At the depth of 5 «what for»: what the practitioners were talking about at the conference on fighting content theft

24 September 2019, 17:18

On September 17, in the framework of Kyiv Media Week 2019, the conference “Fighting piracy in Ukraine: 5 “what for” and the results of the fight against content theft” was held. 

Why does the copyright holder need this? — the industry responded to that: StarLightMedia, Star Media and Global Images Ukraine. At first, speakers agreed that copyright protection was vital for business. “I do not understand how the copyright holder may not want to fight piracy! It is economically viable, and this is the future. If we don’t defend our own, they will simply take it, for free,” said Nikolai Faengold, Commercial Director of Digital & Pay TV, StarLightMedia television group.

Then they turned to the specifics. Nikolai invited all copyright holders to contact Dmitry Levin, head of the Content Monitoring Center at Digital & Pay TV StarLightMedia. The Center is committed to daily monitoring on the Internet of copyright holders content belonging to the clients of the Center, placed without their permission, and also taking measures to combat thieves. “Dmitry gives free advice on how to track down pirates,” Nikolai promised, “Public instructions for each action that the copyright holder may need to protect his content are available on the Clear Sky Initiative website Any employee can handle this!” The fact that Dmitry has experience is confirmed by the results of the StarLightMedia television group over the past 12 months: they blocked the theft of content at 236 sites. By their request, 16,168 links to pirated content were removed from Google search results. 261 thousand illegal videos were removed from sites, and 6155 — from social networks. Another confirmation of the copyright owner’s performance — 1+1 Media removed 25130 videos from sites, video hosting sites and social networks and 4232 links to pirated content from the Google search engine. 

Also, Nikolai Faengold told how any copyright holder can earn immediately and return the costs for all additional employees. And how much advertising inventory — and money — the Internet monitoring and the creation of own video network brought to the holding.

“The fight against piracy is beneficial for the copyright holder,” confirms Alexei Shuldeshov, general producer of TV channels, STAR MEDIA. He shared the company's experience in removing illegal content. Over a million links were blocked or removed from search engines during 6 years of this fight and, as a result, an increase in the monetization of the archive library on YouTube by 30-40% happened. We must also give credit to this copyright holder: Star Media’s expertise and practical skills in protecting its intellectual property rights allowed them to provide these services to other production studios. “Over time, we got access to many large pirate sites with administrator rights. — Alex shared life hack. — Plus, we quickly block illegal content on social networks. It takes an average of 4-5 months to “clean” our partner’s library on the Internet, remove links and pirate distributions. The next step is to keep it clean.” It’s convenient, admit it.

Getty Images Ukraine Sales Director Kirill Matvienko shared his pain, which is not peculiar to film and television producers. For news agencies, the main problem is misunderstanding by online media of the simple fact: news photos also have an owner! According to Kirill, 95% of Ukrainian online media do not care about getting permission to publish illustrations for the news. The main thing for them is to release it faster! But there is a way out. “Having entered “Clear Sky” Initiative, we were surprised to find out how efficiently blocking cash flows works in favor of violators of intellectual property rights,” said Kirill Matvienko, referring to the partnership with advertisers that has already been worked out by “Clear Sky”. “Now we have plans to block the pages of violators in social networks.”

Why should advertisers and other businesses respect copyrights? — answered Elena Andrienko, chief lawyer of the advertising holding Publicis Group. Elena spoke of collective trust, and pragmatic reasons to raise it. Because this means a reduction in reputation risks for business, a decrease in the chances of buying counterfeit products for consumers, and an improvement of the country's image on the international level. So again we run into “how?” — the practitioners who gathered at the conference were interested in just that. “There are documentary inconveniences of buying rights — payment is required by non-residents and/or bank cards, supporting documents are not provided. Contracts by large photo banks are offered without the possibility of making changes. But we are also a large company, and we have our own network policies and the requirements of our customers.” Elena shared her experience about how difficult it is sometimes to find out who owns the rights to music and video, and having learned it, it might turn out that these persons are not represented in Ukraine. “The reasonableness of pricing also raises questions,” the lawyer took a step in that direction.

«Why should the Ukrainian state fight piracy?» was presented by Valery Zhaldak, director of the Intellectual Property Department of the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture. Valery recalled that, according to the law, state bodies carry out law enforcement actions only at the request of the copyright holder. The initiative and support for the process should come from them (and comes) . The hall’s reaction was triggered by a report of Valery Zhaldak that the new version of the law on copyright and related rights was considering the possibility of stipulating responsibility for the legality of distribution of the content by all parties involved, including Internet providers. (Advertisers are responsible for financing piracy today). Tatyana Popova, Head of the Council of the Telecom Chamber of Ukraine, suggested that, in this case, providers and operators should have been instructed to monitor traffic, “actually censoring”. And although the issue of separating the blocking of access to stolen content and blocking access by reasons of censorship should not be complicated, since there is a simple subject — the author, the owner of the rights to the content — and only he can block it (at his request). Then for providers there may also occur  technical difficulties. To this Valery said that the project was still under discussion, and it would be very important to have the arguments of all interested parties in order to develop the most effective working law.

The international “why” was explained by Dace Kotzeva, executive director of the Latvian Association “For Legal Content”. According to gemiusAudience in Latvia, as of August 2019, about 1 million Internet users (PCs) visit legal online video services every month (the population of Latvia is 1.9 million inhabitants). Of these, 64.5% are on YouTube, 6.25% - on Google Play and 5.78% - on Netflix. Dace said how shocking the indicators of media piracy had been in 2015, when their organization began to work. And also, how several state institutions learned to agree on joint actions, and how they had to teach police to protect content on the Internet. A very lively resonance was caused by the case against the large pirated OTT service: the fight had already entered its final stage. Next week they plan to block the service in Latvia both at the domain name level and at the traffic level. 

Finally, the last “Why?” was about the end user. About this, and how the customer’s ideas about stolen content are evolving, told the discussion moderator Kateryna Fedorova, director of the “Clear Sky Initiative” Public Union. Kateryna presented a report on Gemius research “Analysis of general trends of the knowledge and use of online video services”. “The great news is,” said Kateryna, “that the willingness of users to pay for legal content has noticeably increased! And also the number of those who do not consider it necessary to fight theft of content has almost halved.”

Concluding the conference, Kateryna Fedorova warmly thanked everyone for their attention and urged everyone — both Internet viewers and business representatives — to continue to change the situation with the theft of intellectual property in Ukraine. As Elena Andrienko said in her speech: “In any case, we are talking about the co-evolution of all market participants, and we are all not only observers, but also active participants in this process!”

See you at the conference of “Clear Sky” next year.