SA’s Custos participates in blockchain anti-piracy solutions for e-books

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South African startup Custos Media Technologies is participating in a new blockchain-based anti-piracy solution for e-books.

This new collaboration debuts the combination of content protection company Digimarc’s Barcode for digital documents and Custos’ infringement detection technology, providing a more effective, reader-friendly way to combat e-book piracy.

Another partner is Erudition, which has worked closely with Custos over the past year. The Stellenbosch-based media protection company provides technology that adds bitcoin deposits to e-books, with these digital bounties enabling Custos to rapidly detect piracy after the first copy of a file is shared.

Globally, e-book piracy is a major challenge for publishers, but Digimarc Barcode provides a non-intrusive alternative by embedding invisible watermarks in each copy of an e-book. Custos complements this by quickly discovering leaked copies of watermarked e-books, even while they are still being shared in the dark web that cannot be probed from the outside.

“This scheme improves on existing methods of watermarking files and then crawling various places on the internet to detect those files,” said Bill Rosenblatt, DRM specialist and president of GiantSteps Media Technology Strategies.

“Bounty hunters can find these files in places which those crawlers can’t access, such as password-protected cyberlocker accounts.”

Custos chief executive officer (CEO) G-J van Rooyen said the partnership was the “perfect play of technologies” to protect authors and publishers against the worrisome growth in content theft.

“By combining Digimarc’s industry-leading watermark with Custos for e-books, Erudition has created an exceptionally attractive platform for ebook retail,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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