Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

We presently offer the most comprehensive FAQ list of any independent music anti-piracy service. Here you will find answers to commonly asked questions about AudioLock, as well as more general questions about music piracy.

If you can't find what you are looking for we are happy to help, please email us at questions@audiolock.net or call + 44 (0) 207 644 6589.

We will aim to reply to all questions within 24hrs, Monday to Friday.

AudioLock

Scanning & Takedown

Watermarked Delivery

Using The System

Piracy

What is AudioLock?

AudioLock is an online anti-piracy toolkit designed specifically to protect the music industry. It also works for other audio rights holders such as film scores, jingles or any audio which could be subject to piracy.

Does AudioLock just specialise in music anti-piracy?

Yes. We specialise in doing one thing to an extremely high standard; protecting all music rights holders from online digital piracy.

Unlike many other such companies, which claim to specialise in music piracy, we are not a jack-of-all-trades.

How does AudioLock work?

AudioLock comprises two key solutions which prevent and counteract commercial music piracy;

  1. 24/7 Scanning & Takedown (Patent Pending) of online copyright infringing links. Our system, designed in-house exclusively for AudioLock customers, provides unlimited protection for your release, night and day, seven days a week.
  2. Watermarked Promo Delivery of releases ensuring they can be traced and leaks prevented. A process whereby a user uploads a release in either AIFF/ WAV format onto AudioLock for re-encoding to become an individually watermarked audiofile.

Who should use AudioLock?

This can be any person(s) or entity which either directly or indirectly owns the copyright to a given release. These individuals or groups are generally, although not exclusively, one of the following:

  • Record labels
  • Producers
  • DJs
  • Artists
  • Promo companies
  • Legal digital download stores
  • Digital aggregators / distributors

Why use AudioLock anti-piracy services?

By utilising AudioLock anti-piracy services you will help to:

  • Increase sales by removing the opportunity for customers to download your release(s) for free.
  • Mitigate against commercial pirate sites profiteering from your hard work.
  • Increase the control over who has access to your release(s).
  • Protect your label / brand from being linked with copyright infringing sites and the associated negative publicity this brings.

Does AudioLock integrate with other music services?

Yes, we collaborate with a number of different specialist music providers to help deliver you the most effective service possible.

Through our full Application Programme Interface (API) we are easily able to provide our functionality into existing third party systems.

How many 'file lockers' and 'pirate' sites does AudioLock cover?

We scan and remove copyright infringing links on thousands of 'pirate' sites, torrents and file lockers 24/7.

How much does AudioLock cost?

Monthly protection for 24/7 Automated Scanning & Takedown starts from just £5 per track.

Watermarked Promo Delivery credits start at just 1p per credit.

Are there any limits to the number of infringing links AudioLock will remove for me?

There are no limits on the number of DMCA notices we send out on a client's behalf.

There are no limits to the amount of copyright infringing links we remove on a client's behalf.

This unlimited service is included as standard.

Unlike many other anti-piracy services we are fully transparent about our charges. Our full rate card and easy to use price calculator quickly enables you to see clearly how much our service would cost depending on your individual requirements.

Where is AudioLock based?

We are a UK limited company (07206608) with offices in London and Southampton.

Where does AudioLock operate?

AudioLock operates globally with a client base spanning numerous countries.

How does AudioLock compare to other Anti-piracy services?

We invite you to try other services and see if it can outperform AudioLock, we bet they won't and welcome your feedback.

Why choose AudioLock over other anti-piracy services?

Many of our customers come from an experience of having used alternative anti-piracy services. They say AudioLock, based on empirical experience, is the most effective, cost effective and easy to use system which they have employed.

Many of our competitors charge 10 times the amount for a slower, less efficient manual approach to the scanning and removal.

We advocate new user's trialling AudioLock alongside alternative anti-piracy solutions to give a transparent comparison of our effectiveness against theirs.

We don't believe any service can match AudioLock's effectiveness, speed, ease of use or low cost without any hidden additional charges.

Put our claims to the test now by using our Free Trial.

For best results we recommend uploading two big selling releases; a recent release that has been on sale for the last couple of months, and one release that has been on sale for one to two years.

What is the Google Transparency Report?

The report is Google's online resource which details 'reporting organisations' which send the company copyright infringing links to be removed from the search giants pages.

Where does AudioLock rank in the Google Transparency Report?

AudioLock consistently ranks in the top 15 reporting organisations in the world, out of some 12,000+ such companies and content owners. We work closely with Google on your behalf to remove copyright infringing links from the search engine's pages as efficiently as possible.

The Google Transparency Report - comparing AudioLock with other anti-piracy companies

The Google Transparency report offers a search allowing you to easily look up any other antipiracy companies under the 'content reporters'.

