Report on Shemaroo

Vidnet 2021: Stakeholders need to come together to suppress piracy

It has never been more imperative to guard against digital content pirates.


NEW DELHI: Following the imposition of a nationwide lockdown in March, Indians were confined to their homes at odds and ends. There were no live sporting events, cinema halls were shuttered and TV channels were playing stale programming on loop; the only platforms supplying fresh content were OTTs. And while these services saw significant uptake during this period, there’s a flip side to it too – a MUSO report states that online film piracy in India rose 62 per cent in the last week of March. Data indicates that it has never been easier to view content illegally and more Indians have become comfortable about doing so.

As OTT platforms pump more money into the business to deliver premium content, it has never been more imperative for them to step up security measures to protect their assets, revenue and become ‘hack proof.’ During a special session at Indiantelevision.com’s flagship property Vidnet, SonyLIV head of technology Manish Verma, Epic ON COO Sourjya Mohanty, Viu director technology & platform Praveen Singh and head of Amazon Web Services elemental (media services), edge (CDN) & security (WAF/DDoS) - India & South Asia Binu Balan came together to discuss hot button issues like technological evolution in content protection, video content security and the rise of digital piracy. INKA Entworks India global business head Govindraj Basatwar acted as moderator.

Basatwar started off by saying that consent security is like a tug of war – on one end, security companies have to keep investing in and updating fraud detection services, while on the other end are the pirates, who are also upgrading their technologies to detect and exploit vulnerabilities in the platforms.

In such a scenario where piracy cannot be stopped, the best course of action is to minimise it by adopting a 360-degree approach, according to SonyLIV’s Verma. “One has to start from each level, right from the CDN, to using DRM or manifest encryption; clients need to be protected because web, MWEB and mobile clients often leave some vulnerability which can be exploited.”

There is also a need to have 24x7 field operations that are both manual and automated to monitor, identify and take down content piracy as it happens, he added.

Besides DRM-protected content, forensic watermarking is another effective way to combat piracy as it discourages hackers from uploading files online for illegal consumption on peer to peer sites or apps like Telegram. But the panellists agreed that the need of the hour is end-to-end video content security.

“There are three basic pillars when it comes to end-to-end content protection,” stated Singh. “First is when the content is at rest, second is when the content is in transition between servers and consumers and third is when the content reaches the consumer. In many  cases, we don’t care about catering to the last pillar and protecting the content while it is playing. This is when DRM becomes the actual differentiator. We need to implement the right tool for the right level.”

He went on to explain that building in security on the application is the very first step to ensure that it doesn’t answer to ‘spoof calls’ – or an impostor pretending to be a genuine client; this should be followed by growing it to a full-fledged DRM. This creates a watertight system where not just copying but even those not authorised to access the content are blocked, thereby safeguarding both asset and revenue.

Amazon Web Services is doing just that, asserted Balan. It satisfies the security requirements of not just OTTs, but also the military, global banks and organisations trading in highly-sensitive information. For media customers, it uses tools like Elemental Media Convert that offers client-side and server-side encryption, and also allows integration with major forensic watermarking providers like NAGRA.

"With this, we help customers block any users immediately if they find breach of content. For a live product, you've got Media Live package which provides the same kind of interface. We help customers protect all major formats like HLS, Widevine, CMAF, Playready etc. It is very important to protect content at rest," added Balan.

However, using third party software also poses certain difficulties. Verma shared that the biggest challenge with implementing multi-CDN and multi-DRM solutions is ensuring consistency throughout. Some solutions like watermarking have not yet reached the economy of scale. They’re on the expensive side and we need to look into making them available to the masses. We’re trying to find a midway on implementing these solutions along with the ones that already exist in the market,” he elaborated.

No doubt technological defences are a prerequisite, but awareness is equally important – for users and content providers both. For the latter, it’s about having knowledge of legal remedies to piracy, while for users, it’s about being educated about best practices.

“The buck stops at us. We need to implement these three pillars of technological adoption, awareness and legal enforcement. Content providers, platforms, technology partners and law enforcement have to come together and keep on evolving from time to time to suppress the piracy market and grow our revenue,” said Mohanty.

Latest Reads

SC grants interim protection to Amazon Prime Video’s Aparna Purohit

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim protection from arrest to Amazon Prime Video's India originals head Aparna Purohit in the FIR registered by Uttar Pradesh police in connection with the web series, Tandav. The court was hearing Purohit’s appeal challenging the Allahabad high...

iWorld Over The Top Services
SC favours OTT guidelines, says screening needed

KOLKATA: The Supreme Court on Thursday remarked that there should be pre-censorship of OTT content like films while hearing a plea by Amazon Prime Video India originals head Aparna Purohit. She had moved the apex court challenging Allahabad high court order denying anticipatory bail to her in...

iWorld Over The Top Services
Amazon tweaks new app logo after comparison with Hitler’s moustache

MUMBAI: If you have ever ordered a package from Amazon, you would be familiar with their product packaging- an ubiquitous brown cardboard box with a black adhesive tape running along its sides. Taking this imagery even further, the e-commerce giant had unveiled its new app icon in January featuring...

iWorld e-commerce
Epic On now streaming on Airtel Xstream platform

KOLKATA: Premium OTT platform Epic On has tied up with Airtel Xstream to offer its users the Epic On subscription at a special price. The partnership would allow Xstream users to access the comprehensive library of thousands of hours of titles ranging from movies, TV shows, and documentaries.

iWorld Over The Top Services
ShortsTV forays into OTT space with Airtel Xstream

KOLKATA: ShortsTV has partnered with Airtel to launch its first video-on-demand service on Airtel Xstream that can be enjoyed on both the mobile app as well as television screens. ShortsTV is now available at a nominal subscription of Rs 99 per month and Rs 499 for a year.

iWorld Over The Top Services
SonyLiv’s Scam gets season two, will tell The Telgi Story

MUMBAI: After delivering a monster hit with Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story, SonyLiv and Applause Entertainment are looking to recreate the magic with the second season of the Scam franchise. Tentatively titled Scam 2003: The Curious Case of Abdul Karim Telgi, the show will be adapted from the...

iWorld Over The Top Services
Bombay HC orders Amazon Prime Video to take down Telugu film ‘V’

NEW DELHI: The Bombay high court has directed OTT platform Amazon Prime Video to take down Telugu movie V following a defamation suit filed by a Mumbai-based actor. Sakshi Malik has sought the deletion of a scene in the film in which her portfolio picture was used without her permission. The court...

iWorld Over The Top Services
Guest column: Implications of the new digital media code for online content platforms

The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, framed under the Information Technology Act 2000, were notified on 25 February 2021.

iWorld Over The Top Services
Pay-per-view takes off in India, but has a long way to go

While the last year has seen the entry of new over-the-top (OTT) players, it has witnessed the burgeoning of new business models as well, pay-per-view being one of the most noticeable trends.

iWorld Over The Top Services

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required