Premium content piracy from Hollywood and other major studios is a major problem for content creators and distributors alike. Since live events and OTT platforms have become increasingly popular, this danger has grown exponentially. In order to combat and identify piracy, producers and distributors spend a great deal of money on digital rights management (DRM) technology and watermarking solutions, which are both expensive.
For the most part, video watermarking is used to track down users who are responsible for premium video asset leaks on the piracy market, costing the industry billions of dollars each year. Through a watermarking-extraction process, each pirated video asset can be linked back to the guilty subscriber, allowing the content owner to assign legal responsibility to the offending party.
Using a cloud-based watermark extraction service that works well even with low-quality and recompressed videos, it is possible to verify the owner of the content and track down the source of the piracy. Client-side watermarking, A/B or manifest-level watermarking, and bitstream-based watermarking are three broad categories of watermarking solutions.
An effective video watermarking service must be able to deter piracy, identify the piracy outlets, and take the necessary steps to prevent leakage of the video content. In order to detect piracy, keep an eye out for suspicious activity and compare the digital fingerprints of suspicious files to the production fingerprint. The watermarking software is then able to identify the watermark and extract the information contained therein. Resize and collusion attempts, for example, shouldn’t affect the robustness of the watermark. It should also remain legible even after the content has been altered. It’s also possible to take legal action after discovering the source of a stream that is being illegally downloaded.
There are other uses for watermarking technology than just tracking DRM protected content down the OTT subscriber who accidentally leaks video files. Here are some other examples of how this technology can be applied:
- High-resolution and most recent movies played in theatres have made them a prime target for movie pirates. It’s true that this is the highest possible resolution. Cinemagoers and cinema staff alike can illegally record a movie even if it has not been pirated at the level of the cinema server. In the piracy market, the resulting decrease in quality is acceptable. It is possible to trace watermarked copies of these movies back to the last cinema, if not the person who recorded them, and take appropriate action.
- In spite of the advent of OTT players and high-speed content delivery networks, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs continue to be leakage points for high-end content. Despite the fact that watermarking such media does not prevent piracy, it helps law enforcement and content owners identify the source of piracy for further investigation.
- Prior to the release of a major film, Hollywood studios give reviewers and critics a screening of the film. Due to their early access to the entire film, these reviewers have long been considered the most egregious examples of piracy. The desire to obtain an illegal copy of a film as quickly as possible is strong among pirates. Individual copies of films shared with reviewers can be watermarked so that the film’s producer can point the finger at a specific reviewer.
As a result, forensic watermarking has become an essential tool in the fight against copyright violations. However, the watermarking-extraction process must be accurate and fast in order for it to effectively control piracy, failing which the pirates’ purpose may be met before producers can take any action.