As a business owner dealing in video content, it is likely that your videos will be pirated, which will lead to a significant loss of revenue. The film industry alone suffers a loss of almost 40 and 97.1 billion dollars due to digital video piracy, which is a considerable amount. Globally, video piracy and other forms of piracy account for about 24% of the bandwidth.
Content creators invest a huge amount of time and money in creating their own content. Some TV series on Netflix, for example, take months to produce. It’s frustrating that you put all this effort just to download your content for free. In some cases, users share their login credentials with others, allowing multiple access with one account.
How Does Video Piracy Happen?
Essentially, video piracy occurs in two ways: through sharing of credentials and downloading of videos. Piracy in any form, whether it’s movie piracy or e-learning content piracy, hurts revenue. It’s not surprising that users would prefer to access content for free if given the option.
Here are some ways you could be losing potential customers and revenue:
Given the choice, most people would opt not to pay for something they can get for free. However, as a content creator, this can affect your livelihood, and it’s important to take extra steps to limit piracy.
Credential sharing is prevalent on streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney Hotstar. Users often buy a single account and share it with friends and family, without paying for additional bandwidth or users. Sometimes, they even share it with strangers to swap various common services.
There are various other ways to hack video content by gaining unauthorized access to credentials.
- Password theft: When account credentials are hacked and stolen from users. These accounts can be sold by hackers for profit.
- Endless experiments: This method is popular among users who create fake accounts and even use different credit cards to access content for free. Some users even sell the content they access using these fake accounts.
- Bypassing synchronization controls: Hackers may hack into the video platform server to modify the restrictions on the number of devices. This way, one account can be used by multiple users without any restrictions.
- Token theft: Streaming applications or web browsers use tokens to identify the user. Hackers can copy these codes to other devices and use them to access the content without proper authorization.
It’s crucial for content creators and streaming platforms to take measures to prevent piracy and protect their revenue streams.
You’re correct that there are many tools available online that make it easier for users to download videos, which can lead to piracy. Once a user enters a URL in the tool, they can easily download the video. This is where they can access all popular hacker resources and potentially find ways to bypass encryption and other security measures.
Video streaming platforms typically use encryption to protect their videos, but sometimes they don’t focus as much on protecting keys. Hackers can take advantage of this fact and put in efforts to find the encryption key. Once they have the key, they can easily turn the encrypted file into a raw one. In some cases, hackers may also target the storage platform that the video platform uses to access content before it is released, which can lead to further security breaches.
It’s important for content creators and streaming platforms to stay up-to-date with the latest security measures and actively work to protect their content from piracy.
Simulcast Of Live Streaming & TV channels
Capturing and redistributing live broadcasts and TV channels was one of the main forms of video piracy. Live sports events are also frequently pirated. According to a study by SportsPro media, approximately 51% of sports fans choose to watch pirated video streams.
Hackers use various methods to capture live broadcasts, including:
- Tampering with the video driver or Android operating system.
- Recording screens during playback or capturing during a screen-sharing session.
- Using credential stuffing attacks to access and use legitimate viewer details.
- Tampering with the video to defeat watermarks, such as re-quantization.
- Using VPNs to access content that is not available in their geographic area.
The Extent of the Problem
There is a lot of information available on the internet about video piracy, but it is still hard to accurately gauge the scale of the problem worldwide. This is because there is no consistent way to track piracy.
Large trading companies provide data sets, but they can be incomplete and conflicting due to different methodologies.
The “European Intellectual Property Office” conducted a study on piracy in its member states and found that 13.7 million users accessed illegal hacker services in Europe. The study revealed that the highest percentages of dissenting viewers were found in the Netherlands, Sweden, and Spain, at 8.9%, 8.5%, and 6.9% respectively (compared to the EU average of 3.6%). The UK, France, and Spain had the largest populations of regular illegal service users.
In North America, the picture is not yet clear. A study by Sandvine found that around 6.5% of households regularly accessed pirate sites, while a report by Park Associates estimated that over 14.1 million American households accessed pirated videos in 2019, which is almost 16% of the total pay TV market.
A 2017 study by the University of Amsterdam showed high levels of piracy in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand. The Indonesian and Thai populations showed particularly high usage rates, with estimates of between 65% and 54% of their internet populations. Hong Kong recorded 27% of its internet population using pirated content, while Japan recorded 12% of its internet population (11% of the total population).
