Deal with “Hydra Headed Rogue Websites” Legally

Deal with “Hydra Headed Rogue Websites” Legally


Digital piracy remains the biggest threat to content creators. While content creators and production houses put in a great deal of effort and money to create good content and obviously look forward to monetize their movies, TV shows, etc., the pirates share copyrighted content at will. Rogue websites are one of the most successful ways in which the pirates try to hoodwink antipiracy companies and law enforcement agencies.   These new techniques by pirates can only be dealt with futuristic and very stringent technical and legal measures by way of legislation, courts, law-enforcement agencies and antipiracy companies.

Rogue Websites-What are They?

Also known as, Hydra Headed Rogue Websites. The registration and ownership details of these websites are always masked. The ad network usually is anonymous.

Why Such Websites are Referred to as ‘Hydra’

The Lernean Hydra in Greek mythology, who is the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, is a giant water snake-like monster that has nine heads, one of which was immortal.  Anyone who attempted to behead the Hydra would soon find that when one head was cut off, two more heads would appear from the fresh wound. Rogue websites operate the same way.  When enforcement agencies, courts, or antipiracy companies bring down such websites, a multitude of them spring up and continue sharing infringed content.

Why Such Websites are Referred to as ‘Hydra’

How to Identify Rogue Websites?

Here’s a list of what you can look out for when checking for rogue websites:

  • The primary purpose of the website would be to commit infringement and facilitate infringement
  • The registration and details would be masked
  • There will be a lack of action by the website on receiving takedown notices or warnings by the copyright owner
  • The owner will generally show forms of disregard for copyright
  • Check if there is any existing court order that has disabled access to such websites
  • Verify traffic frequency to access similar websites
How to Identify Rogue Websites

Blocking rogue websites is one of the most effective ways to curb piracy.

How to Block Such Rogue Websites?

The Indian courts have realized such rogue websites have to dealt with “out of the box” legislation. Accordingly, John Doe Order aka Ashok Kumar order has been introduced as a new and strong force of fairness. This is a preemptive order that can be obtained against internet service providers, different cable operators, and the illegal and unlicensed distributors of different forms of content; and has proven to be very effective against hydra headed rogue sites.

John Doe Order aka Ashok Kumar order-A Few Details

Ashok Kumar Order or John Doe Order is an injunction provided by the courts when an anonymous person violates the IP rights of the IP rights owner and cannot be discerned at the time of filing the suit. It protects the IP rights owner by enabling them to serve notice and take stern legal actions against the infringers. The plaintiff or the IP rights holder has the legal right to search the premises and capture evidence of an infringement. If the person understands that there is the likelihood that his work is being pirated or infringed by an unidentifiable person, he is entitled to the proposition of the court for issuance of John Doe order. They are awarded ex-parte since the defendant is unidentifiable and the time is crucial.


It is heartening to see that Indian courts have risen to the occasion and have come out with such legislations to support the content creation industry.  An industry or ecosystem of actors, directors, artists, musicians, craftsmen, writers, transporters, caterers, productions houses, etc. can only flourish and remain viable if we are able to adequately control and defeat digital piracy.   For a comprehensive antipiracy solution that also includes procuring the John Doe order and blocking rogue websites, please drop us a line

Digital Piracy: How Does It Impact Sales?

Digital Piracy: How Does It Impact Sales?

Piracy has always been there!

Right from the beginning of professional movie production, piracy has been there in different forms; be it bicycling (unauthorized extended shows in theatres) in the silent movie era, pirated CDs, camcorder recordings, or the current trend of restreaming of linear content.

But Does Digital Piracy Impact Sales?

This has been an eternal question that begs an answer.  It depends on whom you ask and which side of the debate they stand on.

The Answer Could Be an Emphatic Yes-It Is Not That Simple Though!

There are statistical studies that say that piracy has no impact on sales.

On the other hand, there is a report that estimates that the Indian media and entertainment industry loses some 820,000 jobs and revenue equivalent to $4 billion each year to piracy and counterfeiting.

Factors That Might Help Us To Put The Debate to Rest

There are 2 interrelated factors that show up in almost all studies and reports on the impact of piracy on sales and they are the “displacement rate of piracy” and “audiences’ willingness to pay”

Displacement Rate:  A study of the recent top box-office hits reveals that for every 10 movies watched illegally 4 fewer movies are watched legally, which means there is a displacement rate of 40%.  These displacement rates translate to 5% less sales or revenue. Tidbit:  Piracy competes more with theatre tickets than it does with downloads.

Audiences’ Unwillingness to Pay: A study also revealed that 4 out of 5 consumers were unwilling to pay the market rate for film and TV shows.  If they could watch something for free, they would.

These 2 data points imply that piracy impacts sales either by displacing potential consumption or directing audiences to unlicensed free content for those unwilling to pay market prices.

The Third Dimension

The cultural aspect of piracy:  The society at large doesn’t see viewing pirated content as something immoral or illegal.  Societies increasingly condone piracy on different ideological grounds.  An average consumer accessing pirated content with a simple Google search without any qualms or reservations about watching pirated content does really impact sales and revenues.

Piracy is no longer confined to tech-savvy users and the dark web. It is a digital product like any other and is impacting sales by billions of dollars.

Does Piracy Impact Sales?

What Should the Content Owners Do?

Piracy if not effectively dealt with could sound like a death knell for the media and entertainment industry.

Content owners should partner with a company that is at the forefront of fighting digital piracy in all its forms and has been successful at it; AiPlex is one such. 

Just drop us a line and we will formulate a plan that is customized just for you.

Machine Learning to Fight Digital Piracy

Machine Learning to Fight Digital Piracy

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.

How can machine learning be used to fight digital piracy? 

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?

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.

What is Machine Learning?

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.