Arming your business against digital pirates in the war against COVID-19
Since the lockdown measures were put in place for the UK and elsewhere, the use of streaming sites has seen an upwards spike as users become even more reliant on creative-content to fill in the additional hours we all now seem to have in our day. But many of those sites are not legitimate.
This blog post highlights the increase in digital piracy during the COVID-19 pandemic and contains tips for how you can protect your content during this time and onwards.
Piracy concerns in the entertainment and publishing industries
Forbes reports approximately a 12% increase in the use of streaming services from when lockdown began. Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, is a case in point, totaling to 50 million users worldwide just five months after launching.
The increase in the consumption of TV and film content online brings with it an accompanying concern that the entertainment industry will also see an upwards trend in illegal streaming. MUSO’s white paper, “Coronavirus, Contagion and The Movie Industry: The New Going Viral” (2020), details the increase in the illegal streaming of the film Contagion in January 2020, after the coronavirus was identified as a global emergency.
Other industries are also having to address the issue of an increase in piracy activity, including the publishing industry. The Internet Archives’ decision to open a National Emergency Library, making available for free millions of bestselling titles, has raised concerns from both publishers and authors of the potential to create a legacy of e-book piracy.
In the academic publishing sphere, many higher education institutions have made available various research and learning materials to aid the continued education of students during the lockdown. However, the interests of maintaining open access to education must be carefully balanced against the potential harmful effects of scholarly articles, textbooks and other resources being downloaded and re-distributed by abusers of this free access.
Ways to identify and tackle online piracy
It is important to identify and address unauthorised use of your content as early as possible, in order to protect and preserve your brand and revenues. There are various ways in which this can be achieved, including:
• Having in place online monitoring services for at least e-marketplaces, social media platforms and websites (including torrent, paste bin and code share sites) to identify any unauthorised use of your brands or content.
• Implementing an effective enforcement strategy of your brands online to tackle instances of trade mark and copyright infringement.
• Prioritising protection for your key brands, especially ‘hero’ brands and in-demand products and services.
• Prioritising enforcement in key territories. This includes not just territories of commercial importance to you, but also IP infringement ‘hotspots’, which are the source of pirated content and counterfeited goods.
We can help you to form and implement a tailored, tiered approach towards tackling instances of online abuse of your content, from requesting takedowns of unauthorised use of your content on social media platforms, to requesting a search engine provider to delist websites that are illegally distributing your content. We can also give any existing programme a ‘health check’ to see if it meets your needs.