India is the 3rd Highest Consumer of Pirated Content in The World
You know India recorded 6.5 billion visits to piracy websites in 2021 – the 3rd highest in the world after U.S and Russia.
Ever wondered the reason for such a rise?
It is easy to find pirated content.
“Watch Batman 2022 on 123movies online for free”
“1movies, the best and easiest way to watch Gangubai Kathiawadi online for free. You can also watch it on Netflix, but you need to wait until it’s released”
“Morbius Movie Download Free in HD Quality”
“Watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom which is released only in specific countries for free on HD Online now!”
“Watch Gehraiyaan on Amazon Prime Video. Start your 30-day free trial today and avail an annual subscription package for Rs. 1499”
Given that people receive such results on Google when they search for their favourite movies, it’s no wonder that pirated content skyrocketed in 2021. And in the case of the 5th example, people would rather prefer free-content to subscription-based OTT platforms.
How Piracy is Affecting Revenues of OTT Platforms?
Karan Bedi, CEO of MX Player said that they suffered a loss of 15-20 million in their ad revenue as people watched MX content via illegitimate means regularly. Ashram, one of their popular shows would have gained 20% more viewership if watched legally.
Shailesh Kapoor, CEO of Ormax Media said that according to estimates 23 million people in India had watched at least one episode of Scam 1992 on SonyLIV but the platform accounted for only 2 million subscribers. So where did the remaining 21 million viewers come from? Even If they assumed that many watched with their family on the same subscription, it still doesn’t explain the remaining 16 million viewers.
India’s National E-Commerce Policies Against Piracy
The above data points and facts nudged copyright owners and policy makers to consider and introduce stringent antipiracy measures.
Before this policy came into force, several pirate sites were blocked as per court orders, but there wasn’t any formal legislation or policy to bring down or block torrents, streaming sites, and other websites that allowed access to pirated content.
National e-commerce policies to curtail piracy are adapted from those that are already operational in other regions of the world. Let’s check out the national e-commerce policies against digital piracy in detail:
Internet service providers like Airtel Xstream Fiber, BSNL, Reliance JioFiber, etc., are required to introduce measures to stop the circulation of pirated content online. But these measures are yet to be detailed.
‘Trusted entities’ like movie companies should be prioritized by ISPs when it comes to resolving copyright complaints. The identification of trusted entities and anti-piracy measures will happen on a voluntary basis.
If ISP providers are notified of infringing websites by copyright holders, they should immediately remove or disable access to the alleged content. This measure is loosely adapted from the takedown provisions of the DMCA.
A body of stakeholders will be created who will identify rogue websites that host pirated content and include them in the “Infringing Websites List’ upon verification, which will lead to the following:
ISPs will remove or disable access to the websites that belong to the IWL. In the UK, this policy requires a high court order even if the website is already present in IWL.
Since rogue websites earn their revenue through online payments derived from subscription or advertisement revenue models; these will now be routed through payment gateways that do not permit to and fro payments from such websites.
Search engines are required to remove websites listed in IWL from their search results. There’s no clarity on how this measure will be carried out as it may require foreign companies to comply as well.
Advertisers and advertising agencies shouldn’t advertise on websites that belong to IWL.
What are your thoughts on the proposed legislation?
Are they effective enough? Do you think that foreign companies will comply with it if necessary? Let us know in the comments below.
Once, when Navya was a young girl, her grandmother had narrated the story of Padmavati – a legendary Rajput queen from the 14th century. She remembered how deeply she respected this woman for her honor, valor and grace. And as crazy as this may sound – when she listened to these stories, she would dwell so deep in them that she would talk like her, behave like her, sing and dance like her! she believed she was the queen Padmavati herself. Wanting to relive these moments; she used telegram to download the copyrighted version of the film “Padmaavat”.
Well, she’s not alone. Many others like her have discovered pirated content over Telegram.
Telegram – the popular messaging app that provides users with end-to-end encryption on their chats, has become the leading source for pirated content throughout Asia. This app is generally popular amongst activists, journalists, and whistle blowers; because it allows users to conceal their identity while sharing texts, videos, and other copyrighted content.
Telegram statistics as of 2021 reveal that it was the most downloaded app on Play Store and App Store with 500 million active monthly users and 63 million plus downloads globally. It’s also rated as a popular networking app in Malaysia according to App Annie and ranks at 3rd position in India.
So, with these many million active users; it is the root cause of considerable revenue loss for content creators while it is the preferred platform by pirates to distribute unlicensed content.
