Protecting and Licensing the IP Behind the Curtain in the Entertainment Industry
2023-03-29 John Poulson
The digital media industry has long been a vulnerable target for piracy. The theft of copyrighted music, games, software, videos, films and the like costs the entertainment industry billions of dollars annually. And, looking at recent reports, piracy of digital media continues to be a major threat. Here is a bit of the gruesome data.
MUSO, a data company who tracks unlicensed media consumption and global piracy demand, reported that in 2022, pirating films increased by about 39%, compared with 2021, while visits to piracy websites to watch TV shows rose by about 9%. The report expected piracy to continue to rise throughout 2023.
In 2019, the US Chamber of Commerce's Global Innovation Policy Center reported that piracy costs the US film and TV industry between $29 and $71 billion in lost revenue annually.
And, it is not just about financial loss. Digital media piracy is costing jobs as well. LegalJobs, an online recruitment platform, says that thousands of people in the music industry lose their job due to piracy in the United States. According to statistics on piracy, digital video piracy has dealt a blow to the United States economy, resulting in between 230,000 and 560,000 job losses and $47.5 and $115.3 billion in reduced gross domestic product per year.
Beyond the most visible targets who suffer from media piracy are the creators and producers of digital content who have made a significant investment in the advanced tools and technologies that enable them to create the most incredible sound, images, and animation, whether it be for film, TV, or live entertainment. The value of this proprietary IP is immeasurable and requires protection from theft and tampering as well.
For example, look at a company like Disguise, the inventors of the world’s first integrated production system for video professionals, creating compelling visualizations that are seen everywhere from theaters to concert tours to projection mapping events worldwide. The strength of Disguise is derived from a combination of its powerful software and the performance of its dedicated hardware. The advanced technology, however, requires protection from unauthorized use and counterfeiting and a licensing mechanism to monetize their proprietary products.
Disguise found a solution in Wibu-Systems’ CodeMeter licensing and protection technology, used by software publishers and embedded systems engineers around the world. Disguise uses CodeMeter to efficiently provision its software and hardware with the correct licenses that protect their IP and maintain the integrity of the design builds that designers exchange with their clients across the entire supply chain. CodeMeter offers them a choice of license models and license containers: Either a dongle that stores a valid license and acts as an electronic copy protection device, or a software-based license container, which is a faster option for the user and time saver for Disguise in terms of logistics.
With their license, designers can create entire shows. The creative work is watermarked during the design stage, which makes it impossible to use this version during an actual show. It’s only with dedicated Disguise hardware, which is often provided by the many rental companies in the event industry, and a built-in license powered by CodeMeter, that the show can go live. With CodeMeter, Disguise can also ensure that their users can only access the correct tamper-proof configurations of the many different types and versions of its software and hardware in the field. CodeMeter also makes it easy for Disguise to handle annual renewals and upgrades for its customers.
As the licenses are built into the Disguise hardware, designers can run their work on the Disguise hardware without having to buy all of the sophisticated hardware themselves. This also generates new business models for rental companies.
This is just one example of how a flexible licensing strategy can secure IP against counterfeiting and monetize the proprietary technology. If this story is of interest, you can read more details in the full case study.
Like many other technology vendors in the entertainment industry, Disguise will be exhibiting at the upcoming NAB 2023 event in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, the annual media, entertainment, and technology conference and exhibition hosted by the National Association of Broadcasters. I see that there are many sessions on IT technology and cybersecurity that should be interesting. I will be there speaking with other technology companies like Disguise about our CodeMeter licensing and protection solution and would be happy to meet with you to learn about your technology and how we might help you protect your IP investment. Feel free to schedule a meeting at your convenience.
Sr. Account Manager
A senior manager and well respected security industry expert, John has worked in business development and sales for Wibu-Systems USA since 2001. When not consulting with customers on software licensing and protection solutions, John attends industry trade shows and conferences to stay abreast of the latest developments in the IT world. Prior to Wibu-Systems, John worked for Micro Security Systems, Eagle Data, and Griffin Technologies, all pioneers in software security.
Over the years, John has authored several blog articles on topics of general interest in cryptography as well as monetization of embedded systems in new and innovative ways.