Custos Media Technologies – the first and only company in the world to use blockchain technology to catch copyright infringers of premium content – will be exhibiting their turnkey security solutions at the NAB Show 2019. Visitors to NAB booth N2735 will have the opportunity to chat to CEO G-J van Rooyen about how Custos combines patented blockchain technology with forensic watermarking to pioneer the future of Digitial Rights Management (DRM) and content security.

Decentralized Leak Detection: The Missing Piece of the DRM Puzzle

Media distribution is broken.

“Movies, ebooks, software – all are distributed using a paradigm from the 20th century: that the content owner has, for the greater part, control over who receives the content, and that unlicensed duplication and distribution is difficult and rare enough to be managed,” explains van Rooyen. 

“The cornerstone of this paradigm is intellectual “property”, because physical property has these properties of controlled distribution and costly duplication. However, in the 21st century, this concept has become dangerously broken. Large and expensive digital media assets are copied with impunity, and distributed globally. Media creators have little recourse once files are shared on the internet, because the prolific sharing of pirated content happens largely anonymously, and often outside jurisdictions where owners can enforce media rights. Custos was created to solve this problem.”

Using a patented combination of blockchain technology and forensic watermarking, Custos embeds cryptocurrency bounties within watermarks of media files. 

At their same time, their global network of bounty hunters are scanning both the public and dark web for pirated copies of premium content – in order to claim the crypto bounties as a reward. 

When a bounty hunter finds a pirated copy of premium content online, he extracts the reward, thus creating a visible and trackable transaction on the blockchain – alerting Custos that a copy of one of their clients’ content assets has been leaked online. 

Custos can then alert the media owner not only of the leak, but also of its exact origin – thus allowing media rights owners to decentralize the search for those responsible for costly leaks, within their own distribution network. 

Flexible Deployment Solutions and API Integrations for Existing Content Distribution Workflows

Before Custos there were two approaches to fighting piracy. The first was the widely hated hard DRM that attempts to block people from copying media by restricting their access.

Unfortunately, all this technology has ever managed to do was to make the viewing experience worse for the user. A motivated pirate will always be able to crack these restrictions.

The other approach is forensic watermarking. Although forensic watermarking forms an essential part of the Custos technology stack, without blockchain tracking technology you need a team of people looking for your content online for it to be effective.

Even then, you cannot reach into the dark web where pirated content is disseminated from, like Custos can.

Neither of these solutions have proven to be effective at stopping piracy. Between 20 and 60% of movies were leaked prior to release, which posed an existential problem to smaller producers who didn’t even have access to the incumbent solutions.

By decentralizing the search for pirated content, Custos has made the prevention of piracy not only more effective, but also far easier for both medium and large media tech enterprises. 

Custos’s flagship product is its enterprise integration service for digital media protection. Clients who wish to protect video, audio, ebooks, or documents can easily integrate with Custos’s API to register, assign, and monitor media items – with minimal impact on their existing workflow. The online screener distribution tool, Screener Copy, is easily adapted an re-branded for custom use cases.

For example, a Tokyo-based client uses a white-labeled SaaS product for secure distribution of movie screeners to a network of buyers across Japan. Smaller movie producers typically do not have their own distribution platforms, and require a solution to replace less secure online video sharing services. Screener Copy is Custos’s SaaS service for independent film producers. A Screener Copy user can simply upload content, and nominate a list of recipients. Custos protection is added to each copy.

Finally: Affordable Forensic Watermarking (that Actually Works)

Forensic watermarking is quickly becoming ubiquitous in the industry, but it is not new. Because forensic watermarks do not have the requirement of being readable by humans, they have various valuable features:

  • They do not need to deteriorate the viewing experience.
  • They can be hard to detect for someone who wants to destroy it.
  • It is hard to know when a watermark has been destroyed.
  • They can be spread over the screen and frames

Integrating Custos’ patented, blockchain-based technology with other existing DRM tools will allow you to implement a “belt-and-braces” approach where you use watermarking to make casual copying of your content difficult, and can still catch any copyright infringers – all with the power of blockchain.

To date, Custos’ plug-and-play distribution solutions have protected over 260 000 films, e-books, and confidential documents from copyright infringement, using cryptocurrency ─ reducing piracy by 99.97% in markets across four continents.


Meet with Custos at the NAB Show In Las Vegas! April 8-11, 2019. Schedule your meeting today.