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Securing Intellectual Property in the film and media industry

As Marvel superfans hold their breath in anticipation for Avengers: Endgame and Game of Thrones fans desperately avoid the weekly spoilers thrown around the office as the long-awaited series finale comes to a close, it’s got us thinking about the measures the media industry goes to, to protect Intellectual Property.

Whilst you would expect Hollywood’s big producers to be running a tight security ship it’s surprising how often things do get out. Some of the biggest movie leaks include:


  • Deadpool – although it ended up online too soon, amazingly this had a positive impact on the movies future success.
  • Expendables 3 - which was leaked three weeks before its premiere and as a result tanked at the Box Office.
  • The Hateful Eight - after the first script draft mysteriously turned up online a furious Tarantino sued the website and became suspicious of his cast members.


These may be some high profile cases, but if it can happen to them then it can happen to smaller media companies too. With nearly everything stored and distributed digitally, whether that’s via email, Google Drive, or Dropbox, accidentally press the wrong button and before you know it the latest blockbuster is all over the internet. What's more, with thousands of editors, cast members, techies, third-party vendors and artists each with a copy of the script on their harddrive, it’s easy to lose control of where things are. Then once the film is complete, the net is cast even wider to include PRs, journalists and friends of friends – it’s a wonder that any movie makes it to the cinema without every man and his dog having already streamed it.




Whilst rapid technology advancements and sharing platforms have made it easier for scripts, plot lines and merchandise to fall into the wrong hands, it has also created a market place for combative technologies such as document management and secure file transfer platforms to excel. Let's take a look at our top 3 secure technologies for the media industry.


3 ways the Film and Media Industry can use technology to protect IP   


Document Management  


Effective document management is all about putting the right technology and processes in place to store, distribute and manage an organisation’s documents. That could be anything from digitalising heavy paper-based processes to automating electronic workflows and removing departmental silo’s to enable better collaboration, to providing audit trails to track document changes.    


Many media companies occupy expensive city centre office space and employ a host of people to work on a whole array of projects be it casting, scripting, scenery or special effects. All of these departments produce paper-work, which in many cases will end up hidden away in countless filing cabinets. By converting documents into a digital format and automating the filing and storage of documents, you can take back precious real estate or even downsize your office space. What’s more, finding documents later down the line becomes a breeze – as documents enter the document management system they are indexed and filed appropriately.          


These are some of the other advantages of  secured document management systems:   


  • Using an authorisation workflow, documents are only distributed both internally and externally once signed off by the relevant parties.
  • Only the latest version of any document is available to the users, although administrators can view previous versions if desired.
  • The ability to access and change documents can be carefully controlled by security profiles.
  • A full audit trail of actions is produced for each document (i.e. who has viewed, printed, etc).


It’s easy to get caught up in the fun things when talking about the type of projects a media company will be involved in but like all organisations, there will also be every day tasks such as HR records, contracts, invoices and expenses to be processed. Each of these documents will enter the organisation in different formats (email, paper copy, management systems), it’s your document management systems job to capture each of these files and convert them into electronic format and automatically distribute them via the appropriate workflow. No error-prone processes or manual tasks, the job is done for you.


Collaborative Working


Scripts, call sheets, a location recce, health and safety reports, creative revisions, skeletons, synopsis, media packs and budgets – all documents that are shared on a daily basis. But what medium do you use to share them? Via email perhaps – the most widely used form of sharing but not at all secure. With the click of a button, your documents can be forwarded on to anyone, anywhere. Or, maybe you use Google Drive, better security sure, but what’s to stop someone downloading the file and forwarding it on.  


The only way to be one hundred percent confident when sending any document is to use a secure file transfer platform that you can trust. Digicorp partners with a variety of software providers including the likes of XMedius SendSecure. This powerful secure sharing platform offers the following benefits:   


  • All documents are encrypted whilst in transit and at rest.
  • Two-factor authentication reduces the risk on the system being ‘hacked’.
  • A full range of controls on what can be done with the documents can be employed (i.e. can a user download, print, etc).
  • A comprehensive audit trail of activity is produced.
  • Contractors can upload responses in a secure manner.


This type of system is ideal for bids and tenders and for working with ad hoc contractors where control over privacy is key.


Secure Printing   


As much as we like to think the world is going paperless, sometimes you can’t beat a printed document. So, how do you make a hard copy secure and traceable?   


Secure methods of printing such as watermarking and microprinting might be the answer you’re looking for. Whilst we can’t guarantee that your documents won’t fall into the wrong hands these print methods can go some way in helping you maintain control and hold people accountable for keeping documents private.   


Watermarking: A watermark is primarily used to authenticate a document and identify the owner. It can be used on both electronic viewing and printed documents. Watermarks are used to deter people from copying the content, as a means of identifying the source of the document and to determine whether the document has been altered.  


Microprinting: Microprinting refers to the process of printing tiny text onto a document which is so small it is almost invisible to the naked eye. This means that the document can not be replicated without the original artwork file. Photocopiers, scanners even high-resolution digital printers cannot pick up or replicate the micro text. It also provides full traceability back to the person who leaked the document should it be found in the wrong hands.  


How can we help?  


Don’t risk information being leaked before the official release date. We’ll help you put the right technology and processes in place to remove security risks all together so that you can rest at ease that your next movie will be a smash.