This post was originally published on Medium, by Custos Tech’s COO, Fred Lutz.

In early 2016, we launched the first version of the online video distribution and anti-piracy product that is now called Screener Copy.

We needed a way to demonstrate the blockchain tracking technology that we developed at Stellenbosch University. The first version of Screener Copy had very basic functionality: Users could upload their movies, we would watermark it with the Custos tracking technology, and then send out the copies to the intended recipients. A lot of the services we provided back then relied on one of our engineers manually performing actions on the back end to get each copy watermarked and sent.

Our first pilot customer was Indigenous Film Distribution – the premier indie film distributor in South Africa. Indigenous Film Distribution has the pleasure to distribute Oscar-nominated movies like iNumber Number, critically acclaimed controversial movies such as The Wound, and globally successful animations such as Khumba. We were incredibly proud to have such a prestigious customer on our pilot program, and we are happy to report that they are still one of our favourite customers.

Since then, our customer base has grown rapidly, and Screener Copy has become a fully fledged product servicing filmmakers all over the world. Our customers are as far flung as India, the UK, US, Norway, Canada, Japan, Namibia, and Germany. The pilot watermarking was replaced with cutting edge imperceptible watermarks carrying our tracking technology, and a fancy new user dashboard makes recipient management and analytics a breeze.

This month, just about 2 years after sending our first screener, we have reached 100 000 copies sent, a big milestone for us! As luck would have it, it was a local title that was the 100 000th copy. We are incredibly proud to have helped our customers all over the world protect their content. And protect them we have.

Of the 100 000 copies that were sent, we have not had a single leak.

How’s that for effective?

Depending on what market you are in, between 20% and 60% of screener copies (early release copies of movies) are leaked. We have taken that down to zero in every market we have entered, all with the power of the blockchain.

Here’s to the next 100 000, and all the amazing and passionate filmmakers and distributors we love to serve.

UPDATE: Screener Copy’s Latest Product Update Set to Serve Filmmakers and Content Distributors, At Scale

Since its inception, Screener Copy has garnered international interest and gained steady momentum within a large market of filmmakers and media distributors starving for a solution designed both to help them get their films in front of the right people and protect their intellectual property.
For the uninitiated, Screener Copy’s long established itself as a pioneer in the content protection space owing to three of its core features:
  • FORENSIC WATERMARKING: Specially developed watermarking technology embeds an imperceptible blockchain-based tracer into each copy of a video that is sent out, allowing identification of the source of any leaked content.
  • TIERED DETECTION:  Screener Copy uses cryptocurrency bounties to incentivise a global network bounty hunters and online pirates to rat on one another, affording us unparalleled speed and breadth of detection – even if your content is leaked on the dark web.
  • DISTRIBUTION AND MANAGEMENT: Filmmakers and distributors all over the world are using Screener Copy’s advanced analytics dashboard to get their films to profit faster by tracking who watches what, and when, while relying on our patented blockchain protection technology to protect against profit-cutting online piracy.

Feedback from Screener Copy’s earliest users and investors? Wholly positive.

Jana Erasmus of Indigenous Films reported back how Screener Copy changed their team’s entire approach to getting their films in front of the right people, and Barry Silbert (CEO, Digital Currency Group) invested in Custos because of what he identified as “an innovative application of bitcoin technology to solve a problem that is very costly to content producers”.

Thanks to meaningful interactions with earliest customers from all over the world, we’ve recently launched Screener Copy 2.0.

Updated features include:

  • Bulk content editing ability
  • Enhanced forensic watermarking capabilities
  • Multi-tier content leak detection for even faster piracy notifications
  • A more streamlined user interface
  • Customisable meta-data fields
  • Third-party uploads for enterprise customers
If you’re keen to know more, or start a free Screener Copy trial and experience the future of content protection today, visit to get in touch.