“Counterfeiting or brand piracy is the largest criminal enterprise globally. The sales of counterfeit and pirated goods total $1.7 trillion per year, which is more than drugs and human trafficking.”, stated Forbes in 2018. This was before the COVID-19 pandemic. The score has drastically increased since then.
In the music industry alone, brand piracy costs $4.6 Billion in revenue losses. This means that out of every 10 sold CDs, 7 of them are pirated.
The Indian Media and Entertainment (M&E) Industry loses around ₹22,000 crores of revenue and 60,000 jobs each year to digital piracy.
Brand piracy happens at an alarming scale globally.
What is Brand Piracy?
Brand Piracy is the practice of copying or imitating the name or logo of another well-known brand or product. It is illegal since it violates the Intellectual Property Rights of the rightsholder. The more successful a brand, product, or service is, the more likely it is to be a victim of brand piracy.
Types of Brand Piracy:
Generally, brand piracy falls into three categories: Counterfeiting, Outright Piracy, and Reverse Engineering.
Counterfeiting occurs when the quality of a product is altered but the trademark is identical to the original product. This is the worst type of brand piracy.
Outright Piracy is when a product is in the same form and uses an identical but forged trademark.
Reverse Engineering is when the original product is copied and sold at very low prices under the original brand name. It is quite common in the electronics industry.
Consequences of Brand Piracy:
Brand piracy negatively impacts the profitability and reliability of businesses and their products/services.
Loss of Sales: Brands suffer a huge loss of sales and revenue in billions of dollars.
Reputation at Risk: Besides monetary loss, it also causes reputational damage to the products and services – hence, the company.
Lack of Trustworthiness: They face a loss of trust between business partners, stakeholders, and consumers alike.
Diverted Focus: Dealing with the consequences of counterfeiters make brands shift their focus from improving products and services. Hence, creativity and technology pay the price.
Protecting Your Brand Against Brand Piracy:
Claim ownership of the products and services designed by your company.
Register your brands, designs, products and patents with associated intellectual properties under Copyright or Patent or Trademark. Note that they must be registered in each country where your company has its footprint.
Monitor the Online Space for Infringements
Monitor the digital space using social listening tools to detect any instances of brand abuse or infringement.
Protect your brand right on social media and eCommerce sites
Social media and eCommerce sites have clearly-articulated regulations on defending the rights of copyright owners. Proactively, connect with these sites and platforms to bring down any violations.
Use Legal Help
Use the law of the land and legislation to enforce your brand, patent, and copyright. Hire a competent legal team to help you maintain the credibility and trustworthiness of your brand in the online space.
Preventing brand piracy takes time, effort, and a special set of capabilities both technical and legal; especially when you do not know your adversary. That is why you should consider taking help from an organization that is competent at tracking everything down and enforcing brand rights.
India’s First Online Antipiracy Company could be Your Best Bet
We at AiPlex are not only pioneers in providing anti-piracy solutions to the Content creation network (Film Production Houses, OTT Platforms, Broadcasters, E-Learning & Software companies) in India but have also stood the test of time by protecting the brand reputation of some of the top Edtech, Crypto, Fintech, eCommerce, and Hospitality brands in India for more than a decade. We understand the piracy ecosystem and can disrupt it like no other – thanks to our innovative techno-legal approach.
Our tie-up with payment gateways, our legal expertise, connection with ISPs, and coordination with enforcement agencies ensure that you focus on building your business and while AiPlex protects your brand reputation in the online space. Drop us a line to know more.
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.
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
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
For many decades – especially in the 1980s, music was stored and distributed in the form of vinyl records until cassettes and CD sales took over in 1988 and 1991 respectively. Back then music production was done manually; But, the advent of the internet gave rise to new distribution channels and reduced the cost and time with regards to production. While distributing music in traditional modes slowly became outdated, content was now easily accessible to everyone through their smart devices with an active internet connection. However, all this convenience came at a cost; rampant piracy. Unauthorised copies are either bootlegged for below-market prices or traded without payment.
Jubin Nautiyal, who became famous for The Humma Song from Ok Jaanu and Zindagi Kuch Toh Bata from Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan was devastated when his new single, Haaye Dil got leaked online a few days before its release. He said that while he was getting ready to perform at the concert, someone started playing it from the adjacent building. He said he was depressed and even filed a complaint.
When Madonna’s 2015 album Rebel Heart got leaked online, she told the New York Times” I felt raped, there are no words to describe how devastated I was.” When Jai Paul’s debut album was leaked online, he disappeared from the public for six years because he was feeling distressed, suffered from a breakdown and withdrew from life.
According to an article published on Jun 04, 2020, in The Economic Times, it was estimated by the 2019 International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) that the music industry loses about Rs. 1,000 crore a year due to piracy. Out of which, Indian Music Industry (IMI) makes up for 67% and average global piracy constitutes 27%.
All that a pirate needs is just one copy, that’s either acquired legally or illegally, to make thousands of copies and sell it online for a less price. They don’t mind facing legal charges and they’re even finding new ways to get around media locks. In fact, consumers prefer downloading music from third-party websites since it’s available for free as compared to purchasing from streaming platforms like Spotify or iTunes.
Another medium of piracy is P2P network/file-sharing networks; since file-sharing can be done directly among individuals there is a need for few servers or none at all. Many music file-sharing services like Napster emerged with features like a search index for available content. Through the provision of incentives, they even encouraged users to share their files. Well, Napster was later sued and shut down for illegally distributing copyrighted material. WhatsApp groups and Telegram is also an attractive source for Indian content.
