Anti-Piracy Best Practice

AFEM anti-piracy partner, MUSO have provided an essential set of best practice tips which content owners can take to minimise the risk of piracy.

Over the past decade, MUSO, have become a global authority on digital piracy and have protected content for entertainment companies of all sizes, from emerging start-ups to some of the largest companies across all media sectors. 

Digital Piracy presents content owners with a unique challenge. It causes revenue loss and impacts the whole media ecosystem. With a constantly changing online piracy landscape it can be hard to know how to respond effectively.

Unfortunately, piracy is still a fact of life for labels and rights-owners, it’s not a question of if your release will be pirated, it is a question of when. 

1. Don’t wait for it to leak, be proactive

Whenever possible protect your music before sending it out to anyone.  

It is crucial to be proactive before a release is sent out to distributors, press, pluggers or anyone else. Many new labels get in touch with their anti-piracy partner after a leak has happened.

We encourage labels to deliver their release metadata well in advance of the release date. This enables proactive monitoring and piracy removal, stemming the loss and reducing piracy spikes that often occur around the release date or key promo events.

2. A record is for life, not just for Christmas

Piracy spikes and increases at various times during a release cycle and we recommend keeping your releases protected at all times, pre and post-release.  The long-tail of streaming means that the shelf-life of releases goes way beyond the 4-8 weeks that used to be associated with physical product releases and therefore it’s a sensible strategy to apply this principle to anti-piracy. If you value it, keep your content protected.

That said, keep an eye on the income your music’s generating; a simple rule of thumb for the budget-conscious is to keep your music protected for as long as the revenue it is generating justifies the spend on anti-piracy. If your budget is tight, the first 1 – 2 months – from promo to release – are normally the most important so focus your budget on protecting your music for that period. 

3. Don’t ignore your back catalogue

Often the greatest income rights holders receive is from their back catalogue. Ensure that any long-tail release is protected so as to minimise piracy on them, and maximise the revenue they generate. 

It is easy to ingest and protect all of your catalogue automatically via DDEX. Protecting all of your releases will maximise the licensed digital consumption and minimise unlicensed consumption via piracy.

4. Staying on top of things and use smart tools

We recommend setting up Google alerts and keeping an eye on social sites like YouTube and Twitter for signs that your release has leaked. If you find anything that needs immediately addressing, let your anti-piracy provider know so the removal process can start as soon as possible.

5. Have a big release? Inform your anti-piracy provider in advance

All your releases are important, but let your anti-piracy provider know if you have a priority release, there may be a number of other steps and services they can offer. For example, MUSO offers a number of additional services managed by dedicated piracy experts. If you have any questions about a campaign, need any help or information about a specific site or anything piracy-related, then talk to your provider.

6. Understanding the nature of Piracy

Unfortunately, not all piracy sites are compliant with removal requests. Sites like The Pirate Bay will not remove content and will not comply with legal notices. Not all links contain piracy, we often refer to these are spoof sites. 

It is important that you know your piracy terms so we have created an overview glossary of piracy types:

Glossary of Piracy Types 

Blog or Forum – A web page that includes embedded piracy content and/or links to piracy files that are hosted on another site e.g. link to Cyberlockers. The takedown usually removes the source page, disrupting the path to the piracy file. 

Cyberlockers – Sites that offer a service of ‘file hosting’, a storage service on the internet designed to accommodate user files, allowing them to store data which can then be downloaded by other users. Links to Cyberlockers are often used by pirate sites, blogs or forums that do not contain the contents themselves but redirecting users via these links. 

Forwarder  – Sites to which users are redirected when they click a link for a cyberlocker. These generate profits showing advertising for a few seconds before finally directing them to cyberlocker.

Grey Market  – Legitimate sites that sell online material (often Amazon and eBay) or sometimes completely unlicensed websites selling your music.

Indexer or Search Site – Sites that allow searching and return piracy results. 

Social Media Site – Social Media Sites are platforms where people connect with others and share their own personal content, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. These are not automatically scanned by the system but we have takedowns enabled via the ‘submit infringement tool.

Spoof – Sites which claim to offer pirated content but do not actually have any available and are not indicative of a leak. These sites phish for personal information such as credit card details by asking you to sign-up.

Streaming – Essentially a cyberlocker that streams the content in the page – you can listen or watch without downloading the file.

Stream-Ripping sites – Sites that create a downloadable file, that has ripped the audio or audiovisual content from a YouTube URL.

Torrent Site – Sites that allow downloading content via P2P downloads (peer to peer) via torrent. Downloading peers achieve high download speeds by requesting multiple pieces from different computers simultaneously.

UGC – ‘User Generated Content’, including destinations like YouTube or Daily Motion, Soundcloud, and Vimeo, where people are publicly uploading and broadcasting their own video content.

AFEM Working With MUSO For Anti-Piracy Support in 2020

AFEM will be working with MUSO as an anti-piracy partner for 2020 to provide advice and significant discounts on anti-piracy services for members to help ensure revenue streams for electronic music creators and rights holders are maximised and the pirate operators are disrupted. Further details:

If you have any questions or require further help please contact: or