Even superheroes sometimes need a helping hand, which is why ZAG Entertainment recently launched an anti-piracy division to protect the intellectual property rights of its brands, content and consumer products. To start, the Los Angeles animation studio is focused on eliminating fakes related to IP Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir (pictured).
We haven’t had a lot of big issues with hacking so far. But because we grow, we try to be protective.” Julian ZagExecutive Vice President of Global Operations and Head of Consumer Products. “The problem with fakes isn’t just that we don’t get royalties. It’s also low quality consumer products. When fans buy these items, they are disappointed and don’t have the same experience with the brand they would have had. [official merchandise]. “
As ZAG brands like Miraculous and Ghost Force continue to grow — and ahead of this year’s release of the feature film Ladybug & Cat Noir Awakening — the team decided to put in place mechanisms to identify and tackle counterfeit consumer products.
Marie Claire Trine Van Hai And the Bai Chu They were appointed as global analysts for the division’s brand protection at its November launch, reporting to global vice president of e-commerce Christoph Valide and working alongside senior vice president for legal affairs and litigation Ben Johnson.
In addition to leading legal investigations to curb fake content and counterfeit goods, Trinh Van Hi and Zhou will monitor e-tailing platforms – which are busier than ever as parental spending continues in online migration – to identify counterfeit products.
Launching this kind of anti-piracy effort is a huge cost, but many in the industry might consider it an investment in future profits. Data from market research firm Statista found that sales of counterfeit goods in 2020 led to $1.57 billion in losses in the gaming and gaming sector. Research by software company Red Points linked revenue in 2019 from copycat games to $32.3 billion in the United States and $44.6 billion in Europe. According to the ZAG team, toys and clothing are the most counterfeit categories.
ZAG also uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to identify suspicious activity. Developed over a year and a half, the technology pulls algorithms from ZAG’s database of licensing agreements to determine if a product is sanctioned. If the item is considered suspicious, the department receives an alert.
“It’s a team effort. We collaborate with all of our partners,” says Zag. “We have implemented a process where everyone – from licensees to retailers to broadcasters – reports every month on anything they see.”
From now on, all data collected by algorithms in which platforms and regions are likely to generate reports will be combined so that the department can be more targeted in anti-piracy efforts. At the moment, these products are dealt with one by one.
“We first send a notice to the seller to collect information about a potential license agreement. They have 24 hours to report any information, but if they don’t respond within that time, we automatically work with our legal department to remove the item from the relevant platform and file a claim immediately.” Many companies look to settle with counterfeiters, but it is our policy that we will not settle. We begin litigation immediately.”
Ideally, imitators will be less likely to target ZAG brands once it becomes clear that there will be no negotiations. Zag says the anti-piracy division needs to grow in order to accommodate further expansion of brands like Miraculous, as well as to protect new properties once launched.
“We plan to expand the division with more analysts and litigants around the world,” he explains. “This is the way to protect property and make sure fans are always satisfied.”