The American entertainment industry has a proven track record of producing blockbuster movies that generate hundreds of millions of dollars. It unquestionably dominates as the most lucrative global territory for content production and consumption – with box office receipts expected to continue growing 7 percent and video streaming 15 percent annually into 2019. By then, both sectors are anticipated to be valued at $12.6 billion, according to PwC, who also predicts that the US may remain the world No.1 in box office receipts until the start of the next decade.
This market size and growth, however – unsurprisingly and unfortunately – makes this landscape progressively susceptible to online video piracy.
Online video piracy has been – and continues to be – a charged, complex and divisive national debate. The American government and content owners work fiercely to combat content thieves, yet it’s not always a straightforward, overnight undertaking. Although the illegal file-sharing site KickAss Torrents was taken down mid last year, and its operator Artem Vaulin concurrently arrested for money laundering and infringing copyright of over $1 billion worth of pirated content over the last eight years, some of the site’s staffers regrouped to reincarnate it. Five years after the now-defunct file-sharing site Megaupload was seized and its founder Kim Dotcom was originally faced with 13 charges that range from wire fraud to allegations of conspiracy to commit racketeering, he now faces extradition to the United States.
And sometimes, promising efforts are thwarted in their tracks. Earlier this year, the Copyright Alert System – a program created to educate and penalize Internet users who engaged in unauthorized access and distribution of copyrighted works through peer-to-peer file sharing services – was halted four years after it was born.
Despite the roadblocks and challenges that can often lie ahead, the industry continues its fight against piracy undeterred. There is simply too much at stake.
Piracy not only impacts the revenues of content owners, but also affects the unsung, talented, hard-working individuals behind today’s box office hits. While the actors, directors, writers and producers are clearly impacted, so too are the camera operators, costume designers, makeup artists, visual effect engineers, location scouts, publicists, casting staff, lighting technicians, grips, sound mixers, art directors, set decorators and stunt coordinators. Today, 22 million of these influential creatives are working in the greater arts and entertainment industry in the United States. To maintain the imagination and innovation that has made US productions the most popular on the planet, we need to put the right solutions in place to protect creativity.
The American entertainment industry is in a position to win the war against tech-savvy pirates, and myself along with the rest of the NexGuard team are always keen to discuss the steps that can be taken to secure video content and protect the creativity that went in producing it.