Current Cybersecurity Disaster Is an Industry Call to Action (Guest Blog)

Content protection CEO calls for more strenuous efforts to protect intellectual property

A photo illustration depicts a person typing May 4, 2001 in Denver, CO. Technology (Getty Images)
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The latest Hollywood disaster epic has pushed cybersecurity and piracy issues to the top of the entertainment industry’s agenda.

The massive cybersecurity attack (or is it terrorism?) is a powerful call to action for the industry’s leadership to develop strategic initiatives against a common foe. The breach — the second to rock Hollywood in the past six months — has forced us to focus as never before on effective methods to mitigate the risks posed to our most valuable resources: our people and our intellectual property.

In the face of these extraordinary, headline-grabbing circumstances, now is the time to come together to address the many threats to the economic livelihood of one of the world’s most important business sectors.

Among these threats is that every big feature film and television series produced today may be easily and freely available via pirate channels to every Internet user worldwide within days of its release. And, equally disturbing, people who would otherwise be happy to pay to see it find it simply too easy to watch pirated versions.

Having long grappled with how to best protect their intellectual property, content providers turned to technological, legal and educational approaches to combat piracy after regulatory attempts failed. Very smart, dedicated technology professionals at the major studios have devoted many years of hard work to developing digital content protection standards to safeguard movies, and they remain on constant guard.

The sad reality, however, is that we all live in a post-privacy technological society where nothing is safe or secret anymore, whether it is highly confidential and private employee information, business secrets or valuable intellectual property. With this latest attack, it is apparent that we are all in the same leaky boat.

To be sure, no security protocol is bulletproof, but we owe it to our colleagues, our shareholders and our partners to have no failure of imagination in how to protect our assets against these emerging threats. It will take the steady hands of industry leaders to remain focused on this pressing issue long after the news cycle predictably turns to the next major disaster.

With this in mind, I believe there must be a dedicated industry effort to combat illegal actions that effect everyone working in the entertainment industry in one way or another. In that regard, I have begun initial conversations with our industry’s leadership to join me in forming a committee and begin a dialogue to explore solutions to this every growing and dangerous problem. I am encouraged by the expressions of interest I have received to date.

When the final chapter of this saga is written, my hope is that Hollywood will emerge stronger in protecting its most valuable assets from these new threats.

Then, we can say that something good came out of something really bad.

Verance Corporation is a global developer of technologies and solutions that protect and enhance the use of media content.