FACT Teams Up With IBM to Track Down Movie and TV Show Pirates

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The UK's Federation Against Copyright Theft is working with computing giant IBM to continue their crackdown on Internet piracy. By utilizing IBM technology the anti-piracy group says it is able to better manage intelligence in order to identify individuals and organizations who share its members' content online without permission. Furthermore, FACT adds that it has virtually eliminated UK-based camcorder piracy.

factFounded 30-years ago this year, the Federation Against Copyright Theft is active in the UK and works to protect the rights of movie and TV show companies.

The organization, which has close ties to Hollywood, tracks down and prosecutes groups that run torrent sites and streaming portals (such as the now-defunct SurfTheChannel), and works with police to weed out those who record movies in theaters and then put the content online.

Over the past couple of years FACT has become more visibly active than any other organization in this field and has been responsible for closing several sites using a variety of tactics, mostly centered around using intelligence to find culprits and then offering an ultimatum – shut down or face prosecution.

The investigative workload behind these actions requires significant number crunching ability and a few moments ago IBM revealed that it has been working with FACT to achieve that. The computing giant says that FACT has been using IBM Big Data intelligence analytics software in order to better access intelligence data in order to efficiently identify individuals and groups distributing unauthorized content online.

Previously FACT used spreadsheets to manage its data but over the past few years and a via a fresh intelligence-led approach, the IBM systems have allowed the anti-piracy group to establish patterns and relationships by linking places, times, events and individuals within their databases.

IBM cite the case of SurfTheChannel, which ended in the successful prosecution of Anton Vickerman, as an example of where their systems have paid off.

“FACT analysts, using IBM Big Data intelligence analytics software, were able to access publicly available chat logs, forum messages and other generally available data. Using a visual mapping illustration of the data, FACT identified non-obvious links between the various data trails, which in turn assisted with identifying the culprit,” the company explains.

Keith Byrne, Intelligence Manager at FACT, describes the IBM technology as crucial to FACT’s work.

“Our role in successfully detecting and targeting those involved in crimes that impact our members requires the ability to foresee and be aware of the technological changes that occur constantly,” said Byrne. “The IBM technology is vital to our work at FACT and enables us to better protect our members’ valuable creative intellectual property.”

Interestingly, IBM claim that by use of their systems FACT has been able to “virtually eliminate” instances of movie “camming” in UK cinemas, adding that in the last two years there has only been one such recording.

The claim is controversial. As detailed in our report earlier this week, one individual in the UK is currently facing FACT allegations that he filmed at least two movies, both carried out this year in a local cinema.

However, one thing is for certain. FACT are not going away and will only become more powerful as the months unroll. A new City of London Police initiative is likely to add significant new resources to FACT’s repertoire ensuring that the UK remains one of the more difficult environments in which to become involved in online piracy.


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