NAB 2017: Digital Watermarking Alliance’s Oakes: Industry Needs Identifier Standard

LAS VEGAS — Implementing real-time watermark detection in content makers’ monitoring systems is crucial, according to cybersecurity and content protection experts who spoke at the Content Delivery and Security Association (CDSA) Cybersecurity and Content Protection Pavilion April 24, during the NAB Show in Las Vegas.

The industry desperately needs an open source watermark identifier standard, Graham Oakes, chairman of the Digital Watermarking Alliance and CEO of Media Science International, argued during the first panel discussion of the day, “Secure, Real-Time Watermark Detection for Effective Piracy Monitoring.” And that standard needs to be integrated into all distribution channels and should allow the source of piracy to be detectable within just a few seconds, he said.

Over-the-top (OTT) video has created a “perfect storm” for pirates, he said, telling attendees that effectively monitoring streamed media is one of the largest challenges facing content providers today. Streaming will continue its meteoric rise as one of the main means of content consumption, he predicted.

The monetization challenge, meanwhile, is “you can’t monetize what you can’t identify,” so it’s important to identify the source of piracy, he said. Content owners, as a result, are now asking themselves how – not whether – they should be executing a strategy to mitigate the impact of video piracy, he said.

Issuing Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notices remains a necessity, but that’s not sufficient to combat the problem and alone hardly represents a true strategy, he went on to say. Despite issuing those notices, illegal links to copyrighted content keep reappearing and “we have to keep removing those,” he noted. “But what have we actually learned?” from all these takedown notice actions, he asked rhetorically, pointing out that such actions typically don’t identify the actual sources of pirated content.

Only comprehensive forensic watermarking can identify the source of pirated content, he said, pointing out that watermarks are embedded by many different stake holders throughout the content distribution chain, including in pre-release movie screeners, digital cinema, set-top boxes and OTT services.

The music industry has been using watermarking longer than other forms of media, and that’s “reduced dramatically” the number of major incidents of music piracy, he said. But he conceded that eradicating piracy completely is difficult.

By using a watermarking strategy, the industry is also “going to be in a better position” to deal with new services including Facebook Live, Lawrence Low, VP of business development at Irdeto, said during the same session.

“The elephant in the room,” meanwhile, is the rise of “cracked” media players that offer the ability for people to view just about every live program – often even as it’s airing, Michael Gamble, product manager at Media Science International, said. It’s imperative that the industry shuts down the sources of piracy so content can never get to those cracked media players, he said.

The CDSA Cyber Security and Content Protection Pavilion program (C3830CS at the Las Vegas Convention Center) represented the NAB Show’s first dedicated cybersecurity forum.

Look for more coverage of the CDSA’s NAB Cyber Security and Content Protection Pavilion program at

Here’s a preview of what to expect during Tuesday’s program:

10:30 – 11 a.m. “Keynote: Seven Secrets of Defending Media Networks Against the Latest Cyber Threats”
Gary Miliefsky, CEO of SnoopWall and renowned cybersecurity guru, will offer up his thoughts on bulletproofing media networks against DDoS, ransomware, and spear fishing attacks.

11:05–11:25 a.m. “Embarking on a New Chapter of Copyright Protection – Whose Responsibility Is It?
Wendy Frank, global and U.S. copyright infringement leader for PwC, will speak to how while faster network speeds and improved media platforms have been a boon to digital distribution, the connected changes in the ability to distribute and store digital media have led to an increase in the infringement activity, where notification and action responsibilities are required on the part of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Online Service Providers (OSPs.). She’ll tackle the current and future liability of ISPs and OSPs when it comes to modern content protection.

11:30–11:50 a.m. “Creating Defensible Information Security Strategies”
Erik Rasmussen, managing director and North America cyber practice leader for Kroll Cyber Security, will share how senior executives, board members and senior IT professionals in the entertainment sector can create defensible security strategies to mitigate the results of cyber-related breach (covering reputation, legal, financial and compliance).

11:55 a.m.–12:15 p.m. “Security and Other Key Considerations for Migrating Graphics Workloads to the Cloud”
Mirela Cunjalo, senior product manager for Teradici, will offer a rundown on how using PCoIP technology can securely migrate graphics-intensive workloads and applications to the cloud, co-locate with data, and result in “workstation-like” performance.

1:30–2 p.m. “Securing the Making of the Next Hollywood Blockbuster”
Joel Sloss, program manager of security, privacy and compliance for Microsoft Azure, will share how one Academy Award-winning production company is streamlining data creation workflow to enhance filmmaker collaboration and business efficiency, while preventing exploits of its production and corporate secrets. Lulu Zezza, former New Regency production executive and founder of Three Zebra Solutions, will also join.

2:05–2:35 p.m. “Hollywood Hacks: Are Media and Entertainment Companies Ready for the Cybersecurity Challenge?”
Cyril Rickelton-Abdi, senior director of content security for Turner Broadcasting System, Denis Onuoha, CISO for Arqiva, and Miliefsky, CEO of SnoopWall, will discuss whether Hollywood studios have taken the proper, proactive steps to prevent future cyber-attacks, and whether there are still gaps in their defenses.

2:40–3:10 p.m. “Data Security and the Hard Outer Shell”
Insider threats and complex, distributed work environments have media and entertainment organizations focusing internally, monitoring access points to critical data within their organization, and securing data, according to Matt Turner, CTO of media and entertainment for MarkLogic. He’ll discuss the latest security practices being employed, including cyber situational awareness and advances in data management enabling organizations to protect their data at the source, without crippling the critical role that access to data plays.

3:15–3:45 p.m. “The FYI on ROI for Security: Developing a Risk Management Strategy”
Ramon Breton, CTO of 3rdi QC, and Mathew Gilliat-Smith, CEO of Fortium, will look at the ways companies (throughout the content creation chain) can address proper risk management strategies that fall in line with business objectives. Guy Finley, executive director of CDSA will moderate, and Joshua Berger, SVP of media management for AMC Networks will also weigh in.