Periscope wants to tackle pirates abusing its live-streaming platform

  • Reuters
  • Updated: May 28, 2015 11:36 IST

Live streaming-video app Periscope and media companies are discussing how to address piracy on the new service, but Periscope says technological fixes many programmers want are difficult to do in real time.

Periscope, which was bought by Twitter earlier this year, faced scrutiny after several high-profile television events, including the HBO prize fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao and HBO's "Game of Thrones" April premiere, were illegally broadcast through the app, which sends a video stream from a phone directly to the Internet.

Media companies, many working with Periscope, are consistent in their demands for improvements, especially using technology to automate the takedown process, or removing unauthorised copyrighted material. A month ago HBO called for "tools that proactively prevent mass copyright infringement."

CBS CEO Les Moonves, speaking at the Re/code conference on Wednesday, said Twitter and Periscope need to respond to media companies’ concerns.

And Walt Disney Co’s ESPN, which is using Periscope to connect anchors with fans, voiced concerns about streaming apps.

"It would be really nice if our friends in the Valley would quit hiding behind the idea that they don’t have to engage in the protection of intellectual property," ESPN President John Skipper said last week when asked about live-streaming apps during a discussion at the Paley Center for Media.

Periscope CEO Kayvon Beykpour told Reuters earlier this month that there is not enough piracy for it to be a major issue at Periscope and that the company's manual takedown process is working and able to respond in minutes.

Still, the company is working on tech fixes and holding "brainstorming sessions" with any television company that has issued takedown requests, which include HBO and CBS, he said, declining to offer details.

The law requires that unauthorised copyrighted material online be taken down within 24 hours, but programmers want faster action and Beykpour acknowledged "that's way too slow for live streaming".

"That's a process we’re looking to improve with technology, but there's a lot of technical complexity in doing that," Beykpour said, noting that automating takedowns on Periscope is more complicated than it is on YouTube or similar platforms.

Beykpour said automated takedowns can affect legitimate content, and some complaints about broadcasts fall under a "grey area".

Video platforms such as YouTube and Ustream, an eight-year-old live streaming-video platform, have technology that automatically takes down copyrighted material, and they give some media companies ways to issue quick requests for action.

David Gibbons, vice president of marketing at Ustream, said it was "not really that challenging" for his company to implement a special portal for takedown notices or automatically sweep for material infringing copyright.

Beykpour and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo are scheduled to address piracy concerns Thursday at a technology conference.

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