Sound Protection

Report shows ways to prevent piracy—and make money

Digital copy protection remains a priority for the TV industry, from the smallest cable operator to the largest telco giant. The challenge, according to a new report from Digital Tech Consulting, The Business of Digital Copyright, isn't preventing piracy but enabling new business models and revenue streams while keeping piracy under control. DTC President Myra Moore discussed the report with B&C's Ken Kerschbaumer.

What finding was most surprising?

What surprised us the most was how much growth there will be in rights management of mobile content for handheld devices. It will really be dramatic, as the number of mobile devices that are capable of storing content will grow from about 69 million in 2005 to 311 million in 2009.

But isn't most of that content fairly secure because the phones can't offload it?

Well, that will probably change as people start doing things like downloading songs to their cellphones and then wanting to dock the phone to their computer and burn a CD or store it on the PC.

So then, what's being done to secure that content?

There are a couple of things. Microsoft, of course, has its mobile digital-rights-management (DRM) solution. But more importantly, the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) has developed an industry standard for DRM. It's still in version 1.0, but it's already been adopted by companies like Nokia and Motorola.

What's your take on the recent Supreme Court ruling that said peer-to-peer networking companies can be held liable if their users distribute copyrighted content?

I think it gives the content providers another tool to try and curb piracy. So they'll feel a little more empowered. As for the peer-to-peer providers, I think the ones who are in a position to be sued will adapt to the new environment and start using DRM technology to register songs and content so they can be protected.

Do legal services, like iTunes, help prevent piracy?

Yes. We think that offering a legal alternative is important because most people would rather get content legally than illegally. It's also important that the service is elegantly designed, easy to use and provides added value.

Do you think there will ever be a DRM solution that completely prevents piracy?

The folks who own the content obviously want it to be as secure as possible. But it would be unrealistic to believe that there is a magic bullet that will make content 100% secure.