Feel free to contact our competition and ask if they can match all of what we offer:

  • Free trial, with full system functionality and live analytics sent to your personal dashboard, which protects two of your tracks or a release for a period of one month.
  • Full real time transparency clearly showing you when, where, which and how many copyright infringing links to your releases our automated system has removed on your behalf.
  • 24/7 Automated Scanning & Takedown of copyright infringing links to your releases for just £5 per release, per month.
  • Highly robust audio watermarking which cannot be decoded, detected or erased (supported by our 24/7 Automated Scanning & Takedown algorithm)
  • Unlimited scanning & takedown, from lockers, torrent search engines Google and Bing, of copyright infringing links to your release(s).
  • No hidden extra charges like some alternative suppliers.

How does this system work?

Our Patent Pending algorithm utilises meta data from the release you upload with textural information that you include at this stage.

The system then uses this composite of information to scan the internet looking for links which may correspond to the information it has stored. Once it finds a link it believes might be copyright infringing it then downloads the release/ track in its entirety (yes, we have very big servers on fast connections!).

It is then able to check for a match between the downloaded release/ track against what it has stored using our fingerprint database. If a 100% match is made then a DMCA notice is immediately sent to the site from which the copyright infringing link was found. These notices are often actioned by the pirate site/ file locker from one to twenty four hours.

Only links where a 100% match is ever made will be removed. This makes the system very accurate.

How do I upload release(s) / track(s) onto AudioLock?

The process is both quick and simple. From signing up to uploading your first release only takes a few minutes.

How long should I protect my release(s) for?

We suggest that you protect your release for one month initially then, keep protecting it for as long as the income from you sales warrants continued protection. This provides you with an empirical return on investment for the protection you deploy.

What does 'Require Attention' in the AudioLock dashboard mean?

This is where any links the system is unsure of will appear. They may be links which are almost a positive match or links which relate to similar but not exactly the same content as is being searched for.

On a campaign where thousands of links are being automatically removed there will normally only be 5-10 links which require attention, at most.

The system is likely to put other mixes it has found of tracks in the require attention.

What does AudioLock mean by a 'campaign'?

A 'campaign' is defined as a release or track which is currently being protected for a period of one month or more.

Is AudioLock's 24/7 Automated Scanning & Takedown of online copyright infringing links accurate?

Yes, extremely accurate. We use multiple fingerprint databases to ensure a 100% match against the track it is searching for.

Do I have to manually check all the copyright infringing links which the system locates?

No. Unlike many other anti-piracy services, which are heavily reliant upon either the user (you) or their costly staff to do manual checking, AudioLock is primarily automated.

The system runs automatically allowing you to focus on your business, increasing revenue and building brand.

We retain a small staff of highly experienced programmers who focus their time on honing our patent pending algorithm.

Can I see full details about the copyright infringing links which the system removes?

Yes, you have full access to all these details through your personal AudioLock dashboard. You can access this information in real-time night or day, 24/7, from anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

What anti-piracy information does my AudioLock dashboard provide?

Top-line crucial anti-piracy information, your AudioLock dashboard provides the following:

  • Copyright infringing links found
  • Copyright infringing links removed
  • Links pending removal (where a DMCA notice has been sent by us on your behalf but where we are now waiting for the file locker/ pirate site to remove it)
  • Copyright infringing links removed from search engines
  • On all of the above there is additional information provided on when, where, how many links have been removed.
  • Graph showing the above information over time, enabling you to pin-point piracy spikes (usually such spikes occur at the start of a new campaign or where a release moves from promo to general release)
  • PDF download of the reports

Is AudioLock's analytical reporting transparent?

All of the information provided to you, plus much more besides, is provided live and in real time. The system is completely transparent so you see everything relating to the protection of your release(s)/ track(s). From this information you can inform your decision about the duration of protection for any given release(s) / track(s).

You can see fully disclosed public information about our infringing link reporting activities on the Google Transparency Report.

Is AudioLock complicated to use?

No, it is designed to be used by anyone. Its high level of automation requires relatively little input from the user, so freeing up your time for other more important tasks.

It takes just minutes to learn and no previous technical or anti-piracy experience is required to get the most from the functionality it offers.

Will AudioLock save me time?

Yes. As there is no manual checking (important as many campaigns can easily see over 2,000 infringing links removed in just a few days) you are free to spend your time on things which will generate you income or enhance your brand profile. It does this work allowing you to get on with other tasks that are central to your job and enhance your revenue.

Will AudioLock increase my revenue from the releases I upload?

Yes, it will help drive your sales by removing the availability of copyright infringing links to your releases as well as cleaning up Google and Bing. This in turn will elevate your reviews, legitimate download site links up the search results.

