Facebook Acquires Source3 Content Protection To Battle Video Piracy That’s Gotten Out Of Hand

Mark Zuckerberg has big aspirations of expanding Facebook into the professional video space and wants to bring independent content creators into the fold. It is an appealing proposition with Facebook able to reach so many eyeballs, though the threat of piracy could scare content creators off. To address that, Facebook has gone out and acquired Source3, a content rights management startup.

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"At Source3, we set out to recognize, organize and analyze branded intellectual property in user-generated content, and we are proud to have identified products across a variety of areas including sports, music, entertainment and fashion. Along the way, we built an end-to-end platform to manage online IP and establish relationships with brands," Source3 stated on its website.

"Today, we wanted to let everyone know that we've decided to continue our journey with Facebook. We're excited to bring our IP, trademark and copyright expertise to the team at Facebook and serve their global community of two billion people, who consume content, music, videos and other IP every day," Source3 added.

Facebook previously acknowledged that it has a video piracy problem. Back in 2015, Facebook stated in a blog post that it had heard from some of its content partners that third parties frequently misuse their content on the social network. Specifically, publishers complained to Facebook that their videos were sometimes uploaded directly to Facebook without their permission, a practice that is called "freebooting."

"To address this, we have been exploring ways to enhance our rights management tools to better empower creators to control how their videos are shared on Facebook," the social network said.

That was two years ago. Fast forward to today and Facebook is hoping that its acquisition of Source3 will speed things along. Interestingly enough, Source3 was originally conceived as a 3D printing rights management firm. 3D printing is still relatively niche, so Source3 branched out to include online video.

The underlying technology that Facebook has acquired will strengthen its effort to combat video piracy. At present, Facebook uses a system that is similar to YouTube's Content ID scheme. It involves having content creators update the clips they want to protect on Facebook. With Source3 joining the team, the social networking site has hopes of catching up to YouTube.