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How do I protect my content against video piracy?

By Published On: June 26, 2019 - Categories: Industry Insights Live Streaming OTT

Video piracy is a threat to any online video business, and one which constantly changes. To help you get to grips with piracy, we’ve looked at the main defences that content owners can adopt.

‘If we keep slamming the door on pirates, eventually they’ll stop attempting to walk through,’ says David Miller. ‘It only takes a couple of second to shut one down. These people make money from content they don’t own, undermining fans who pay to get the content produced. Video piracy isn’t right, and we can block it.’

David is one of the digital project managers at StreamAMG, taking part in the ongoing battle with video pirates. Typically pirates have a digital asset that looks like the real thing, such as a fans’ website, and deliver the unlicensed stream through it.

The scale of the problem is substantial; according to piracy research firm MUSO, nearly 190 billion visits were made to illegal piracy websites in 2018.

Although there are signs of a decline, the motivating factors are still potent. A MUSO survey found 35% of respondents who thought piracy was wrong but did it anyway said the price of legal content was the driving force of their piracy. 50% of respondents were likely or very likely to use unlicensed platforms to search for content that’s not available to them.

So what can video content owners do? We’ve had a look behind the scenes at the technology of digital rights management. There are steps you can take to protect your content, and there’s an opportunity to improve your user experience along the way.


The first method is through tokenisation. A website generates a token which allows a piece of content from the streaming provider to be streamed on the site securely. The token ensures the video can only be played from the content owners’ website. If another website tries to use the same stream URL, it doesn’t play.

Different video platforms use different methods for managing tokens. In the case of StreamAMG’s MediaPlatform, a Kaltura Session is created for every video played.

Tokens cover the first essential base of protecting your video, preventing it from being lifted onto someone else’s site. But they’re not the whole story.

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