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UK's Federation Against Copyright Theft Combats Online Piracy With IBM Big Data Analytics

In one such case in 2012, surfthechannel.com was running a massive pirate movie website. At its peak, surfthechannel.com was the 514th most visited website in the world, providing access to more than 5,000 pirated films and TV programs. The value of sales lost to the film industry was estimated at up to £198m.

FACT analysts, using IBM Big Data intelligence analytics software, were able to access publicly available chat logs, forum messages and other generally available data. Using a visual mapping illustration of the data, FACT identified non-obvious links between the various data trails, which in turn assisted with identifying the culprit.

Based on FACT's work, the owner of the site was found guilty of conspiracy to defraud. 

"Our role in successfully detecting and targeting those involved in crimes that impact our members requires the ability to foresee and be aware of the technological changes that occur constantly," said Keith Byrne, Intelligence Manager at FACT. "The IBM technology is vital to our work at FACT and enables us to better protect our members' valuable creative intellectual property."

In recent years, FACT has witnessed a significant shift away from the distribution and sale of infringing film content in DVD format to digital pirating through downloads, file-sharing and streaming.

Pirating of films has a huge impact on creators of entertainment. If creators are unable to derive a return from their work, they will have less incentive to produce the next film, TV program or other content and may struggle to get financing. Fraud of this kind also impacts cinemas, service industries, retailers and the livelihood of employees who depend on the survival of the creative sector.

"FACT is a tenacious and professional organization, respected by law enforcement and the judiciary," said Lavinia Carey, Director General, British Video Association. "They have the skills and the tools to tackle the online piracy landscape in the UK just as successfully as they did with physical sales."

"Providing access to better intelligence can greatly assist in detecting and targeting those involved in crimes of this nature," said Shaun Hipgrave, Intelligence Analytics Executive, IBM. "Our clients are able to make use of IBM technology as a valuable tool in the fight against fraud."

Part of a broad portfolio of counter-fraud solutions, IBM Big Data intelligence analytics software provides a dedicated environment for information fusion, collaboration and information sharing.  It helps facilitate and support operational analysis, improve situational awareness and provides faster, more informed decision making across and inside organizations.

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