Anti-piracy firms often portray copyright infringers as thieves that must be stopped or eradicated.
However, the people at UK firm MUSO have a different take on the piracy problem. The company offers its clients classic takedown tools but prefers to frame piracy as an opportunity rather than a threat.
MUSO believes that piracy audiences are great untapped pools of wealth. This is also a message it communicates to its clients, which include major players such as Sony Interactive, IMG, Entertainment One, and the European Union Intellectual Property Office.
In its early years, the startup received funding from the UK Government, but more recently it received backing from the more traditional venture capital firm Harwell Capital.
This week MUSO announces that it has raised an additional £3.5 million in funding from Harwell. This is in addition to a £2.5 million investment it received from the same company two years ago, bringing the total for its Series A funding round to £6 million.
The UK-based anti-piracy outfit says it will use the money to expand the company’s sales and marketing, so it can increase its market share in the digital media, gaming and live broadcast sectors.
MUSO’s main goal remains unchanged. It will continue to focus on the more positive approach of converting pirates into paying customers, instead of disregarding this audience as ‘criminals.’
“Unlike other anti-piracy or content protection outfits, MUSO focuses on pointing out to rights holders and media distributors that piracy audiences are actually untapped opportunities, rather than enemies, or the criminals that we perceive them to be,” the company explains.
MUSO founder and CEO Andy Chatterley, who’s a Grammy-nominated music producer, is happy with the continued support.
“Harwell has been a hugely supportive investment partner, who provide far more than cash alone to the company. They understand our vision and objectives and bring significant advice and acumen to ensure we can execute on our continued growth plans in a most exciting market,” Chatterley notes.
Aside from providing piracy takedown services and insights to its clients, MUSO also regularly publishes piracy-related data. Last week, for example, it revealed that the first episode of Game of Thrones was pirated more than 50 million times in 24 hours.
In addition, the company has also helped to document the changing interests of the pirate audience, which has moved from torrents and direct downloads to streaming-based services in recent years.
There have been critical notes as well, of course. Last year MUSO and music outfit AIM announced that they managed to issue five million takedowns in just a few months, labeling their partnership as a great success.
However, on closer inspection, it appeared that pretty much all these requests were sent to Google and that the vast majority of the reported URLs were not removed because they were not indexed by the search engine.