Digital Piracy and Security in cloud computing

Cyberspace is a vast world of computer networks that allow users to explore, design, develop, and build. While it’s a virtual world way far different from the actual world, it’s characterized by properties associated with the real world. For instance, as the actual world involves individuals imitating others, cyberspace also has people who make pirated copies of digital data. As cloud computing and its widespread adoption increase, digital piracy has become a popular concept that leads masses of people to adopt it in spite of the numerous regulations meant to mitigate it. Digital piracy is stealing! If a person/business is caught copying or dispensing unauthorized copies of digital content, they could be prosecuted and sentenced under civil and cybercriminal laws. Apart from legal repercussions, users of copied digital data could experience defective or corrupted content, exposure to malicious data, no warranties, inadequate technical support, or ineligibility for app/software upgrades among others.

Today, cloud computing is … progressing beyond the conventional triune of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS) to accommodate virtually ‘anything,’ but specifically access to information, as a digital and distributed service/application. The conception of cloud-based solutions has fundamentally transformed the interaction of information by businesses/users who have migrated their workloads to the cloud. Users have vastly heightened access to digital data across a multitude of global platforms. However, while cloud services/applications are less prone to digital piracy, they aren’t absolutely secure as hackers are focused on infiltrating the cloud servers, collecting and stealing critical information, and causing various problems. For instance, a cyberlocker is an early cloud-based by-product that creates opportunities for digital piracy causing great challenges regarding data distribution models as well as blurring the frontiers between official and unofficial data economy.  

What promotes Digital piracy 

Configuring and maintaining robust cloud infrastructure requires huge investments. A survey conducted by Microsoft exhibits that it takes a staggering $52.5 million annually for a cloud data center housing 500,000 servers (that include CPUs, memories, and storage systems) that constitute 45 percent of the remunerated costs on the maintenance of the data center, 25 percent on infrastructure (distribution of power and cooling), 15 percent on electricity utility, and 15 percent on networking. Several factors are contributing to the emergence of super-sized cloud campuses. For instance, the online delivery of media information is revolutionizing the economy of the media industry. It’s common for multibillion-dollar companies like Apple Inc., Amazon, Google Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, and Facebook to spend over $1 billion to build cloud campuses. Simply put, digital content is quite expensive.

While some people comply with the law and pay for the digital content they consume, others believe that software, video, music, visual stories, movies, and games should be offered freely. Others do it out of financial constraints but it’s not always just about monitory reasons:

  • The biggest contributor to digital piracy is the reluctance to pay the ‘huge’ charges set by authorized service providers.
  • Lack of sufficient funds to purchase legal services
  • Hackers sell pirated content to earn money
  • Bad actors disseminate pirated content to spread viruses and infect victims’ computers/networks.
  • One-time use: consumers may want to find out whether the content is great before watching it.
  • Some users perceive digital theft, as usual, as just a normal way of getting low-priced or free content.

How to Stop Digital Piracy

So, how do you stop digital piracy? What anti-piracy protection measures can operators take to solve the problem? Here are proven measures to curb digital piracy.

  • Remove incentives: operates should strive at removing incentives to prevent users from searching for pirated content. This can effectively be implemented by delivering great services, products, or applications at reasonably fair prices. Also, operators should work on improving customer experience to create a platform with sympathetic interfaces featuring the usual sophisticated functions, high-picture quality, with no latency. This will immensely reduce consumers of pirated content and encourage them to buy from legitimate providers.
  • Barrier to entry: the era of consuming unprotected digital content is gone; pirates should be barred from trading unauthorized content. Content owners should safeguard their investments by embracing copyright protection measures like property intellectual and patents, and only do business with operators who assure them privacy and security of their content.
  • Public Relations (PR) and Education: the objective is to highlight to the users that digital piracy is a criminal offense. to industry players, it’s obvious; to outsiders, it’s anything but… Consumers must be educated that the consumption of pirated digital content is not only illegal but unethical and immoral as it can result in exposure to viruses or negative reputations of a brand for associating itself with pirate sites.
  • Technology and operations: operators and content owners should sign high-level treaties with reputable search engines to locate pirated digital content to allow swift actions in the event their content is breached.
  • Legal enforcement: with robust anti-piracy services, content owners can detect users consuming unauthorized content and incentivize them to shift to authorized services. Also, the operator should take legal action against the violators of their digital privacy.
  • Cooperation: one undisputable business characteristic is rivalry among different competitors resulting in insufficient cooperation. Lack of concerted efforts in mitigating digital piracy results in massive losses of digital content. Fortunately, the converse is true. The herd immunity concept also applies in the digital realm: the more organizations/users are united, the more effective the mitigation against digital pirates.


While it’s absolutely impossible to halt digital piracy, content owners (owners of online games, digital media, software, music, movies, audio, and video) and operators can reduce digital piracy by building static and real-time protections, ensuring their digital content is protected wherever it is deployed. But the question is: how much time do these operators and content owners need to wake up to digital pirates who aren’t so new in the industry, and how much should be lost before the necessary actions are taken to mitigate this problem? 

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