In today’s online streaming market, live video streaming has snapped up an irreplaceable place by becoming the core of streaming platforms due to the instant engagement and value it has brought to the broadcasting business.
The transition from set-top boxes to OTT streams has offered audiences UHD-quality live video streaming irrespective of the streaming devices and locations. The exclusive streaming content like sports events, live news and live shows have gained much popularity among the audience and without any exception, generate the highest revenue with minimal promotional activities. That is the reason broadcasting agencies are ready to pay any amount to hold the copyrights of live event streaming. According to a survey, billions of dollars are invested in buying the copyright of premium live events every year.
A huge stake invested in the live media streaming industry and the instant traffic it drives to apps and websites have made it the top target of online piracy. To make pirated content more engaging, the threat actors are offering HD 720p buffer free live video streaming, which the user can play on any device.
How does live stream piracy happen?
Sources of live streaming piracy-
The first thing needed to do is to obtain a copy of the content. There are different ways through which the illegal copy of the content is done like:
1- Streaming recording-
How does it function?
By using, an external camera, the original content is recorded from the screen on which it is streamed and then connected to a streaming device. The live content is delivered to the audience through a streaming server and built-in CDN.
Here the only negative attribute is- the picture quality is low. Hence it creates less engagement.
In this type of illegal streaming, some of the actions performed to evade forensic watermarking are resizing the content streamed, D2A conversion, frame rate modification, etc.
b) Screen Recording-
Screen recording is done on the devices where broadcasting software like OBS is installed. The stream is recorded through such third-party software, and then the content is delivered to the streaming server.
DVD/ Blu-ray Originals-
It modifies the digital rights management measures implemented on the DVD/Blu-ray disc. It allows the actors to copy/record the content through recording software/hardware.
Pirated content hosting-
Pirated content is posted online by the digital content pirates or sold to the publishers/uploaders. The uploader then uploads the pirated copy of the content via piracy cyberlockers or P2P/BitTorrent File Transfer.
Piracy cyberlockers online hosting methods are popular among content pirators. It allows the content publishers/uploaders to post streaming content that is available to everyone. According to the report, at present, there are nearly 490+ active cyberlocker sites present around the globe.
It gives the pirated content uploader compensation for each time the uploaded content is downloaded or gets views. The finance of pirated content views is handled by the Cyberlockers’ premium accounts with high download speeds and other prime features that are sold to users, which monetize the platform.
File transfer with BitTorrent-
BitTorrent protocol is used for transferring files over a peer-to-peer network. Here the streaming content is stored in multiple computers which are interconnected.
Counting on to the live streaming service providers to the right holders, each entity involved in online content distribution service has suffered significant losses due to piracy acts. And what hits back is there is no certain way to completely eradicate illegal streaming, but implementing the below antipiracy measures is effective to handle it as incident response.
For restricting streaming piracy, the government has introduced some effective anti-piracy laws like:
PLSA- Protecting Lawful Streaming Act of 2020-
In December 2020, the US government passed the Consolidated Appropriation Act of 2021 to give a full stop to streaming piracy and to make the citizens well-aware of the consequences of pirating streaming content.
Under this act, criminal penalties are imposed on those who participate in the illegal streaming of copyrighted content for financial gain.
Indian Cinematograph Act of 2019-
In India, the Cinematograph Act of 2019 states recording of a film without written consent from the copyright holder can lead to a jail term of 3 years with a monetary fine of RS. 10 Lakhs.
To protect the rights of content creators and manage the legal distribution of videos on YouTube, Google has invested over $100 million in Content ID. Content ID checks for piracy by verifying the uploaded content against the existing copyrighted database of YouTube. In case of any duplicate copy, the content uploaders have options to track and remove the copies of the content. It supports the content owners to have complete control over the uploaded content and helps in making piracy unprofitable.
Also read- How to Improve Live Streaming Latency?
Things you can do to stop live stream piracy-
Apart from providing quality content, industries must follow copy protection techniques. It helps in the legal distribution of digital content and monetization.
The benefits content owners get from forensic watermarking is embedding a serial number in the original content. By detecting watermarks, copyright owners can identify from which point the content got pirated and take necessary actions.
Streaming monitoring and incident response operations-
You can not stop live stream piracy until & unless you know the pirated content and the source point.
In live stream piracy, knowing the source from where the streaming is pirated; is essential to take the right action against it.
Numerous high-end technologies are readily available to monitor live media streaming from the initial pre-transmission stage to the live stage. Some include automated processes, while some are manual. The effectiveness of these enables live streaming service providers to detect and take immediate action against piracy. In recent years, live streaming has been a constant target of content piracy, as they are expensive and have exclusive demand in viewers from all around the globe. The primary detection techniques are the best for handling and resolving the piracy issues with the highest outcome from damage control actions.
CCcam card sharing is globally famous as the efficacious method of illegal streaming content acquisition from the satellite. It allows user devices to access subscriptions based on aggregations of authorization of legal subscription smart cards.
One of the most effective strategies to prevent card sharing is the software up-gradation of digital receivers. Here, a decryption layer is added within the receiver provided by the subscription television service. It replaces the plain text control word sent from the smart card to the receivers’ microprocessor with decrypted ECM.
The ECM acts as an encrypted control word and can only be decrypted by the authorized receiver.
Live stream piracy happens because the viewers wish to access premium content at a lower price than the broadcaster service price. While the broadcasters and the other copyright holders of exclusive streaming content are charging a legal amount to the customers/viewers, content piracy acts as a middleman disrupting the demand and supply chain of the digital streaming ecosystem.
There is no exact way to stop streaming piracy. But the streaming service providers/broadcasters can effectively mitigate the piracy risk by implementing anti-piracy measures.
However, there is another way to handle streaming piracy professionally. By taking the help of enterprise-grade streaming platform providers like Muvi Live. With a platform like Muvi Live, you get an array of advanced security features like DRM protection for live media streaming, Live streaming engine to sure controlled and brand-safe user experience, Built-in CDN, Multi-bitrate HD encoding, Auto-scalable live streaming servers for events, Ultra-low latency and many more.
To have an in-depth look into Muvi Live’s functionality, we request you to take a 14-day free trial of Muvi Live. Start exploring seamless live streaming with live webcast, adaptive streaming with one tap service options like social media integration, peer-to-peer streaming, live analytics, restricted access, geo-blocking, and single sign-on.