Imagine this scenario: It’s the Monday before the Super Bowl, and your team has officially wrapped the trailer for the summer’s highly anticipated superhero prequel. No one’s seen the trailer but you, the team, and the studio execs. It’s from one of the biggest (and most secretive) studios in the world — keeping the trailer under wraps is mission critical.
You get into the office — it’s pandemonium. The trailer has been leaked! Your colleagues are all over each other and Twitter, where the trailer is trending in forty-seven countries. Your team is freaking out, and your boss is walking towards you, fuming.
This scenario isn’t far-fetched. It can (and does) happen to studios, agencies, production companies — you name it. You might be surprised at how mundane actions like sharing your passwords or leaving your iPad lying around unlocked can make your content vulnerable to hacks. Like your data, your content is valuable — and it can be stolen anytime.
According to CreativeFuture, a nonprofit focused on protecting artists and creative workers from for-profit piracy, core copyright industries (film, TV, music, and publishing, for example) added more than $1.2 trillion of value to the U.S. GDP in 2015. That’s bigger than aerospace, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals, accounting for almost 7 percent of the U.S. economy and employing more than 5.5. million people. At the same time, online piracy has grown into a massive criminal industry; in 2014, the top 30 cyberlockers made nearly $100 million per year from stolen creative works. The costs to content producers are both external — managing reputation, copyright lawsuits, and clean-up — as well as internal: the time, money, and effort sunk into producing the content, as well as the risk of creators losing their jobs.
Did You Know?
A cyberlocker is a third-party file-sharing service that provides password-protected cloud storage. While legitimate services like Dropbox and SHIFT are useful for the transfer of files with friends and coworkers, cyberlockers can also be a convenient and anonymous way of sharing copyrighted content like large movie and music files. According to former Paramount Pictures COO Frederick Huntsberry, “cyberlockers now represent the preferred method by which consumers are enjoying pirated content.”
The solution: SafeStream watermarking
Now, there’s a simple and secure way to get ahead of leaks before they start: SafeStream watermarking.
We created SafeStream four years ago to secure pre-release content on Screeners.com, now a favorite of industry veterans. In 2019 alone, 281 networks used SafeStream to protect more than 12 million minutes worth of pre-release content, including 3,824 shows and movies.
Al Perry, VP of intellectual property protection at AMC Networks, has said that, “Watermarking is an effective deterrent,” especially when the feature is designed to be “convenient, not costly in terms of resources or time or money.” Here at SHIFT, we prioritize user experience right alongside security.
Indeed, SafeStream is the only real-time content-security technology of its kind. It burns a personalized, traceable watermark with visible and/or invisible user data onto each video. The visible watermark ensures people know they’re getting a personalized copy, so they’re less likely to mishandle the content. The forensic watermark — the invisible tracking — is for accountability; it helps you trace leaks back to the source. Used together, visible and forensic watermarks can act as insurance for your video content.
How SafeStream works
SafeStream is simple to use in SHIFT. Administrators and Project owners can create custom watermark templates with the viewer’s name, email address, and any custom text. These watermarks apply at the project level so that any time a video within that project is played or shared, the viewer’s info gets encoded onto the file. The visual watermark discourages viewers from sharing it in unauthorized ways, and the forensic tracking ensures that every copy of the video can be tracked to its viewer.
Additional security measures
If security is a top priority for your organization, administrators can enforce watermarking across the workspace, apply forensic watermarking, and enforce the use of specific watermarking templates.
SHIFT also makes it easy for administrators to track SafeStream usage. You can purchase SafeStream minutes in buckets and track compliance across the workspace by viewing the number of watermarked minutes used on any project.
SafeStream is available as a premium feature in any SHIFT account. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.