Disney + has just filed a new patent which describes a sophisticated system for delivering films to cinemas based on a Blockchain, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. The delivery of films before their theatrical release is a weak link often exploited by pirates. With the new system, Disney + will be able to prevent the films from being played before the scheduled date or in places other than the one designated. It will also be possible to count the number of reads in a tamper-proof manner, to prevent these contents from being copied clandestinely, even after their official release.
At the risk of taking an analogy with the Lion King, we can say that Disney is a bit of the “Simba” of the industry. The firm generates a huge turnover thanks to its cult content fund, its original productions, its various research projects and, more recently, its own streaming platform, and has no real competitor to cut down. The influence of the company continues to grow, including beyond what we generally know Disney for (Disney Research Studios is developing projects around artificial intelligence, robotics, augmented computing, etc.) and ultimately the only real threat Disney faces in 2021 is piracy.
In this area, the Disney studios are rather at the forefront. A team is developing new solutions internally and Disney is part of the anti-piracy coalition in search of standards to fight the problem more effectively. This team of researchers has just filed a new patent that describes a new delivery system for films in cinemas based on blockchain technology – the same that secures payments in Bitcoin and Ethereum. Disney is tackling a weak link in its supply chain.
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Disney + wants more control over the delivery of films to theaters
The films are in fact delivered to cinemas a little before their release. Copies often take place at this time – hackers just need to have the right connections. Mechanisms supposed to protect the copy are already integrated into films delivered to cinemas, but the technology currently used, watermarking, is no longer sufficient. “This type of security mechanism is too often corrective rather than preventive. For example watermarking setups insert a watermark on the content to track piracy once this piracy has already taken place ”, details Disney.
Conversely with a secure blockchain system, the distribution process can be controlled more closely since, as Disney points out in its patent: “the blockchain can verify that the content is received at the agreed location before authorizing the reading of the content at its destination“. Disney adds that it is possible to add other anti-piracy devices. For example put a tamper-proof counter which makes it possible to check that a film is only read an authorized number of times.
“The blockchain setup has an automated auditing mechanism that tracks content read at destination to ensure that the amount of reads is reliably recorded. Thus, such a system prevents pirating by the legitimate recipient of the content in the form of a number of reads greater than the number of reads reported ”, continues Disney. As a reminder, what secures Blockchain technology is its decentralized dimension.
Disney’s blockchain will not be able to do anything against pirating of its streaming content
The blockchain system indeed implies that the data related to the items listed there are encrypted and recorded on many machines, greatly complicating any hacking attempt. Such a system is unlikely to be in place for other aspects of the Disney + delivery chain. Indeed, in addition to cinemas, its own streaming servers, and the delivery of content to competing platforms under agreements, the system seems ill-suited to the fight against internet film piracy.
Nothing currently prevents hackers from copying streaming content by simply capturing the video stream from streaming platforms. and more and more pirated content is found on the net. It is also not yet known if or when Disney will implement this new system. The firm files a number of patents each year without all of them leading to concrete achievements.