Is Streaming the Future of Online Piracy?

Variety reports that the ecosystem of online copyright infringement is evolving from downloading to streaming as a means of distributing pirated content, according to a new report from the Digital Citizens Alliance, a self-described “coalition of consumers, businesses, and Internet experts focused on educating the public and policymakers on the threats people from all walks of life face on the Internet.”  A shift from downloading to streaming has many potential ramifications for digital copyright enforcement, which has historically been based on the ability to trace infringing files back to a specific location, such as a server or personal computer.  In order to detect infringing content by that means, the content has to be stored on a more than a transitory basis (i.e., downloaded).  A streaming model, by contrast, delivers content in an ephemeral manner, and does not require a transfer of content from one location to another—when a stream ends, the content simply disappears.  An additional issue with streaming is that the streaming location can easily be moved to a different server, or even a hacked server operated by an unwitting third party.  Both of these issues understandably make tracing and enforcement efforts more difficult, and can implicate innocent third parties that are unknowingly trafficking infringing content from their hacked computers.  Read the full article here.

 By Gmaxwell (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

By Gmaxwell (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Reposted from Variety.