Pirates favour Telegram because it allows them to share data in encrypted chat groups that consist of 2,00,000 plus people; which in turn attracts millions of subscribers. It also prevents internet providers, telecom providers and the platform itself from decrypting conversations. The group chat also enables users to hide their phone numbers thus helping them conceal their identity.
Let’s check out some of the ways these pirates are exploiting Telegram:
By Disguising: Due to the absence of an embedded player inside the platform – pirates can upload free videos on Telegram’s hosted cloud services, use its channels and groups to distribute text and M3U links to consumers. Further, to attract more users – pirates use recognised payment gateways such as Bitcoin, PayPal and they even add subtitles in various languages. They hide keywords pertaining to the content they have stolen and make use of code words in their messages to attract users by including references to private pirate channels.
By Strategizing: A few minutes before a live-sporting event; these pirates not only spread new channels on Telegrams with new links consisting of illegal content but
they also have back-up channels readily available to consumers in case the first link gets removed.
Abandoning Ship:Pirates even send notifications to its users stating that a Telegram channel has been suspended because of copyright and provide instruction to follow a new channel. They even ask consumers to shift to other platforms and pirate sites by sharing links to the open web or to other platforms.
Pilfering the stream:As if live streams weren’t enough, pirates offer OTT subscribers with stolen credentials, hacked IPTV emulator channels where consumers can watch live channels without requiring a set-top box, and pirated APKs.
Producers and broadcasters spend huge amounts on their content and for purchasing sports rights. They should be confident that they can cover their costs and sustain their business in the long run. So, coming up with a strategy for anti-piracy requires a meticulous, forensic, intelligence-led approach to figure out complex pirate ecosystems that exist in various layers. We need to understand trends, unravel approaches and know the pirates’ behavioural patterns to win against them. Hence, the media industry needs to collaborate with government and law enforcement agencies to come up with stricter penalties and to make use of technologies like watermarking mandatory.
Contact the experts
AiPlex prides itself in being India’s first antipiracy company with more than 12+ years of domain expertise. It has helped take down infringed content across various platforms, verify over a million URLs, detect fake websites and provide content protection solutions for over 200+ content owners.
Meh, So, what if I just downloaded one song off of the internet for free. That hurts nobody, no one needs to know. The diva makes millions of bucks anyway. A loss of few bucks just means peanuts to her!
Why should I spend my hard-earned cash on movie tickets? When I can access them from the comfort of my home with just a few clicks?
Online piracy is perceived as a victimless crime; something that absolutely hurts no one. This is quite obvious, a shallow argument. Online piracy is a crime. Pirating content is illegal because it results in a lost sale for the copyright owner be it movies, series, games, shows, videos, music, or books. It’s illegal because it deprives the content creator of his rightful dues for all the efforts that he/she and the team have put in.
FACTS & FIGURES:
Illegal streaming services account for more than 80% of global online piracy.
Online pirated videos receive 230 billion views in a year
Piracy websites received 130.5 billion visits in the year 2020
India ranks 4th amongst the top 10 countries with 5.6 billion visits for online piracy sites.
According to the estimates, the Indian film industry loses about Rs. 22,000 crores and 60,000 jobs in a year due to online piracy.
Book publishers incur a loss of Rs 400 crores every year.
20-25% of books sold in India are pirated.
How does online piracy occur?
Leakage of original content: In the case of music, series, or movies, an insider from the team who has access to original content would resort to leaking original content and sell it for a lesser price in the market.
Recording movies in theatres: Some people resort to recording the entire movie and sell them illegally. Although the sound quality and video quality are quite bad in a normal recording, it still gets sold in the market as it is watchable.
Stream recording: People also record live streams of certain movies through screen recording devices and sell them. With the help of software online, pirates use DVD and Blu-ray discs to record original content.
Why does online piracy occur?
One of the biggest reasons for online piracy is the inherent reluctance to pay and watch. People want everything for free, and websites like bit torrent, media max and traditional PFP applications only make it easier.
Some people resort to illegal downloading; simply because they cannot afford it due to financial troubles.
Other people pirate content to make a profit by reselling.
With the help of pirated content, hackers infect devices by spreading viruses and trojans.
A lot of people fail to understand that online piracy is theft which makes it illegal.
