Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Why dynamic piracy detection remains an urgent issue for brands and rights owners

By Damien Bidmead, Head of Marketing, White Bullet Solutions

As the piracy market evolves rapidly, White Bullet’s Damien Bidmead, looks at how to combat traditional website piracy and emerging threats and how rights holders protect their content and brands from advertising on unsafe websites and apps.

How to tackle the digital piracy issue head-on 

White Bullet has been developing and streamlining the Intellectual Property Infringement platform (IPIP) to do just this. It opens up routes to disruption by connecting rights owners and the advertising industry with real-time data about piracy risk so all parties can take action to stop funding piracy. Taking advantage of this is critical, as digital advertising is a significant revenue stream for digital piracy.

The importance of disrupting ad-funded piracy

Much like herd immunity, the more intermediaries in the ad supply chain that pick up the reigns and inject piracy risk data into their protocols, the less pirate publishers will generate from digital advertising. That is a hard stop to money-making and happens to protect brand reputation, and ad spend simultaneously. For rights owners, it means that stolen content is making less money for pirates. All it takes is a commitment to use IPIP’s API to access up to date data. 

Brands need to be aware that pirate publishers are highly dynamic. A website can change its domain in a matter of days to avoid enforcement. Any system relying on static lists or build-up of take-down requests from rights owners will be ineffective. Only real-time data has a genuine impact on ad-supported piracy. Many programmatic ad companies recognise this need for integrating real-time data. Whilst it’s happening already, we expect a higher uptake over the next year as brand safety becomes more sophisticated on a programmatic level. 

Protecting brands from the negative association with risky websites and content

When addressing this issue, it’s essential to understand the profile of a “risky” website first and foremost. Companies and institutions are often stung by sweeping assumptions and over-blocking, which, as we all know, can be a problem when dealing with websites and apps. 

Our platform looks for IP infringing content, examines each infringement’s context, and analyses technical and financial support provided to pirates to determine structural violation on a commercial scale. IPIP provides accurate piracy risk scores based on this analysis. By applying such nuanced data, brands can be confident that their ads rarely reach compromising websites, but still display on websites that work for them as they can choose the level of risk they deem acceptable.

Showing IP rights owners the impact of their enforcement against pirate websites and apps

We harvest a lot of data from billions of websites and over 50 app stores worldwide about content, popularity, the cost of advertising, the type of advertising, the intermediaries involved, who the ad belongs to and so on. This data is analysed every day and put through the “grinder” to provide risk scores based on the criteria mentioned above. AI and machine learning take the strain here. What comes out of this protocol is the data provided to advertising companies and the various reports and custom analytics dashboards enjoyed by our clients and partners.

IPIP is not just a conduit for data. It is also a fully formed analytics platform that enables rights holders to focus on priority targets for enforcement and see the financial impact of their efforts on the pirate universe.

It’s an exciting time for the ad industry because it’s the first time that we can put aside static lists of pirate websites. The web does not stand still, and neither do pirates. Rights owners have been on the hunt for a tool like IPIP for a very long time and although the digital advertising community has a journey still ahead, dealing with the dynamic universe of piracy on its terms feels like a giant, confident stride forward.