Content Police Facing Insurmountable Odds

The number of instances of pirated content online reached 14 billion in 2012, up from 5.4 billion in 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported today (Monday), citing figures from antipiracy and security firm Irdeto. While each of the major media companies employs a staff of security specialists to monitor the Internet and dispatch take-down notices to offenders, It's like whack-a-mile, NBCUniversal content-security manager Andrew Skinner told the Journal. You knock off one and there are 50 more behind it. A reporter for the newspaper sat in as NBCUniversal's content cops monitored the Web following Thursday night's episode of Suits on USA Network, which is owned by NBCUniversal. Within two hours after the broadcast, it was available on nearly a thousand websites around the world with translations as varied as Bulgarian and Chinese. And while the content cops are able to use so-called crawlers to detect instances of pirate videos, they are simply outgunned when it comes to tracking their source. Many pirate sites employ their own security in the form of captchas, which require users to copy words or numbers on a distorted image in order to enter them, something crawlers are unable to do.


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