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An OTT Security Wake-Up Call | Viaccess-Orca Blog


Sometimes we need a wake up call to make changes. All content owners and operators need to focus hard on OTT security in order to fully unleash their content’s potential. Different departments within each organization, including operations, legal, marketing and distribution, must deal with security and piracy issues in their own particular way. The  trick is however, that these departments should stop working independently and start working together to collectively understand OTT security and piracy issues and to explore the specifics of changes that must be made.

The two major change drivers to be considered in this connected world are content availability on multiple devices and business model uncertainty.

Pirates are not only in fairytales

There are several types of pirates that pose as a major threat to the industry. Worst of all are the individual and services trying to make money off of content services they don’t own. Hackers, with their attempts to crack security codes, are next in line. Then there are casual pirates, who only occasionally access illegal content.

Consumers can also pose a threat when they obtain content without knowing if it’s legitimate, when they access content that is not readily available to buy or not legitimately available on all their devices. At the same time, content availability in a multiscreen environment and TV Everywhere online account management open new potential points of attacks for illegal access to content and content services for pirates.

Business Models: Now and Then

Business models in the old Pay-TV days were more mature and stable. That’s no longer the case with newer models. There are now several categories of subscribers, and, in addition to consumers taking basic subscriptions, an increasing number of subscribers are opting for OTT subscriptions charging minimal monthly fees and ad-based complementary services. In the new TV Everywhere paradigm, it’s difficult for content service providers to address the uncertainties of this and business model experimentation is often required.

As the result, it becomes increasingly important for security solutions providers to assist content services providers with their investments for security purposes with  newer business models such as  revenue-sharing.

Changes are good

When it comes to OTT security, there are some factors that will change and others that won’t. This is especially the case when considering new content consumption devices that go beyond the set-top-box, such as smart mobile devices.

One thing we believe should not be changed is how to address piracy. Investigation services to monitor pirate networks and analyze illegal content services will still be required. We already have set up our anti-piracy platform for many of our existing clients to prevent a current form of piracy called Control Word and Card Sharing.

Among things that will change are the conditions under which we will have to provide our security services. For example, the notion of time will change, as security monitoring and enforcement in a hyper-connected world should increasingly be conducted in real-time. There will also be a focus on multiple delivery environments and devices.

Piracy and Legal a necessary tandem

There are complex legal boundaries between piracy and counterfeit content. This greatly increases the difficulty for legislators in providing an appropriate legal framework. There have been many discussions at the European Union level to address piracy as such in a closed network. These discussions have led to the adoption of a Directive on conditional access system. This was a first and major step, already over ten years ago. This Directive now needs to be adapted to the open networks but there is currently no willingness at European level to modify it despite technology providers leading a strong lobbying in Brussels. This is a danger, especially when many countries in Asia for instance are adopting ad hoc legislation and the result might be that having been first to bring a legal answer to certain forms of piracy, Europe now ends as a safe harbor for piracy.

Discussions are going on however in particular at the Observatory for counterfeit and piracy.; The mission of one of its commissions, the awareness group, is first to establish the level of IP perception. The study revealed that this level is quite low, meaning also that beyond adopting a stronger legislation, there is also a need for communicating on a more appropriate manner on piracy and its consequences and a need for creating greater awareness at all levels.

OTT is rapidly changing many aspects of the TV industry, largely because of the new security challenges raised at the technical and business levels. The influx of pirated content and content services is the biggest challenge for content service providers. . If governments collaborated with regulators, network operators and content providers to tackle the issue, anti-piracy measures could be more easily enforced.  Such action needs to be taken before this problem becomes so overwhelming that there will be no money left to create content.

Topics: OTT, Content Piracy, Industry, Multiscreen, OTT operators, Pay TV, Pay TV piracy, PayTV, piracy

Christine Maury-Panis

Christine Maury Panis is the Executive Vice President & General Counsel of Viaccess-Orca. Christine joined Viaccess in 2001 to create the legal and IP department and is currently Vice President of the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance, the successor to AEPOC (European Association for the Protection of Encrypted Works and Services). Prior to this role, Christine was legal counsel within the Thomson Consumer Electronics division from 1986. In 1996, moved to CANAL Group to manage the launch of the digital bouquet and helped create CANAL + Technologies which protect and license technologies worldwide. Christine graduated the Paris Law University in International Business law and the French Institute for Interpreters and Translators.

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