Fortium Security Measures Ward Off DVD Piracy
As award season gears up, so do concerns about piracy. Although many studios distribute password protected and expiring links to content, much of the voting public depend on DVDs to view nominated films. DVD screeners remain a controversial source for many studios. While they come with stern warnings against sharing or tampering with the discs, screeners have in the past been blamed as sources of piracy. In 2016, pirated copies of best picture nominees turned up on file-sharing sites it led to renewed calls for digital screeners.
Mathew Gilliat-Smith, CEO of Fortium, a company devoted to creating a variety of security tools used to safeguard pre-released entertainment content, says that studios have taken larger steps to stifle illegal copying. He notes that his company’s DVD content protection software Patronus was used in the production of screeners for seventy 2017 Oscar-hopeful films last season. According to newswire accounts, not one English-language movie screener copy appeared online during the festive period. “That included Oscar winners Hacksaw Ridge, Fences, Sing, La La Land, Fantastic Beasts, and Manchester By Sea” he says.
Fortium employs a team of programmers who are constantly updating the Patronus software to keep pirates at bay. “It’s a cat and mouse game between our team and the ripping programs,” he observes. “We’ll make an algorithm that frustrates them, then they will make their own routine to overcome it. We generally have a three to four-month lead time on them. By the time the discs begin to circulate in the public domain, we’re already onto our next update.” Gilliat-Smith adds that the lead time is especially important regarding screeners. By the time pirates can subvert a disc’s copy protection, the title has already been in theaters.
DVD manufacturers are currently busy filling studio orders for DVD screeners for their 2018 Oscar hopefuls, and many are using Patronus to ensure that the content doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. “DVD screeners remain a valid option,” says Gilliat-Smith. “There’s a misconception that all screeners leak but, in fact, they don’t. There are obviously no guarantees with any protection, but the security Fortium aims to provide is strong. If we have another year with no leaks in the festive period then Patronus will have contributed to a successful season for the studios.”
To learn more about Fortium, please visit: www.fortiumtech.com