Content piracy trends to watch out for – now and in the future

It is a universally accepted fact that piracy will continue to evolve. As rapidly as technology is employed to protect premium content, pirates continuously devise new methods to steal content for profit. This game of cat and mouse to circumvent anti-piracy protection often leads to the rise of tools that become ‘common’ and get used across the world. In this blog, we delve into the latest trends that the Friend MTS team have observed in the last few years and provide recommendations on how best to safeguard your content. We’ll also share the trends we think are shaping up in the coming years. 

Piracy trends prevalent now 

CDN leeching 

CDN leeching is the poor implementation of transmission security such as DRM. It occurs when pirates use legitimate infrastructure for both stealing content and delivering it to their subscribers. The pirates incur no costs for content creation or licensing, and they also leech from the legitimate provider’s infrastructure.

As pay-TV and streaming media markets face stiff competition amongst themselves, it has led to providers wanting to distribute content to the widest possible audience to maintain and grow revenues. One way they can do this is by using a diverse number of operating systems; but this means potentially exposing the platform, and ultimately the content owner, to some form of piracy services such as CDN leeching.

A more granular illustration would be: If a variant of a client device is running legacy software an operating system is vulnerable to attack. The content is also exposed, regardless of any security measures employed on the latest flagship devices running the latest operating systems. Similarly, when content owners distribute to different platforms, if any device belonging to any of the platforms has been compromised then the content will be vulnerable to theft.

To solve this, operators should ensure they conduct regular investigative work of their platform end-to-end, with means like a security audit. Stringent security audits that form part of the development cycle and are routinely executed post-deployment can ensure the platform remains robust to new forms of attack.

Illegal IPTV services 

The pattern of consumption for media has seen a vast increase in both legal and illegal IPTV services, with the trend expected to persist year on year. The volume of illegal restreaming and rebroadcasting of content like live sports or large global events is such that traditional, manual monitoring employed to locate and act against piracy becomes ineffective, slow and labour-intensive. 

Our experience at Friend MTS suggests that speed and scalability are key for IPTV services that aren’t behind a paywall service. Security solutions that can automatically and rapidly scale to match pirate consumers’ demands are proven to be the most effective in preserving legitimate revenues. Anti-piracy services need to be able to scrape a vast amount of content from a vast amount of possible piracy sources, and quickly. They also need to be able to differentiate between pirated and legitimate content to ensure a more accurate output. 

To help enforce against illegal content after it has been located, and to prevent further distribution of unauthorised content forensic watermarks should be employed  – it will enable you to trace pirated content back to its source. Watermarking is the best way to stop piracy at its source, by enabling content owners and broadcasters to trace pirate streams and shut them down. 

For paywalled IPTV services, a different approach is needed, with a more forensic approach utilised to infiltrate and stop pirate streams. Speak to our team today to find out more if you need help protecting your content from IPTV services. 

Social media development 

Like all internet services, social media continues to evolve at breakneck speed. The introduction and popularity of new platforms lead to consequent piracy on these different social channels. Short-form content has risen in popularity which is arguably why social media has become the pirate platform of choice for many. The ease of sharing videos on social media means that robust monitoring and enforcement must be in place to detect and prevent piracy. 

To stay ahead, your content security provider should also be partnering with social media platforms to use tools such as Facebook’s Right Manager, or YouTube’s Content ID, to highlight and take down any infringements. It’s also important that your anti-piracy provider has long-established relationships and established enforcement processes with popular regional social media platforms, to keep content secure. This is only possible through many years of experience within the industry building strong trust with social media operators. 

Future piracy trends 

Blocking Order developments 

Arguably one of the most effective tools for stopping piracy in its tracks is the implementation of dynamic blocking orders. In the last few years, there has been effective movement from various regional authorities, with an increasing number of courts granting regional blocking orders. Territories differ greatly in their constitutional approach to the law enforcement that affects content owners and licensees, and some are more cautious than others in their adoption of methods and tools that are designed to identify and address piracy, whether post- or pre-emptive. However, it’s clear that as solutions are implemented in specific regions and are seen to be effective without impacting the rights and experiences of legitimate audiences, these models become available to other jurisdictions to study and implement as is best applicable to their geography and statutes. Whilst we can’t know how blocking orders will develop regionally, we can see that where Dynamic Delivery Server Blocking has been introduced, there have been measurable decreases in piracy and a huge effect on the piracy landscape as a whole. 

Increased piracy 

It almost goes without saying that piracy is expected to keep evolving and potentially increasing. Some reports predict that piracy is expected to cost $113 billion by 2027. Whatever happens, it’s strongly expected that, just as they have done over the past decades, criminals will be coming up with new ways to circumvent content security measures. However, a strong anti-piracy solution can prevent your content from being at risk from this, as long as it is adaptable, scalable and run by a team of experts. 

Want to find out more about how to stay ahead of the threats occurring now, and any that might arise in the future? Chat with our team today for more information. 

Chat to us

In the last of our three blogs on monitoring, we consider the big question: how can you ensure your monitoring [...]

Get in Touch

Talk with one of our experts for more information or a demo.

Please enter your enquiry here:

* indicates mandatory field

Friend MTS Limited
177 Shaftesbury Avenue

UK: +44 203 588 2111
US: +1 267 382 4280