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IP Geolocation Helps Companies Comply with Digital Content Licensing Agreements

Creating and distributing digital content has never been easier. But ensuring the secure delivery of that digital content? Now that’s another story.

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Creating and distributing digital content has never been easier. But ensuring the secure delivery of that digital content? Now that’s another story.

One important chapter of that story is the need to manage digital content so that it goes not only to the people authorized to access it, but also only to approved geographic or specific market locations. Content licensees may be prohibited from distributing the content to certain regions, countries, or even localities, and can lose their licensing rights or face regulatory or legal consequences if they fail to meet those obligations.

The need to control geographic distribution of content is rising with the staggering growth of digital content itself. Consider:

  • In 2016, half of the global recorded music industry’s revenue came from digital music sales, and by the end of the year there were 112 million paid music streaming subscribers, according to eMarketer.com.
  • During 2017, more than 62% of the world’s Internet users will view digital video, totaling 2.15 billion people by year end, according to eMarketer.com.
  • Even though eBook sales have slowed, net sales for U.S. publishers alone during the first three months of 2016 totaled $877.1 million.

It isn’t just digital content sites and eBook publishers who must worry about where their content goes, of course. Many corporations license digital content of various types, and may be under tight restrictions limiting the locations where it can be distributed or accessed.

Fortunately, Neustar’s superior IP intelligence decisioning data provides a way for companies to determine the location of Internet users, and how they are connecting to the Internet, with great precision. It’s no trivial task to develop such comprehensive IP insight, however.

Every time a person uses a device to connect to the Internet, that device is assigned a random Internet Protocol (IP) address. (Many servers and businesses get fixed IP addresses that don’t change with each Internet connection.) In addition to changing with each connection, IP addresses often have no relationship with an actual geographic location.

Determining a device’s location with confidence requires both the IP address and the location of the network access point the device uses to connect to the Internet. Some connections occur via easy-to-map fixed access points, where the user is almost certain to be quite close to the connection. By contrast, a user connecting through a “satellite” connection could be located anywhere in the world. 

Given these variables, determining the actual location of a device and user requires the use of detailed registries and directories along with sophisticated analytics. In addition, since geolocation is nuanced and challenging, Neustar has developed a team of dedicated Network Geography Analysts (NGA’s) who recognize abbreviations and decode patterns in order optimize the data used by the automated IP geolocation algorithms.   And since Neustar manages more than 10% of all global DNS traffic, they can provide geolocation information for the billions of IP both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses assigned and allocated on the Internet. 

One Neustar customer, U.K. broadcaster BSkyB, has many contractual obligations that call for it to restrict access to content to only certain territories. By using Neustar’s IP Intelligence, the company can, for example, block an authorized Sky customer if he or she tries to access content from a restricted country.

Staying in compliance with digital content licensing agreements can be an extremely complex and demanding enterprise. However, at least one aspect of these requirements – controlling the geographic distribution of, and access to licensed content – can be quite straightforward given the proper IP Intelligence decision data.

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Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.