projects.

When our son first got into this season’s Game of Thrones, we did what seemed
right, logical…we went to HBO, signed up and let the kid binge until he was

Sure, he could have visited any number of pirate
sites but…

Who benefits

Back in 2015, Netflix’s Reed Hastings said his
biggest competitor was Popcorn Time – – a multi-platform,
a free software BitTorrent as an “alternative to subscription-based streaming
services that makes it super easy to find favorite TV shows, films.

and others are legal on a technicality, thanks to the dramatic growth of OTT
streaming.  They don’t really host any of
the content but provide a streaming link from their very professional-looking,
huge content library.  Pick a publisher,
pick a show and it’s probably there to stream to your screen regardless of
where you’re located.  They aren’t
“encumbered” by various countries laws or restrictions just stream the content
to your screen and enjoy. 

there’s no guarantee you’re not also downloading malware, viruses or tools a
hacker can use to control your device and personal data. 

nothing is perfect.  It’s streaming on
the Internet and … it’s free.

addition, each “new, unique” service provides people with an embarrassment of
riches and convenience.

have Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO and CBS All Access.  We’ll probably add Disney+ and Apple TV+ this
coming 2019 autumn.

it is kind of a pain to have five to seven services taking a little money out
of your bank account annually. 

what’s even worse are the new streaming pirate sites that are delivering a real
service – along with malware, adware, etc. – because folks go to one site and BAM!
find what they want and watch it. They don’t have to go from one site to
another to determine what they’re in the mood to watch on their screen.

solved the problem by adding a Roku device but there are a number of legal OTT

solve the problem by picking up a Kodi box which can be both legitimate (heck,
even Amazon sells them) as well as illegal and even dangerous. 

of the Kodi units are hacked to provide free, illegal access to various pay TV
services and folks don’t even realize they’re doing anything wrong.  

of the pre-loaded apps (porn, etc.) may
give you a hint as well as the dodgy websites that offer free game play and
chances to win prizes; but the worst part is the data harvesting most do along
with the malware they leave behind.

The Roku unit simply gives us a
single portal we can access to pick the paid or free (ad supported) stuff we
can surf/select/enjoy. 

Allan McLennan, Chief Executive of
the PADEM Media Group, noted that unfortunately the battle with piracy is one that
no organization – including Netflix, Disney, Amazon, Apple – is going to completely
win because keeping content secured 100 percent of the time isn’t entirely

“The allure of having
free stuff available is overpowering to many in the market … no matter how hard
or how long programmers have tried to educate the illegal nature it is,” he observed.  “Running roughshod over the customer simply
builds added resistance. However, with that said, there are ways that can
assist in aggressively managing this theft.”

Got Ya’ – Punishing your customer because he/she is viewing
illegal content isn’t a smart move when many of today’s pirate sites are
extremely professional looking and appear legit.  It’s better to focus on the source of the theft. 

MPAA’s ‘whack-a-mole’ approach didn’t work,” he said.  “Akamai’s recommendations at the
recent 2019 NAB to expand the streamers’ education program on the
dangers/damages unauthorized streaming could cause to the user is a much more
proactive and positive approach.” 

“Showing how they
can protect ‘their content and service’ is a more proactive approach in
addition to highlighting the potential dangers from downloading free content. There’s
always something tagging along,” McLennan emphasized.  

“Advice on how to
protect what is yours, in most cases, is more effective in the long run than
the threat of legal action,” he added.

and casual piracy has increased largely because content begins and lives

Art of Theft – Hackers and cyberthieves have built a huge (and
profitable) business by stealing user data, setting up illegal “free” content
viewing sites to insert malvertising and gaining access to more user data for
other less entertaining activities. 

Twitter, Tumblr, WhatsApp, WeChat, YouTube, QQ, QZone, InstaGram, Snapchat,
Instagram and other social media sites are regularly being tapped by
cybercriminals for member credentials for access to projects to offer to

too, people regularly share their personal data in return for promises of massive

are many opportunities for bad guys (and gals) to tap into the
production/distribution chain to access shows, movies and video stories that
they can offer to illegal streaming or downloads.

fast, it’s easy and capture is extremely difficult, expensive.

Free Access – Some try to rationalize the free content viewing
activities as harmless forms of added advertising for video content and ignore
the fact that it represents loss of income for creative people and their
investors.  Losing a little and making it
up in volume isn’t sound business. 

“In most cases, illegitimate
media firms are presenting themselves like legitimate streaming services, so it
is difficult to recognize the real ones from the pirates,” McLennan

“Fake credential
sharing has a very real impact on the profitability of production organizations,
which equates to less money available to invest in more projects,”

address and limit piracy/visual data loss, SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and
Television Engineers), CDSA (Content Delivery & Security Association) and involved
organizations developed and released
guidelines for protecting film and TV productions early this year. 

“Because most of
today’s content is IP-based showrunners, producers are able to economically use
the best creative people possible, regardless of where they’re located,” McLennan stated, “It’s easy to provide first-level content
security by constantly reminding contractors and third parties to always use
unique username and password combinations throughout the production
process.  This won’t eliminate project theft,
but it makes it more challenging and that’s often sufficient to deter the
majority of hack attempts.”

For added security, Akamai has developed a bot
management solution that works well and Synamedia has announced products that
intelligently serve or block access to content with their integrated VPN and
DNS proxy service. 

“The film/TV industry is using the ‘soft touch’ approach with the
consumer (who may not even know he/she is downloading content from an
illegitimate site) by explaining what the free content really costs everyone
and the dangers of using these illegal services such as personal identity theft
and system/device infection,” McLennan

“Self-protection is a powerful deterrent,” he emphasized.

Then, by continually reinforcing safe computing/sharing
throughout the project production process, he estimates that over half of the
data losses could be eliminated which means improved profits … and more money
for more new projects.

“Industry professionals need to be continually reminded,” McLennan
said.  “They’re constantly under
time/money budget deadlines that can ultimately become costly and opening doors
for hackers/cyberthieves.

Recognition of the problem and timely reminders can
help curb their making a mistake,” he added.

attention to content production/delivery can be a powerful tool in reducing
content inventory and profit shrinkage.

let them kid you.  Illegal content
streaming only benefits the pirates.

Jonathan Spink, CEO of HBO Asia, recently
noted that content piracy is the biggest issue the industry faces. 

He emphasized, “If people get
things for free, there’s no incentive for anybody to make anything.”

was determined to ensure content quality production would continue even against
the piracy odds when he told Sansa, “Many
underestimate you. Most of them are dead now.”

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