Acting against smart pirates who get access to HD, 4K OTT content

Pirates of premium OTT content have a preference for high-resolution video files. As internet speeds have improved all over the world, content consumers expect high-quality streaming irrespective of the legal nature of the OTT platform they access the content on. Pirates have found avenues to access HD, and even 4K, DRM protected content copies which they stream through their own networks.

Hackers have multiple ways to obtain high-resolution premium content. They can simply take legitimate subscriptions of popular OTT platforms, like Amazon Prime and Netflix. To assume anonymity in the OTT space, which uses the multi-DRM licensing system to protect content and manage users and client devices, pirates use prepaid credit cards to buy subscriptions. Once they have obtained analog copies of premium content, pirates use mobile devices to stream this content in through pirates sites but only after attacking its video watermarking protection. Restreaming content through inexpensive mobile devices protects them against disclosing their physical locations.

Pirates are also smart hackers. They also try to steal user credentials of unsuspecting viewers and or encryption keys to steal content directly from CDNs. In a multi-DRM system, the content is no value if its corresponding encryptions keys are not available for decrypting the premium video content.

In the eventuality of a leak – which can happen despite the best security infrastructure in place – video watermarks, which are inserted into each video frame of the streaming content help content owners to reach the pirate. They then start the process of removing pirated content from file-sharing and illegal streaming sites.

For this process, content owners go back to the same multi-DRM vendor  which inserts watermarks in the first place. These SaaS vendors maintain a database of each forensic watermark. The extracted watermark from the pirated copy is matched against entries in this database. On successful matching, content owners obtain user information from whose device the video leaked and proceed to take legal action.