These results were confirmed by the Asian Video Industry Association in 2019, which conducted a consumer survey report and found that 24% of consumers in Hong Kong used internet streaming
devices to access pirated channels. This number increased to 28% in the Philippines, 34% in Taiwan, and 45% in Thailand.
What is the Impact of piracy?
Different studies have shown that video piracy is causing huge losses to the industry, with estimated global losses of 52 billion dollars by 2022 (Digital Television Research, 2017) and GDP losses. In the United States, piracy-related GDP losses were estimated to be between 47 billion dollars and 115 billion dollars (Blackburn et al., 2019).
The impact of video piracy is not limited to the economy and employment. It is also affecting licensing, which is the backbone of the digital industry. Potential distributors may not want to invest in the rights for a film or show if it is available for free on pirate sites. A recent study from the Global Innovation Policy Center of the US Chamber of Commerce revealed that film piracy costs the American television and film industry at least 29.2 billion dollars and up to 71 billion dollars a year.
Pirated videos get more than 230 billion views every year, with the majority coming from the United States. Pirated TV episodes have the highest demand, with more than 12.8 billion views in the United States and 170.6 billion views abroad. There are 26.6 billion illegal online views of films produced in the United States and 126.7 billion views of American TV shows annually.
Torrent search engines like PirateBay have a wide range of pirated content from Netflix and other streaming platforms and serve almost 59 million pirates online. Similarly, many other illegal video streaming sites contribute to video piracy every day.
According to “Live Stream Revenue Statistics,” video piracy was expected to reach 9.1 billion dollars of revenue in 2019, with the loss increasing by 38% to 12.5 billion dollars by 2022. Parks Associates estimated that revenue lost due to video piracy operations could exceed 61 billion dollars in 2020 and 67 billion dollars worldwide by 2023. If 10% of pay-TV subscribers cancel their pay-TV services due to video provided by pirates, the loss could reach 6 billion dollars by 2023 for these operators. A survey conducted by Parks of broadband households in the United States also showed that 5% of people used someone else’s credentials to access a pay-TV service, and 6% did so to access an online video service.
How To Stop Video Piracy?
Regularly, data has indicated that individuals who frequently engage in content piracy are often the foremost purchasers of legitimate content. There is a significant correlation between providing viewers with the content they desire to watch (coupled with a seamless streaming experience at a reasonable cost) and a decrease in piracy.
Another method to minimize video piracy involves making it simpler for users to access or avoid content on their platform, such as transactional video on demand (TVOD). Many users may prefer a superior user experience despite having to pay a higher price. Platforms like Netflix tailor content
recommendations based on their users’ preferences, making it simple for them to discover programs that suit their interests.
Let’s consider some additional measures you can take to prevent video piracy on your website:
Block Credential Sharing
As previously mentioned, one of the primary causes of video piracy is the sharing of login credentials. Users frequently share their account passwords with others, resulting in multiple simultaneous logins from a single account. This leads to the same premium content being consumed by multiple users, resulting in lost revenue that could have been obtained from those views.
For CMS like WordPress Websites
If your website runs on WordPress, you can prevent credential sharing by taking advantage of the many available plugins. With these plugins, you can limit the number of users who can access an account simultaneously and block simultaneous logins. By using the WordPress Plugin, you can ensure that users can only log in from one device at a time, effectively preventing access to the account by multiple users at once. Additionally, it’s crucial to ensure that you have the best managed WordPress hosting to avoid any other obstacles that may compromise your website’s security.
For Non-WordPress Websites
Even if your website is not built with WordPress, you can still prevent concurrent logins. One way to achieve this is by assigning a unique identifier to each user every time they log in. When a unique ID is active for an account, another ID cannot be created, and the previous one cannot be used to log in to the platform. This approach helps to prevent credential sharing and ensures that only authorized users can access the account at any given time.
Using SSO for login
Enabling single sign-on (SSO) has proven to be an effective way to prevent credential sharing. With SSO, users can log in to the platform using their social media accounts such as Google or Facebook. While users may be willing to share their video platform passwords, they are less likely to share their Google or Facebook passwords as they are more personal. Additionally, SSO is user-friendly and saves the hassle of remembering multiple passwords, making login much simpler with just one click. Enhancing this feature can provide a better user experience while also preventing credential sharing on your platform.
Restrict Video Playback
Limiting the total viewing time of a user is another method to prevent credential sharing. Depending on your user behavior, you can restrict the total playback time of a video clip, ensuring that the content is not viewed multiple times by many users. This approach can help to reduce the revenue loss resulting from credential sharing. For more technical details on implementing this feature, you can refer to the video linked to the restriction of viewing time.
