Last year the research company of the TV industry Digital TV Research predicted that the loss of TV series and film revenues due to online piracy would reach $ 52 billion by 2022. As this figure does not takes into account the revenue that would be lost for piracy of sports, games, pay TV and other forms of multimedia content, the sense is that the cost of piracy for the media industry is much larger than $ 52 billion.
The reality is that blockchain – as of today – is not ready to eradicate piracy. Furthermore, any digital media created for human consumption can be captured and duplicated. He's saying that when they asked questions about how the blockchain could help solve piracy issues and ad transparency in the media space, the blockchain project leaders we talked with seemed more confident to talk about ad transparency and less about piracy.
Why blockchain could not eradicate piracy
Piracy is behavioral and there is not enough evidence to show why people do it, according to a report by CREATe, a UK copyright research agency. The researchers found that most of the knowledge about unauthorized file sharing refers to music, noting that the reasons why people illegally share music are not necessarily the same with other forms of content. For example, people may share music files illegally because that's how they do in their community. On the other hand, lack of access in some countries could be a motivation for people to share online TV programs. Non-acceptability could be the reason for other forms of content, especially in the case of games and software, but this report does not consider software. The idea that certain content has no financial value could also be a culprit.
Again, none of the precedents is conclusive and complete, which means there is no guarantee that a blockchain project is built in response to any of the above reasons why people could illegally share media content will stop piracy of that particular type of content. The CREATe report emphasizes that both industry and lawmakers need solid evidence on why people illegally share any type of media content in order to be able to achieve success. Current evidence suggests that blockchain can – at best – be just one component of a larger initiative to combat piracy. In other words, blockchain can help fight piracy to some extent. It is unlikely that it will eradicate piracy alone.
Some experts suggest that it might become impossible or extremely difficult to share multimedia content illegally if the whole Internet were built on blockchain technology. This could happen someday, but at the moment, here are some practical approaches on how the blockchain could play a role in the fight against piracy.
Using blockchain to facilitate content surveillance
Vevue, the blockchain streaming service that will host the film "No Postage Needed" is working on a technology – an intelligent surveillance contract with the code name – that will be in able to trace the life cycle of any content. "If someone copies the content tracked by our technology by any means possible, including video or recording a screen, our platform will be able to identify the owner of the device / system in which the last content was played ", said founder Thomas Olson.  As you can probably guess, the blockchain does not perform tracking here. The process of tracking and identifying the copied content is complex and goes beyond the blockchain, added Olson. Vevue is developing an intelligent, patent-pending computational engine to carry out the task of protecting content. Vevue refused to provide details about his so-called single process to track and identify content because it is a trade secret that still needs complete legal protection.
However, in response to a question about the possibility that AI might be a part of what helps blockchain better combat piracy, Olson replied, "Yes."
Here's a stream of how Vevue's blockchain-based media tracking technology works.
One thing is clear: Blockchain serves only as a record against which the monitoring actions of other technologies – the intelligent calculation engine, example – it is cross-checked and the smart contract is based on the voices of other technologies in the system to trigger an action.
In fact, the description of how the Vevue technology works is similar to how the combination of watermarking and blockchain forensics works.
Blockchain as a bounty hunting platform
CustosTech, a company based in South Africa, uses the Bitcoin blockchain to help intellectual property owners fight piracy. CustosTech has developed a patented legal filigree technology that allows you to incorporate a monetary reward – Bitcoin, in this case – that is connected to a unique serial number in multimedia files, such as video, audio, eBooks and audiobooks, during encoding  Also referred to as digital watermark, forensic watermark technology has been around for some time and there are tons of existing companies offering digital watermarking services for almost all types of multimedia content – even content served by applications exaggerated. The legal watermark (a unique serial number) is usually placed at random points or along the length of a piece of multimedia content and is not perceptible by the recipient of the content. The way it is embedded in the length of a file also makes removal difficult. Moreover, the unique serial number is used to identify the recipient of the multimedia file and is not influenced by the resizing, downscaling, transcoding, recording or any other type of modification to which the multimedia content can be submitted. Therefore, in case of suspected pirated file, it is possible to extract the unique serial number to determine the legal recipient of the file, hence the origin of the pirated content.
As you can probably say, only players in the media space are encouraged to find pirated media files. However, CustosTech is using the global nature of blockchain and Bitcoin to incentivize the average consumer to hunt media files that may have been illegally shared globally. Anyone can join the CustosTech Bitcoin bounty hunting program by applying on their site. If hired, the bounty hunter receives an instrument called "Privateer" to be used in the screening contents protected by CustosTech for piracy. Once a bounty hunter finds pirated content, he extracts the Bitcoin attached to that file into his Bitcoin wallet. The extraction process sends the unique serial number, which reveals the origin of the pirated content, to CustosTech and the owner of the content for the desired copyright infringement action: legal action, account cancellation and blacklists, eg. To do so, CustosTech requires that the cost of the action taken against the infringer be greater than the value of the embedded Bitcoin.
Note that blockchain only serves as an incentive system to allow the underlying watermarking technology to achieve greater results.
Involving consumers with monetary incentives
This could be difficult to implement in the video space on demand. However, the game industry can benefit from it. There is already a practice in the mobile gaming space where users are encouraged to look at advertisements with virtual in-game credits. Rawg, a cross-device game discovery platform, is trying to help the gaming industry reduce piracy by building a blockchain system that rewards players with tokens for in-game results.
Of course, Rawg did not start fighting piracy specifically. Rawg is essentially a cross-device game discovery platform that gathers information on all the games a player has on all their gaming devices in one place to improve the player's experience. This helps players get more detailed information on how they are playing games on different game platforms and then receive advice. For example, based on the preferences of a player on Xbox, Rawg can recommend similar games for PlayStation or desktop. A player can also follow other players of similar interests to see what they are playing. Before venturing into blockchain, Rawg had already built a community of players who had already synchronized over 50,000 games.
Rawg is taking another step forward by giving players more power by allowing them to earn tokens – which can be traded for fiat – for game results. This inherently deters piracy, in a sense, because players can only synchronize the results obtained from non-pirated games on official platforms. If players know that they can recover the money spent on buying a game and potentially earn more money, they may be less interested in piracy games, according to Rawg.
A number of other startups, including Crycash, Enjin, Dmarket and many others, are also trying to help players monetize their playing time. Rawg is present here because he already has a functioning system that could use blockchain to discourage large-scale piracy.
Blockchain for rights management
Another startup, Dot Blockchain Media, which is developing a new file format – dubbed ".BC" – to help unify rights management in the music industry, he is also using forensic watermarking to incorporate the blockchain address into music files. Unlike CustosTech, Dot Blockchain is not trying to chase pirates of music files, at least not directly. Instead, he just wants the entire music industry to record music information, from the artist to the producer, and other commercial information about the immutable system that is blockchain. The company has already released a music file ".BC" – "Forget and Feel" by STOLAR, distributed by FUGA. The song is available on iTunes, Google, Spotify and other music platforms and information about the watermark can be read with the Digimarc Discover app.
It is important to stress that this piece only looks at what is possible based on the currently available products. There is no company that does not have a working product.