Big Data drives down pirate cinema recording
September 10, 2013
The UK’s Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) is using IBM Big Data intelligence analytics software to help combat piracy of intellectual property (IP) among its members. The IBM technology has helped FACT increase access to better intelligence and improves efficiency in identifying individuals and organisations that create and distribute fraudulent, copyright-infringing content in all forms.
Established in 1983, FACT is dedicated to protecting the IP of its members, working with industry partners and law enforcement bodies worldwide. Members of FACT include global and UK film distributors, TV broadcasters and sport rights owners.
FACT’s access to better intelligence through the IBM Big Data intelligence analytics software has virtually eliminated illegal in-cinema recordings in the UK, with only one such recording in the past two years. Previously, more than 90 per cent of the counterfeit versions of movies originated from a copy recorded in a cinema. This has led to more prosecutions of those responsible for the capturing, copying, sharing and selling of illegal pirated copies of audio-visual media.
According to a report published by Oxford Economics and commissioned by Respect for Film, the audio-visual sector loses more than £500 million in the UK each year because of copyright theft. Fraud of this scale has significant economic impact on an industry that supports 1.9 million jobs in the UK and accounts for more than eight per cent of GDP.
FACT has used IBM Big Data intelligence analytics software since 2005 when it replaced a system of managing large volumes of data in spreadsheets. With an intelligence-led approach, data analysts at FACT can now quickly establish patterns and relationships, and make non-obvious connections between disparate sources of data.
In one such case in 2012, surfthechannel.com was running a massive pirate movie website. At its peak, surfthechannel.com was the 514th most visited website in the world, providing access to more than 5,000 pirated films and TV programmes. The value of sales lost to the film industry was estimated at up to £198 million.
FACT analysts, using IBM Big Data intelligence analytics software, were able to access publicly available chat logs, forum messages and other generally available data. Using a visual mapping illustration of the data, FACT identified non-obvious links between the various data trails, which in turn assisted with identifying the culprit. Based on FACT’s work, the owner of the site was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud.
“Our role in successfully detecting and targeting those involved in crimes that impact our members requires the ability to foresee and be aware of the technological changes that occur constantly,” said Keith Byrne, Intelligence Manager at FACT. “The IBM technology is vital to our work at FACT and enables us to better protect our members’ valuable creative intellectual property.”
In recent years, FACT has witnessed a significant shift away from the distribution and sale of infringing film content in DVD format to digital pirating through downloads, file-sharing and streaming.
“FACT is a tenacious and professional organization, respected by law enforcement and the judiciary,” said Lavinia Carey, Director General, British Video Association. “They have the skills and the tools to tackle the online piracy landscape in the UK just as successfully as they did with physical sales.”
“Providing access to better intelligence can greatly assist in detecting and targeting those involved in crimes of this nature,” said Shaun Hipgrave, Intelligence Analytics Executive, IBM. “Our clients are able to make use of IBM technology as a valuable tool in the fight against fraud.”