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Counterfeiting and Piracy will not affect to our firms in the EU any longer.

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New digital tool to fight online piracy

Online piracy of digital content robs creators of revenue and threatens the future of the very industries it exploits. The EU-funded ETIQMEDIA project has developed a digital system that identifies intellectual property rights breaches quickly and accurately.

Digital Economy

The global entertainment industry faces a constant threat from piracy. Infringing intellectual property rights (IPR) can relate to copyright, trademarks, design rights and patents. BASCAP (Business Action to stop Counterfeiting and Piracy) estimates job losses of 4.2 to 5.4 million by 2022 due to piracy. The ETIQMEDIA project is developing the first digital solution to search for, count and sort, in real time, IPR-protected digital content in any media channel, such as TV, radio and internet. Content can be images, audio or text. The solution then alerts the IPR owner. ETIQMEDIA (website in Spanish), also the name of the project host, launched a series of pilots in collaboration with Spanish broadcaster Atresmedia (website in Spanish) and media advertising monitoring and verification company (website in Spanish). “These trials convinced us that we could scale up our solution from the development stage to being market-ready,” says Antonio León Carpio, ETIQMEDIA CEO and project coordinator.

Combining technical advances

The ETIQMEDIA project was made possible by the combination of a number of technologies. It integrated into one platform advances in speech recognition, image processing and the semantic analysis of texts. While already existing, these technologies were not collectively adopted to fight piracy. Speech recognition is widely used for mobile phones and smart devices, facial recognition is becoming more common for public security and textual analysis is used for subtitling or translations. Once a client reveals the media channels authorised to use their content, the platform searches and analyses unauthorised use and alerts the client. “To our knowledge there are no comparable solutions around. Most current services rely on operators manually screening content for trademarks infringement, with technology only sometimes assisting,” remarks León Carpio. The project ran two pilots. Firstly, to train facial recognition software, the system analysed 500 hours of films and TV series for Atresmedia, to identify specific people of interest. Secondly, it searched for brand-related keywords from 6 months’ worth of radio for The team found that the face detection and recognition rate was 97.3 % when testing the technology with 1 000 people on Atresmedia’s TV series and films. The voice to text transcription accuracy rate was 92 % for news content and 95 % for institutional content which was extracted from the Spanish Congress and Senate. Finally, the word-spotting rate for commercial keywords on radio was 94.3 %.

Protecting rights and improving competitiveness

IPR laws ensure that creators receive recognition, payment and protection for their works. According to the EU, 33 sectors of the EU economy are considered copyright-intensive, accounting directly for over 7 million jobs, or 3 % of employment in the EU. Indeed, acknowledging the importance of this economy, last year the EU launched its new Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market. Stopping piracy will continue to play a big part in the support for the creative economy, and ETIQMEDIA’s solution can improve the accuracy and speed of these efforts. “We are especially proud of our speech recognition system which is getting more accurate than some of the major tech companies. This is possible due to our tailored training for each client and content type,” adds León Carpio. Now that the system is ready for the market, the team aim to target the solution at the creative industries, as well as public administrations and universities.


ETIQMEDIA, piracy, counterfeiting, copyright, patent, intellectual property rights, digital content

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