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Why Media Can’t Wait for Intellectual Property Laws

June 28, 2017
data and intellectual property protection

The entertainment industry has been battling piracy for decades. They’ve won strong data and intellectual property protection laws, taken down some of the biggest violators in the world, and removed billions of URLs from search engines that led to pirated content, but piracy remains the industry’s biggest problem. It’s time to stop waiting for a legislative solution, and start investing in media and entertainment security.

The G7 Appeal for Data and Intellectual Property Protection

On March 29th, 2017, a group of the G7’s largest media and entertainment corporations sent an urgent letter to the cultural ministers of the G7, calling on them to take a global approach to data and intellectual property protection. It painted a vivid picture of just how serious a threat internet piracy poses:

[Internet piracy] threatens billions of investments and tens of millions of jobs in our countries. It affects the whole entertainment supply chain, from the set designer to the make-up artist, from the record producer to the composer… the cinema exhibitor to the television distributor. No part of our industry goes unaffected.

In reality, there’s been a worldwide approach to piracy for over 20 years. The WIPO Copyright Treaty of 1996 strengthened data and intellectual property protection worldwide. Ensuing laws like the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) empowered copyright holders to serve takedown notices, prohibit circumvention of copyright controls, and take other forceful actions to protect IP.

Progress on Data and Intellectual Property Protection

In the two decades since, the industry has had meaningful victories. They’ve closed down Napster and The Pirate Bay (although only temporarily), and gone after individual pirates aggressively. Google has gone from processing 62 takedown notices in all of 2008 to processing 75 million per month in 2016.

And yet data and intellectual property protection laws haven’t stopped systemic piracy. As the letter notes, approximately 30% of worldwide Internet users regularly access illegal IP. This is a huge financial drain — particularly for SMBs which don’t have the means to enforce takedowns or negotiate lucrative streaming deals.

Media Need to Invest in Technology to Protect Data and IP

It’s clear enforcement alone won’t solve our data and intellectual property protection problems, but the industry has underinvested in other solutions. Companies that throw piles of money at lobbying and copyright enforcement have completely neglected security technologies like encryption, despite the low cost and high ROI. This needs to change.

For example, a modest investment in internal email and data protection can radically decrease the chance of leaks, allowing media companies to prevent scandals, manage their image better, and create demand more effectively. Your team can encrypt emails, attachments, and transmit them securely to anyone who has an email account, even outside of your domain. That lets executives negotiate deals with artists, creative teams to collaborate, and PR to control the release of information — all without the fear of a leak.

That also reduces the damage of piracy. Without leaked copies floating around ahead of time, you can create the anticipation (and the sales) that come with a big release, and make sure your team’s artistic vision is seen the way it’s meant to be seen.

Check out these resources to learn how Virtru can help you strike a blow in the fight for data and intellectual property protection.