How to guard your digital content against piracy

By: Anna Sainsbury

Date: 8 May 2018

How to guard your digital content against piracyWhether you sell software, music, or designs online, it can be relatively easy for someone to steal your content. According to FACT's Cracking Down on Digital Piracy Report, it's estimated that intellectual property (IP) crime costs the UK economy £9bn annually.

Despite harsh sanctions, up to and including custodial sentences, for those who persistently copy and redistribute content, this isn't enough to dissuade many digital pirates.

While it can be difficult to locate the source of digital piracy, as fraudsters can hide their real location, it doesn't mean you shouldn't protect what's yours. Here are a few simple ways to protect your digital products from being copied and redistributed.

1. Require registration

The most basic, yet important start to protecting your digital goods is to require customers to register before downloading your product. Instead of giving customers immediate access to the download link of a product, they will need to log in with their account details first.

While this doesn't stop fraudsters distributing the link, it does make the process more tedious for those looking for free links. Logins also make it easier for you to track a fraudster down using location-based fraud detection, where users have attempted to hide their location in order to avoid being found.

2. Zip your files

If you're selling products that come in document format, such as PDF, they can easily be found through a search on Google, and converted to HTML for download and redistribution. By compressing your files using a simple platform such as WinZip, search engines are unable to crawl and then index the contents of your file, and will not use it as a search result.

In addition to this precaution, it is advised that the zip filename is not identical to the product name. This will make it even more difficult to find your product via search.

3. Code your products

Using licence coding software, where each product of yours is given a unique identifying code, offers strong protection. This type of protection is most often used by software companies, where customers only gain access to the products after they have paid and entered the licence key.

Coded products are known to be difficult to crack, and the licence may be suspended if you feel the user is acting illegally. Your content also cannot be copied and redistributed, as the licence key is unique to each product, and prevents multiple downloads. InfusionSoft, for example, offer this type of licensing technology.

While digital piracy can never be fully prevented, with the above steps in place, it will be far more difficult for fraudsters to gain access to your digital products.

Copyright © 2018 Article was made possible by Anna Sainsbury, chairman and founder of Geoguard