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Hollywood, Piracy, & Secure Cloud Solutions

Posted by on Jun 4, 2013

As Hollywood struggles to stay ahead of the curve, the film industry increasingly turns to cloud computing. Cloud solutions give studios and production companies the leverage to fight back against digital pirating and early film leaks, which threaten to derail the entire film industry. And as Carole Di Tosti of Technorati writes, in regards to film making, “Cloud computing is enabling a revolution.”

Hollywood & the Cloud

Photo courtesy of DiscoverLosAngeles.com

There are many ways that the cloud is helping to save Hollywood. Through cloud computing services, media service providers can collaborate with massive digital files, from file conversions and encoding to secure media file storage. And such cloud services grant workers in the film industry greater flexibility and mobility, ensuring smoother workflow and better morale. As long as workers have adequate mobile devices and a strong Internet connection, partners can collaborate from anywhere in the world, with instant access to secure servers.

One popular way that filmmakers can tap into the digital shift is by offering encrypted streaming videos online to purchasers of DVDs. As it stands, the copyright laws surrounding encrypted DVDs is complex, often leaving consumers confused, leading to copyright breaches out of ignorance of the law. According to technology legal expert Maria Crimi Speth of Jaburg & Wilk, It is a violation of Copyright law, specifically the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), to circumvent the encryption of a DVD (or any technology). There are exceptions, but they do not include “space shifting.” The Library of Congress defines ‘space shifting’ as the copying of complete works to permit personal use on alternative devices. So, when you purchased your DVD, it was intended to be viewed on a DVD player and fair use laws do not extent that viewing to your non-DVD devices.”

FBI Warning

Image courtesy of FilmSchoolRejects.com

The only exceptions to this copy protection are for digital uploads of clips for non-commercial purposes, education, or to research or make players for the visually impaired, blind, deaf, and hard of hearing. Essentially, unless users make digital copies or uploads of protected DVD content for one of the exceptions listed above, any copy is a technical violation of the law. To circumvent the legal complications surrounding digital uploads and DVD copies, many movie fans have turned to the convenience of piracy and illegal streaming.

Two popular cloud services that have become recently caught up in the legal confusion surrounding film copyright laws are Dotcom and Megaupload. In a claim against the U.S., Dotcom’s lawyers state that Chris Dodd, the head of the Motion Picture Association of America, “openly threatened to withhold donations to Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign unless the administration took action against Hollywood’s perceived copyright threats…The US government acted illegally when it took down one of the world’s largest cloud storage services without any notice or chance for Megaupload to be heard in a court of law and by omitting exculpatory evidence in their submissions to the court…The result ignores substantial non-infringing uses of cloud storage and is both offensive to the rights of Megaupload and to the rights of millions of consumers worldwide, who stored personal data with the service.”

Film has gone digital

Image courtesy of LATimes.com

As the dust settles and litigators clear up the current legal conundrum surrounding film copyright law, studios and filmmakers can preempt the push towards illegal film uploads by offering secure streaming services with DVD purchases while heavily encrypting DVDs against download, a popular trend spreading quickly through the industry. Another way to secure films is by protecting films from piracy and leaks through fully private cloud storage.

Currently, the industry hasn’t tapped the total potential of secure cloud solutions. Filmmakers have used the cloud to analyze big data to predict major award winners as well as for file storage and transcoding, but security gaps still threaten studio profits. As two industry workers reveal, cloud storage and sharing services like Dropbox and Google Docs are already being utilized for projects. The problem with relying on such services is that they are not fully private, which leaves the door wide open to hacking and leaks.

Private Film Storage

For true privacy, only anonymous cloud storage and sync services like SpiderOak can provide all the convenience of the cloud while guarding against hacking and leaks. SpiderOak stands out from the crowded cloud market by offering complete data privacy and user anonymity. Through 256-bit AES encryption and two-factor password authentication, SpiderOak makes sure that videos, folder names, filenames, and passwords cannot be read or even accessed by SpiderOak and its employees.

As for two-factor authentication, this is just like banking and financial services that require a PIN or correct answer to a secret question as a precautionary measure. For SpiderOak, this means sending a private code through SMS along with the encrypted password to log in. Once logged in, filmmakers can store and sync films and clips with complete privacy, as SpiderOak has “zero-knowledge” of uploaded data and plaintext encryption keys. This means that the data encryption key for individual passwords is exclusively stored on each user’s computer. That way, every clip and bit of sensitive data is kept fully anonymous. SpiderOak’s services are available with Windows, Mac, and Linux desktop environments, along with Android and iOS mobile platforms, granting studios flexible and secure solutions to stay ahead in the digital age.

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