How to Prevent Media Theft with an IP Geolocation Database | Hacker Noon

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Peer-to-peer (P2P) networks and CD burners have long been the enemy of the entertainment industry, but digital pirates have resorted to more modern methods these days.

Cyberlockers and illegal streaming sites, for instance, allow just about anyone to consume content that should otherwise be inaccessible to them.

Digital rights management (DRM) professionals, meanwhile, are attempting to prevent media theft mostly by embedding code that implements time-based access. This code also limits the number of times a piece of content is viewed or downloaded.

Still, this doesn’t stop digital pirates. And so, some streaming providers have found that an IP geolocation database like ours could also be a valuable addition to their DRM toolset. Here are some ways the geolocation database can prevent media theft.

Geo-Based Redirection

Geo redirection occurs when visitors are automatically presented with a media library based on their location. When users type netflix[.]com on their browser, for instance, they would be redirected to their country’s homepage and corresponding media library.

The online streaming giant uses IP location data to personalize content and implement copyright laws. After all, several movies and TV shows are exclusive to the U.S., for example, and should not be accessible to users from the Netherlands. In the same way, some media contents are proprietary to users in Europe.

Location-Based Access

An IP geolocation database allows entertainment sites to restrict access based on users’ locations. Hulu, for instance, doesn’t cater to all international audiences. It is only available in the U.S., but we were still able to go through the signup process despite using the IP address 77[.]111[.]245[.]45. Based on information from a geolocation database, we know that this IP address is from Singapore.

Using this intelligence would enable streaming sites like Hulu to restrict access based on users’ IP addresses mainly since it only serves U.S. households. That way, Hulu lessens the risks of media theft.

Disney Plus, on the other hand, seems to implement location-based access control. When it detected that the IP address used was from outside the U.S., it redirected us to a preview page where the only option was “Keep Me Updated.” No login or signup links were available since Disney Plus isn’t available in the country yet.

Block Proxy Users

While there are legitimate reasons for using proxy servers and virtual private networks (VPNs), studies show that 50% of VPN users do so to access better content. On the other hand, 27% say that they use VPNs to access restricted torrent sites.

Source: Global Web Index

VPNs and proxy servers can make media theft easier. Streaming sites would do well by blocking proxy users with the help of an IP geolocation database. Doing so helps curb media theft. Aside from IP address location, the database also reveals some domain information.

Our sample IP address above shows that the Autonomous System Number (ASN) is 205016, and its Internet service provider (ISP) is “Hern Labs.” The ISP manages IP addresses that mostly run VPN servers. It’s possibly best to block IP addresses that are known proxy or VPN servers to prevent media theft.


Despite the expected growth of the DRM solutions market, media theft is likely to be a persistent issue. And it is not exclusive to the entertainment industry.

As people continue to share sensitive work documents over the Internet, the need for a robust DRM solution increases. By feeding IP geolocation data into DRM and cybersecurity solutions, media theft can be prevented. Similarly, e-commerce sites can use IP geolocation data to help reduce credit card fraud.

Several websites have seen the importance of IP geolocation and are already using the technology to limit user access, show personalize and localize content, and enhance cybersecurity.


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