Using Video Encryption
Video encryption is a technique used to secure your videos by encrypting or hiding them from anyone who doesn’t have authorized access. Encryption prevents unauthorized viewing of the video and requires an encryption key to unlock the content. There are two popular and user-friendly encrypted video streaming protocols available today:
AES-128 encryption – This protocol provides normal or sample AES-128 encryption, which is widely used for securing video content.
HLS encryption with AES-128 – This protocol combines the HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) protocol with AES-128 encryption to provide secure video streaming over the internet.
Both of these protocols are effective in securing video content and preventing unauthorized access. It’s important to choose the protocol that best suits your needs and provides the necessary level of security for your videos.
While common video encryption technologies are typically strong and resistant to brute force attacks, they have a significant drawback: their encryption keys are exposed and can be accessed by hackers or tools with some effort. This leaves the video vulnerable to decryption and unauthorized downloading. The main issue with encryption technology is the exchange of open keys, which can compromise the security of the content. To address this issue, digital rights management (DRM) technology can be used.
DRM provides an additional layer of security, beyond encryption, that protects the content from unauthorized access and distribution. DRM controls access to the content by using a combination of encryption, licensing, and user authentication to ensure that only authorized users can access the content.
This approach prevents the unauthorized distribution and sharing of content, providing greater security for video content. It’s important to choose a DRM solution that meets your needs and provides the necessary level of security for your videos.
Using DRM Encryption Technology
DRM technology works with encryption protocols like HLS, DASH, and RTP to prevent unauthorized access and distribution of video content by eliminating vulnerabilities in video encoding. Popular DRM solutions include Google Widevine and Apple FairPlay. Watermarking is often used with DRM to track pirated content and identify the source of leaks.
A watermark is digital information that’s embedded in a video signal to identify its source. Its purpose is to track down the origin of illegal streaming services. Every piece of content is marked with a unique identifier that can be extracted to find the original source if piracy occurs.
One way to protect your videos is by domain restriction. This means restricting your video embed codes to only play and upload on your domain, preventing them from being copied and used by hackers on their domain.
Choosing A Secure Video Hosting Service
If you’re not familiar with the video protection technologies mentioned above, you can opt for a secure third-party video hosting service. These platforms handle all the technical aspects of securing and streaming video smoothly on the client side. All you need to do is upload your videos to the platform and use the embed code on your website.
When choosing a video hosting platform, make sure it meets the following requirements:
- Security – Offers DRM-based encryption to protect your content.
- Video API – Allows you to manage videos, enables automatic video uploading, and provides OTP for playback.
- CDN – Ensures fast content delivery to users regardless of their location.
- Video analytics – Provides insights into how your content is being consumed by users and helps you report any issues.
How Inkrypt Videos Helps In Stopping Video Piracy?
Inkrypt Videos is another company that provides video protection services. They use advanced encryption technology to protect videos from piracy and unauthorized access. Their platform supports domain restriction, which allows you to restrict your video embed codes to play only on your domain.
Inkrypt Videos also offers DRM-based encryption and dynamic watermarking to ensure that your content remains secure. Their video player is customizable, allowing you to add subtitles, speed change, and rewind-forward options for users.
Inkrypt Videos also provides analytics to help you track and monitor how your videos are being consumed. Overall, Inkrypt Videos offers a comprehensive video protection solution to help you protect your content and ensure that it is viewed only by authorized users.
How Netflix is Tackling Piracy Related to Account Sharing?
Last year, Netflix announced its plan to implement an account-sharing campaign, which would require users to pay an additional fee to share a Netflix account with someone who lives outside the family. This campaign is set to be implemented globally by the end of March.
Netflix claims that around 100 million households use shared accounts, and cracking down on password sharing could be a significant opportunity for revenue growth. By requiring users to pay for additional accounts, Netflix can increase its revenue while also reducing the number of users who watch its content without paying. However, it remains to be seen how successful this campaign will be, as some users may choose to cancel their subscriptions rather than pay extra fees. It will be interesting to see how this move affects Netflix’s user base and revenue in the long run.
How will Netflix stop you from sharing your password?
Netflix will require users to verify their accounts using a code sent to their email or text message, or by logging in using a recognized device. If users can’t verify their identity, they can pay a fee to create a new sub-account.
To use a device that’s not part of the account owner’s home, users will need to enter a verification code sent to their primary email or phone number and enter it within 15 minutes. These measures aim to reduce password sharing and ensure only authorized users access Netflix content.