In an ideal Digital Rights Management (DRM) world, it would be possible to place Content Protection Agents in all pirate networks, that would then act to detect and identify pirated material.

This would mean rapid detection wherever piracy occurs. However, it’s wildly impractical to try and infiltrate  online piracy networks for any single player – the scope is just too large.

But what if everyone could be a piracy detection agent? What if it were possible to turn every single pirate in every network into a potential content rights protection informant?

That’s exactly what we do.

Custos uses blockchain technology to create a decentralised network of global agents that detect and identify pirated material.

How Custos uses Forensic Watermarks to Protect Digital Content

Revenue lost to online piracy will nearly double between 2016 and 2022 to hit at least $51.6 billion, according to 2017’s Online TV Piracy Forecasts report.

Depending which market film and television producers and distributors operate within, anywhere between 20 and 60% of pre-release screener content will be leaked online.

We’ve Successfully Reduced Piracy from 60% to 0.06%
using Decentralised Detection and the Power of Blockchain

We’ve recently proven blockchain technology’s ability to take movie piracy down to zero, in markets we’ve entered in North America, Japan, India, the United Kingdom, and South Africa.

Using Blockchain Tech for Digital Asset Management & Content Security

Custos’s flagship product is its blockchain-based, patented watermarking technology, available as an API integration service for digital content protection.

Clients who wish to protect video, audio, eBooks, or documents can integrate with Custos’ API to register, assign, and monitor media items – with minimal impact on their existing workflow.

The API provides a simple way to protect digital content, without resorting to hard DRM technologies. It achieves this by imperceptibly marking each copy of a video entrusted to a recipient, for example, with a unique, imperceptible watermark that directly identifies the recipient, should that content be leaked online.

The team at Custos also constantly scans the public web and dark web for protected content that could be leaked, and cultivates a community of “bounty hunters” that can find pirated content in the hard-to-reach corners of the internet, notifying us of infringements by claiming the cryptocurrency bounties embedded in the patented watermarks.

Deterring leaks is what the technology is intended to do. The fact that it adds tracking technology to each copy is meant to instil a credible threat of detection on any would-be pirate.

“Zero leaks from over 140,000 movies exceeded even our own expectations about how effective the technology would be. Our main market is for pre- or early release movies, where you expect between 20–60% of titles leaked.  We effectively stopped early-stage piracy.”
– Fred Lutz, Custos COO

In June 2018, various white-labeled versions of Custos’ VOD archiving and distribution platform (hosted on AWS infrastructure and deployed across four continents) had collectively protected over 180,000 screener copies from the risk of movie piracy – through only the threat of decentralised leak detection, using blockchain-based tracking technology.

Decentralised detection is the final part of the puzzle that has been lacking to make social DRM effective. Without decentralised detection, global coverage is not possible. Without global coverage, there is no credible threat of detection.

There are other watermarking technologies, and Custos even uses some of those in its process, depending on the media type, but none of them uses cryptocurrencies and the anonymity of blockchain-based technology to solve the leak detection problem. In that sense, Custos is offering a unique value proposition to clients: the technology can detect leaks quickly and cheaply, using a decentralised detection model.

Custos is the first company in the world to use blockchain technology to catch a pirate red-handed.

This is big news both to the blockchain and media industries.

Our team is currently scaling in the film industry, and has started pilots in the ebook and document protection markets. If you’re interested in using our technology to protect your digital media assets (video, audio, pdfs, eBooks or sensitive documents) from copyright infringement or unlawful sharing of any kind, contact Custos today.

This post is an excerpt from our latest whitepaper, Why Watermarking is not Enough: How Blockchain Technology can be Used to Stop Online PiracyClick here to download your free copy today.