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CDSA Speakers: Messaging Will be Key to Stopping Piracy

12 Dec, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — It may sound odd, but seatbelts and content piracy have something in common, according to Alex Kochis, founder of intellectual property company FiveBy.

In 1983, nine years after wearing seatbelts became mandatory in the United States, only 11% of people were actually using them. By 2010 that number was 85%, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. What changed? Well, remember the commercials with the talking crash test dummies?

“It was messaging; it was marketing,” Kochis said Dec. 12 at the Content Protection Summit (CPS), a day-long affair produced by the Content Delivery and Security Association (CDSA). “How do you drive large-scale behavior change? We need to find a message that resonates with them.”

Kochis, conference chair of the CPS, said there are four areas of piracy that the industry needs to focus on: counterfeiting, re-distribution, casual and ideological. The former two are primarily criminal, for-profit endeavors where “a lot of progress has been made in … the last few years.” Look no further than the shutdowns of sites like MegaUpload and HotFile. But the latter two are primarily cultural — one believes they’re doing nothing wrong, the other considers free content a right — and they’re harder to combat.

“This is about what everyday people believe … and that’s where the ultimate challenge will lie,” Kochis said. “There are deep-seeded beliefs here.”

Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer of “The Walking Dead” and co-writer of The Terminator, said it’s the casual fans streaming or downloading content for free that give her the most concern. “Fans want content immediately, and they’re voracious,” she said. “[And] I don’t think it’s going away.” Casual fans stealing content have no idea the impact they have on the creators of the content, she said, something James Dunkelberger, chairman of the CDSA and GM of product release and security services for Microsoft, agreed with.

“The better we do our jobs as content protection professionals, the better the world becomes,” he said. “[But] it’s an extremely expensive proposition to protect content and fight all the pirates.”

Mark Lobel, principal of advisory practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers, shared data showing information security budgets are rising among corporations his firm surveyed, with security budgets averaging $4.3 million a year, a remarkable 51% increase from 2012. However, that still only represents 3.8% of total IT spending, he said.

And security incidents are on the rise, Lobel added: this year there was a 25% jump in detected security incidents over 2012, with 24% of those surveyed reporting loss of data over the incidents (up 16% from 2012).

Lobel noted the irony for the entertainment industry when it comes to security protection: “The people we’re trying to stop are also the people we’re trying to generate revenue [from].”

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