Is there a direct correlation between deploying AudioLock and a rise in sales?

Yes, although each and every release is unique so it is difficult to quantify exactly. We have had numerous clients tell us that they have seen a significant uplift in sales and chart positions from using AudioLock.

How will this help me increase the worth of my music?

By protecting your music, and promoting your music to your fan base you create 'Social Digital Rights Management'. Here users will not give copies to their friends, instead they will tell them the name of the artist and track allowing them to locate and buy the music. This will increase the worth of the music.

If you are a label you can advocate all digital download sites selling your music to use AudioLock to protect your downloads which will in turn raise awareness and significantly retard the pirates efforts. AudioLock provides clients with unrivalled Social Digital Rights Management support.

Are there any downsides to using AudioLock?

No, not if you believe that removing the illegal download links including those from Google and Bing quickly will not result in you making £5 extra in sales.

At just £5 per track, per month this small outlay can easily be justified in protecting material which has had often had hundreds of hours invested in making, marketing and distributing it.

Does AudioLock remove copyright infringing links from Google and Bing?

Yes, from the moment your release is uploaded onto AudioLock the system lists any infringing links it finds on these sites. You can then make an informed decision about whether or not to keep them or take them down.

We work closely with Google and Bing to remove copyright infringing links from the pages of both search engines.

Our automated patent pending system sends copyright infringing links to Google in real-time, as it finds them, so they are removed in the quickest time possible. This is unlike many anti-piracy companies which only send removal requests to Google on a daily or weekly basis. The longer the removal request takes to send to Google, the longer links to download your release are available online.

In reality we often see links being removed after just two hours of the request being sent to Google.

How will I know Google / Bing has removed infringing links to my release?

Your AudioLock dashboard provides full details of when, where and how many links we have removed from Google / Bing on your behalf.

Currently it doesn't show the real time status it only lists those we have sent rather than those actually removed.

For example, if we send a link that has already been removed they won't action it again or if they find it not to be infringing they won't action it either. Although our system uses several techniques to try to ensure that they are all legitimate and should be removed there is no feedback provided by Google / Bing to state whether the links were taken down or not.

When searching for your release on Google you will notice that where copyright infringing links once existed the following statement resides:

In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 2 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at 'X' Pirate Site/ 'X' file Locker'.

This notice contains links allowing you to view the specific removal request. Please note that Bing does not offer this kind of transparency so there is simply a message on search results saying that some have been removed.

What is the Google Transparency Report?

The report is Google's online resource which details 'reporting organisations' which send the company copyright infringing links to be removed from the search giants pages.

Where does AudioLock rank in the Google Transparency Report?

AudioLock consistently ranks in the top 15 reporting organisations in the world, out of some 12,000+ such companies and content owners. We work closely with Google on your behalf to remove copyright infringing links from the search engine's pages as efficiently as possible.

The Google Transparency Report - comparing AudioLock with other anti-piracy companies

The Google Transparency report offers a search allowing you to easily look up any other antipiracy companies under the 'content reporters'.

Feel free to contact our competition and ask if they can match all of what we offer:

  • Free trial, with full system functionality and live analytics sent to your personal dashboard, which protects two of your tracks or a release for a period of one month.
  • Full real time transparency clearly showing you when, where, which and how many copyright infringing links to your releases our automated system has removed on your behalf.
  • 24/7 Automated Scanning & Takedown of copyright infringing links to your releases for just £5 per release, per month.
  • Highly robust audio watermarking which cannot be decoded, detected or erased (supported by our 24/7 Automated Scanning & Takedown algorithm)
  • Unlimited scanning & takedown, from lockers, torrent search engines Google and Bing, of copyright infringing links to your release(s).
  • No hidden extra charges like some alternative suppliers.

How long does it take to remove content from YouTube?

We rely on YouTube to respond to the removal requests we send them. We do see that over weekends some sites including Google and YouTube take longer to respond to these requests, which we believe is simply down to their reduced staff levels.

What is watermarking?

Digital watermarking of promotional releases ensures that recipients are accountable, both deterring leaks and making them traceable.

How does it work?

It is a process whereby a user uploads a release in either AIFF / WAV format onto AudioLock for re-encoding to become an individually watermarked audio file. Once watermarked the file is then output as unique, individually marked MP3.

What if someone downloads and converts the file format - am I still protected?

The tagging is extremely robust and can withstand the file being converted many, many times even to very low bitrates. The music will be too degraded for the user to enjoy before the watermark is destroyed.

Will the watermark tag affect the sound for the user?

The tagging solution, whilst robust, is completely inaudible (unlike other music tagging and watermarking tools) and cannot even be found with audio analysis software.