The outcome of online piracy
Companies involved in pirating illegal software are susceptible to infringements and copyright violations. The Indian constitution has a copyright act of 1957, under section 13, which protects all literary works, musical works, artistic works, dramatic works, sound recordings and cinematograph films. As per the cinematograph act of 2019, the government of India punishes individuals who resort to illegally recording movies without the written consent of producers. The penalty is a jail term of up to 3 years and a fine of Rs. 10 lakhs.
Apart from legal trouble, they also make themselves vulnerable to viruses and malware when they expose their networks and individual devices. The infected systems create an opportunity for hackers to install ransomware or malware. Downloading from torrent comes with its own risk because the ones who download are selling as well. A public IP address makes it easy to track.
How to stop online piracy
The only way to protect yourself from online piracy is to stop downloading content for free.
Avoid purchasing software from sellers who insist on making backup copies.
Ensure that the software products are authentic and consist of manuals, license, warranties and service policies.
Check for seals and holograms on CDs or DVDs you purchase.
Contact the experts
Aiplex prides itself in being India’s first antipiracy company with more than 12+ years of domain expertise. It has helped take down infringed content across various platforms, verify over a million URLs, detect fake websites and eradicate unlicensed content for over 200+ content owners.
Digital pirates are keeping up with the times! They use the same technology that OTT and streaming platforms use to distribute unlicensed content. They have built their own ecosystem with cutting-edge technology. Now, all that a pirate needs are a streaming box and a high-speed reliable internet connection.
The days of torrents, cumbersome search for content, painful downloads, and low-quality content have gone. The content is just out there easily accessible, and high quality too.
The only way content owners and anti piracy firms can fight this evolving form of digital piracy is by using computing and machine learning prowess. Effective anti piracy and content protection is near impossible with traditional anti piracy measures. This is where using machine learning to fight digital piracy becomes inevitable.
Fighting digital piracy is all about staying a step ahead of pirates. Using machine learning and data analytics in combination with natural language processing (NLP), keyword searches, etc., (to identify sites hosting pirated and unlicensed content) is a great way to fight digital piracy. Let us understand how!!
What is Machine Learning? How can it be used for fighting Digital Piracy?
Machine Learning is a subset of Artificial Intelligence. Machine learning is the ability of systems to automatically process big data and produce reliable and repeatable outcomes. It is based on the concept that machines can learn from data, identify patterns, and perform specific tasks with minimal human intervention. In this case, identifying URLs hosting pirated content. Machine learning can either be supervised or unsupervised.
With respect to fighting digital piracy, supervised machine learning is a better choice as it involves training the machine using data that categorizes URLs as legitimate or illegitimate. It can also be trained to identify piracy hotspots and hosting sites with the highest incidence of piracy and the most likelihood of hosting infringed content.
By crawling the web, the monitoring and detection team effectively compiles an exhaustive database of URLs. Applying various machine learning algorithms, customized to each content type, the URLs are categorized either as legitimate, or illegitimate URLs hosting pirated content. This process typically eliminates approximately 94% of the URLs, and it is usually the remaining 6% URLs that host pirated content.
Since this is a reiterative process, the system progressively becomes efficient and accurate with each reiteration. The anti piracy efforts get laser focussed on eliminating this narrow subset (6% URLs that host pirated content) thus greatly enhancing the effectiveness of anti piracy efforts in terms of speed, time, and eradication rate.
Checks and Balances & How it Improves Machine Learning Efficiency
Even as the machine learning tool identifies an URL as an illegitimate URL hosting infringed content, anti-piracy analysts manually cross-check the identified websites before authenticating whether the URL has been correctly identified.
This process, in turn, helps further finetune the machine learning systems. These human decisions are used to train the system/machine, which when confronted with similar situations in the future will be better able to deal with the query. A machine learning technique called reinforcement learning in which the machine learns from continuous and relentless trial-and-error is used.
Machine Learning Could Deliver a Decisive Blow on Digital Piracy
Machine-learning technologies that are applied to investigate high-value and high-profile cyber attacks can be used to detect pirate websites, find their owners, and remove illegal content.
Classifying traffic by using IP flow data from an IPFIX/NetFlow feed is an option that seems to have a lot of promise.
Machine learning can exploit weaknesses in the piracy ecosystem where most providers are using a client/server software pair from specific providers, and these can be targeted.
Use IP flow data to detect pirated linear streaming traffic on broadband networks.
Do you think that Machine-Learning Based Piracy Detection system could give digital piracy a final decisive blow, or do you believe that the pirates have a lot more “up their sleeve”?
Let us know in the comments down below.
India’s first Antipiracy Company serving over 200+ content owners for more than 12+ years.