Restricting Access to Digital Content

Digital content piracy in music, e-books, training courses and reports is a growing concern for publishers and creators alike. These days, a file can easily be duplicated and disseminated, with virtually no remedy for those struck by the larceny. One of the most significant concerns in this area is the fact that technology is continuously evolving to work around stealing digital files and circumventing the technology that is protecting ownership.

This is why it is critical for individuals involved in the digital publishing supply chain to be cognisant of practical ways in securing their valuable creations. Here, we look at the several mechanisms available that can restrain the threat piracy presents to intellectual property creators.

Implementing copyright protection laws

Although copyright is not a technical mechanism, and does not provide any functionality to forbid the access or duplicate original content physically, its presence is sufficient to prevent any casual pirate from attempting to steal original work. Copyright also lays the basis for any legal refuge the owner of the content may have should the culprit be apprehended.

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It is extremely simple to copyright a book. The majority of the protection that copyright offers is that it begins from the day the creator starts the work until the time it is finished. However, to take complete benefit of the entire spectrum of security that copyright offers, it is essential that copyright be registered. Registering copyright can provide substantial advantages. These include:

  • It is an added layer of a barrier for any person who may already be concerned with the legality of their activities
  • An offender can be sued on copyrighted content
  • Under specific conditions, one can receive statutory damages besides the restoration of lost income and legal bills.
  • Storing original works securely

When digital assets are held on a web server, it can become vulnerable to web crawlers scouring the Internet looking for files with specific extensions to copy. When these files are located, they become accessible to search engines, and in some cases can betaken by pirates looking for valuable data to steal and copy. The most effective ways of preventing the theft of stored digital content are to:

  • Place the files inside encrypted, password-protected zip archives
  • Prevent the material from being located or crawled by search engines
  • Making use of content recognition applications

To prevent the appropriation of material, artists and publishers in the visual arts space can regularly perform a reverse image search with online content recognition tools readily available on the Internet. Uploading files onto the tool’s search interface, the creator can locate all websites that have published the image online. Although this appears to offer a reactive approach, it does not provide functionality or prevent the photos from being used. However, it does offer a form of recourse, and if copyright exists on the original image, legal action can be taken.

Using social DRM to create accountability

A new and growing method to prevent piracy is to integrate social media profiles of the individual who has purchased the content and use the credentials as a watermark into the original work. When the work, usually an e-book, is found available on pirated websites, the source of illegal distribution can easily be identified. This method is highly effective in providing the purchasers of digital media the incentive not to replicate or disseminate content that they have paid for, as their credentials will be available to all who have downloaded the file.

Implementing expiry dates

Certain rights management systems provide publishers with thealternatives of having the book expire after a predetermined period. This method can considerably cut down the risk of illegal replication and dissemination. Simply put, after a specified time, a reader’s copy is revokedand they can no longer have access to it. This system can be highly effective for virtual libraries.

Piracy is a growing industry that is causing concern to thousands of artists across the world. With billions of dollars stolen from content creators, it is imperative to choose a method to protect your content from being pirated. Collaborating with a DRM solutions provider can help in staying ahead of the competition and preventing piracy.

Preventing content from being copied

In some cases, visible content on a device is enough to replicate it, even if the source file is not available. Content thieves accomplish this by selecting all the text visible in the file format, copying it and pasting it into a new blank file that can be renamed and packaged differently as a reproduction of the original work. However, this piracy technique can also be thwarted by preventing the standard function of copying and pasting before uploading the content online.