Disney Patents Blockchain-Based Movie Distribution System To Stop Pirates

A few days ago, Disney added a new anti-piracy patent to its arsenal: a blockchain-based distribution system that aims to make it harder for pirates to intercept films being distributed to movie theaters. TorrentFreak reports: The patent in question, titled “Blockchain configuration for secure content delivery,” focuses on the distribution of content to movie theaters. This is a vulnerable process where pirates with the right connections can make copies during or after delivery. There are already several security mechanisms in place to prevent leaks from happening. Theaters have to adhere to strict rules, for example, and movies are all watermarked. Nevertheless, Disney believes that this isn’t sufficient to stop pirates. “[S]uch security mechanisms are often reactive rather than preventative. For example, watermarking configurations insert a watermark into content to track piracy after the piracy has already occurred. As a result, current configurations do not adequately prevent piracy,” the company explains.

Disney argues that by implementing a secure blockchain-based system, the distribution process can be more tightly controlled. Among other things, it will make it impossible for a movie to be played before it arrives at the intended location. “In contrast with previous configurations, the blockchain configuration verifies that the content is received at the intended destination prior to allowing playback of the content at that destination,” the patent reads.

The system can also be configured with other anti-piracy features. For example, it can track the number of times a movie is played to prevent bad actors from showing it more often than they should. “Further, the blockchain configuration has an automated auditing mechanism that tracks playback of the content at the destination to ensure that the quantity of playbacks is accurately recorded. Therefore, piracy by the intended recipient, in the form of a greater quantity of actual playbacks than reported playbacks, is prevented.’ While Disney regularly refers to movie theaters and projectors, it specifically states that the patent also applies to other ‘playback environments.’ For example, when Disney content is sent to other streaming providers, which will need the proper credentials to play the content. There are several possible practical implementations but whether Disney has concrete plans to use these in the real world is unknown.