Stopping Piracy in Sports Streaming

Learn more about preventing streaming piracy at Streaming Media East.

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Read the complete transcript of this video:

Ali Hodjat: How can you identify the pirate sites and shut them down? There are really two steps here. The first step is to technically leverage technologies like digital fingerprinting, which are used for automatic content recording (ACR) that are actually used to identify if the content is licensed to a specific entity. So when you see a pirated link, first, you've got to see who that content which is being pirated is from, and who was this content licensed for? Because, obviously for example, a football game or soccer game is being licensed to different people. And the first level is identifying where the licensee was. Then the next level is from each of those licenses, whether it was a broadcast delivery or a streaming service, you need to know which of the subscribers was behind that piracy.

So this next level is created by embedding a unique identifier called watermark IDs inside the video as the live stream is being broadcasted. And that happens in two different workflows. One is really during the video preparation, during encoding and content delivery on the CDN that you really deliver a unique video, which has some hidden features imperceptible on the video to each specific user. Or there are some client-side approaches where, as the content is being rendered on the screen, there is some unique ID for that specific user embedded on the video very imperceptibly. Obviously, this has to be in such a way that doesn't add any artifact to the video, but it helps you to identify who was the last authorized user or paying subscriber for that video, which was later on used in piracy. And when it comes to live streaming, the main factor is how soon you can actually identify that ID.

So it's a chain of, in a live event, you have to quickly monitor and identify the digital fingerprint for a pirated site, and match it to who was the licensee behind that. And then from that licensee, you identify which was the unique ID for the subscriber that was used. And all of these have to happen in a very short amount of time in order to enable you to actually stop that piracy or disrupt that viewing, which is a growing problem. And there are certain successful stories about that, and more and more it's becoming a requirement when a sports licensor is actually putting these as part of the requirements in their licensing agreements.

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