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IP PROTECTION: 8 Things Media Companies Need to Do Before Using Third-Party Contractors

Two weeks ago it was reported that police in Mumbai, India, arrested four current and/or former employees of a third-party Mumbai-based company for suspicion of leaking an unaired episode of “Game of Thrones.” The third-party company was contracted by “Game of Thrones” to process the series through an Indian streaming website.[1]


A fundamental strategy in the protection of all types of intellectual property is to ensure your IP is handled securely at every link of the supply chain.

Although the way media (digital) entertainment is delivered to the consumer is different from physical products, taking all reasonable measures to secure your brand’s IP along the supply chain remains the same, and that especially includes vetting third-party companies.


In order to minimize exposure of your IP content to infringement, here are eight (8) things media companies should consider doing before contracting third-party companies:

  1. Conduct a background screening of the third-party company and its principals to ensure the company’s historic commitment to integrity
  2. Personally inspect third-party facilities in which the content will be processed
  3. Confirm there’s an IP Protection policy—“Fenced Enclosure” as it pertains to the transfer and tracking of your content (i.e., which minimizes inadvertent and careless disclosure)
  4. Ensure there are “Strict Limits” as it pertains to employees leaving the facility with trade secret material (i.e., can employees leave with laptops, thumb drives, CD-ROM’s containing proprietary data)
  5. Verify the strict control of what employees and visitors are permitted to carry into-and-out-of the facility in which the processing of your content will take place (i.e., access controls and software, etc.)
  6. Review the IP protection policy as it pertains to outside contractors (i.e., the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) used with outside contractors needs to be robust)
  7. Make certain employees/contractors permitted to enter the processing area is strictly controlled, and only those directly involved in the processing of your content have access (“Compartmentalization”)
  8. Require adequate background checks of employees with access to your IP, and recommend particular attention be directed to those hired by competitors commonly known as “inbound” employees


The media entertainment industry can never rely on email communications or website research, or, a simple handshake, or, for that matter, entirely on a referral, in selecting a third-party contractor in which they intend to entrust their IP. It requires background screening; an on-site visit and inspection of their facilities; and careful review of the company’s IP Protection Policy. It requires the investment of time and resources. The security of your content depends on identifying the weakest link on your supply chain and fixing it. Third-Party companies are prone to be the weakest link.



Disclaimer: is offered as a service to the professional IP community. While every effort has been made to check information in this blog, we provide no guarantees or warranties, express or implied, with regard to content provided in We disclaim any and all liability and responsibility for the qualification or accuracy of representations made by the contributors or for any disputes that may arise. It is the responsibility of the readers to independently investigate and verify the credentials of such person and the accuracy and validity of the information provided by them. This blog is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal or other professional advice.


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Ron Alvarez is an IP Investigations / Protection writer and licensed private investigator in New York City. He is a former NYPD lieutenant where he investigated robbery, narcotics, internal affairs, and fine art theft cases. Ron is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and earned a B.A. in Government and Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. He has published a number of articles on various investigative topics for PI Magazine. Ron is certified by the Interpol-International IP Crime Investigators College (IIPCIC.) as a "Transnational and Organized Crime Intellectual Property (IP) Investigator."

1 comment on “IP PROTECTION: 8 Things Media Companies Need to Do Before Using Third-Party Contractors

  1. Pingback: Digital Content Ecosystem – IP Protection – IP-PI-BLOG

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