Music piracy creates a hefty loss especially for struggling artists and producers trying to make a career, it affects their livelihood; hence Indian copyright laws must be upgraded further to curb digital piracy. Here are some other ways to deal with piracy:
Remove Incentives: Offering good products at a fair price can stop the consumers from looking for pirated content. Other features like good quality content with zero buffering and listening to music offline can also help reduce piracy.
PR and Education: Consumers who download unauthorised content might not always be aware that it’s illegal and that it’s a crime. Therefore, necessary steps need to be taken to educate them about the copyright laws, rules and consequences of piracy.
Technology: You can’t fight against piracy unless you know where the infringement actually took place. But, with technological interference at the pre-transmission stage, it is possible to monitor and tackle piracy.
While we can’t completely stop piracy, it is possible to control piracy to a very large extent and plug revenue losses in the music industry. AiPlex is India’s first antipiracy company with decades of validated experience. In its fight against piracy in all its forms, it has helped take down infringed content across various platforms, delete millions of infringing URLs, detect fake websites and is a trusted content protection partner for over 200+ content owners. Drop us a line to know more.
Have you been selling movies you recorded on your camera? or are you uploading them on the internet for free? If you are, then it’s imperative that you read further…
With over 1000 movies produced every year; India has a thriving film industry. It’s also one of the largest markets in the world for movies, which also makes it the biggest market for pirated content. Major titles get pirated and distributed in the black market as soon as it’s released either for free or for as low as a dollar or ₹ 74. This not only results in loss of revenue for many producers but also makes piracy lucrative.
India’s Managing Director of Motion Picture Distributors’ Association, Uday Singh quoted that, “Content theft or piracy in the film industry originates from ‘camcording’ in cinema halls. The Indian film industry loses around Rs 18,000 crore ($2.7 billion) and over 60,000 jobs every year because of piracy.”
The major cause for pirating movies is its ease in availability which is within a few hours from its release. According to the estimates, about 90% of pirated releases can be traced back to camcorders or smartphone recordings.
Towards preventing unauthorized recording, copying, and distribution of pirated content, the Indian government put forward a proposal to amend the Cinematograph Act and protect the local film industry.
On February 6, 2019, Sitanshu Kar, Principal Spokesperson for the Government of India announced that the amendments to the 1952 Cinematograph Act have been passed by the Union Cabinet.
Stiff Sentence and a Huge Fine
As per the amendments, no person is authorized to use audio or video recording devices to record or distribute a movie without the written and explicit permission of copyright holders. The proposed punishment included a 3 years jail term and/or a fine of up to $14,000/Rs. 10,00,000. This rather severe punishment is expected to act as a deterrent to pirates and would-be pirates.
Will it Completely Eradicate Piracy?
While the Media & Entertainment industry has received this news with great enthusiasm hoping it will curtail piracy, popular torrent sites like TamilRockers seem unperturbed and continue business as usual. While this law is a welcome move and might deter pirates, it’s unlikely that it will completely put an end to piracy. A concerted effort by antipiracy companies, media companies, enforcement agencies, internet companies, and implementation of strict statutory laws is the need of the hour.
What are your thoughts on the proposed law? Is it going to be effective in controlling piracy in India? Let us know in the comments below.
This article is for those of you whose channels were brought down because of YouTube’s Copyright strike and also those of whose channels are not yet… If you’re a YouTuber, you must be aware of YouTube’s Copyright Policy. Copyright strike is a nightmare for YouTubers.
YouTube’s Copyright Policy: Know in-depth
YouTube’s copyright policy is designed to address the issues of copyright infringement and to protect the rights of content creators. YouTube makes it clear that the use of unauthorized content is unacceptable.
Three strikes against the channel and it’s gone! –Content ID is YouTube’s automated, scalable system that enables copyright owners to identify YouTube videos that include content they own. YouTube only grants Content ID to copyright owners who meet specific criteria. A database of copyright ownership is set by the content owners. Three unheeded and un‑appealed copyright strikes and YouTube could permanently delete your channel.
What is AiPlex Software Pvt. Ltd.?
AiPlex Software Pvt. Ltd, is India’s 1st online anti-piracy company that helps content owners to protect content across all digital platforms, i.e., social media, search engines, mobile apps, streaming platforms, etc., serving 200+ corporate clients with customized content protection solutions for over 13 years.
Why Does AiPlex Send Copyright Notices to YouTube Users?
Because they are engaged by content owners to protect copyrighted content in the online space – as simple as that. Now, let’s dig deeper…
AiPlex is entrusted with the task of protecting content in the online space. On YouTube, it is authorized by content owners to act on their behalf and take action against any infringement.
AiPlex sends copyright notice If the YouTuber uses:
Copyrighted music in the background
Thumbnails containing copyrighted images, posters, etc.
A whole movie/episodes/dialogues/scenes
Movie Clips (whether it is 4 sec or 40 seconds, you can’t use someone’s content without their consent)
Misuse of fair use policy (giving credits doesn’t mean it’s okay to use authorized content)
While sending a copyright notice, AiPlex (or any company for that matter) is bound to comply with YouTube guidelines and policies and provide evidence to YouTube including details such as contact information, infringing URL, and copyright certificate.
Whenever AiPlex discovers that content is being misused (intentionally or unintentionally), it intervenes and notifies the user as well as YouTube of the violation. By doing so, AiPlex ensures that the legitimate rights of content creators are safeguarded.
What Can You Do to Resolve a Copyright Strike?
Delete the video immediately and inform the complainant.
Request the complainant to retract their copyright notice.
Wait for 90 days until the copyright strike expires. Don’t repeat the same mistake again!
File a counter-notification if you think your video is removed by mistake, and it comes under fair use policy.
Drop us a line if you need help in protecting your content across the online space.
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.