In some extreme cases where the original file has been very heavily over mastered a slight reduction in the overall perceived volume of the music might be perceptible.

Do users have to have a specific codec or player to listen to the files?

There is no special player or codec. The users can simply use and play the files in the same way as they have before with any audio files of these formats.

Can the tag be removed?

The tag cannot be found, decoded or removed by the user of your music.

Does the watermark carry any personal information?

The watermark is an encrypted unique id which relates only to a database which the record label or content owner has access to. There is no information such as name, email, address or anything identifying the recipient of the watermarked copy actually within the watermark itself.

Is the system a 100% accurate in identifying the person responsible for leaking it online?

Yes, every copy of every track is uniquely tagged so whoever the tracks was sent to can be identified as the responsible party whether they uploaded the copy to a sharing site or they let someone else get the link they were sent who shared the copy.

If I get sent a copy of a file can I test to see if it has been tagged?

Yes, within your account there is a tool allowing you to analyse the file which will report if it finds a tag, who the file was originally delivered to, when and where they were when they downloaded it.

Should I upload a release which is being given for free (i.e. as a promotion)?

No, as the system searches such free giveaway sites and will consequently remove the release which you are trying to promote.

AudioLock's 24/7 Scanning & Takedown should only be used to protect monetised releases which are specifically available for sale only on certain sites like iTunes, Amazon and Beatport.

How should I upload my releases onto AudioLock?

Albums & EPs are created by grouping uploaded tracks. A minimum of two tracks are required to effectively scan for any size release but the more you upload the more efficient and accurate the results.

When I add tracks should I put in the track number / artist / title / mix or just the track name?

When adding tracks add all the information you have available on that release, including:

  • artist
  • track name
  • mix
  • ISRC (optional used to help the watermarking)

It is essential to ensure this information is accurate and spelt correctly.

Do I upload the tracks in just 320 MP3?

Yes, that's fine for 24/7 Scanning & Takedown. The audio is required to ensure the automated fingerprint matching.

If you wish to use Watermarked Promo Delivery, your release must be uploaded as either an AIFF or WAV file. This is because the higher quality format is required for digital re-encoding and watermark insertion.

The album has 3 different versions, 1 x CD & 2 x digital, does it matter what catalogue number I put in?

It is always best to enter the catalogue number of the digital sales version as that is the one most commonly used by pirates.

If you are only releasing on a non-digital format (e.g. vinyl ) then use the catalogue number of that release.

What is the difference between a 'white' and 'black' labelled site?

A white labelled site is one which we have registered on our system as being a legitimate site. This might be a download store, blog or press article. The system will not attempt to remove your release from these sites.

A black labelled site is one such as a pirate site or file locker where your release may be obtained for free. Our system systematically searches these sites on your behalf, night and day, seven days a week, 365 days per year, to remove any free links to your release.

Can you provide a list of all the AudioLock 'black listed' (pirate sites) you scan?

No, we have spent many years carefully, compiling this list which has taken a great deal of time and money to do. Making it freely available to our competitors isn't something we will do anytime soon.

This list is constantly updated on a daily basis to ensure it is current and accurate. Therefore it grows daily in step with new pirate sites and files lockers as they appear.

Can you provide a list of all the AudioLock 'white listed' (legitimate) sites?

No, see above. As with the blacklisted sites we update this database on a daily basis so it is kept fresh. Though this list is extensive and covers the vast majority of legal download stores new clients are welcome to send us their list so we can ensure specific sites they are working with are white labelled.

Can you protect my release from torrents?

Yes, we send DMCA notices to torrent search sites, which removes most links quickly. We also remove the links to the torrent sites from Google.

Please note that while most torrent search sites do respond to DMCA notices some do not, or take longer to respond. We do continue to send escalating notices and we will ensure the links are removed completely from Google and Bing.

Does AudioLock utilise other fingerprinting systems?

Yes, we work with the following companies:

  • Echo Nest - Open system used by many app developers so if you want your music found it's well worth it.
  • Shazam - This is used by consumers to identify the music they hear (normally Shazam gets the music once it goes to download stores which is after DJs have been playing it)
  • Sound Hound - An open system used by several players to identify music.
  • Sound Mouse - this is used to identify music by the Performing Rights Society (PRS) to distribute royalties.
  • AcoustID - This is an opensource music identification project.

What types of tracks does the system support?

The tags within the music files will work in any format however the system currently supports the following formats for uploading MP3, MP4, M4A, AIFF, WAV, AAC, WMA.

What quality files should I upload?

The system will deliver in a variety of formats and therefore the higher quality file you upload the better the output will sound. We recommend you use 16 bit WAV, AIFF or high bitrate MP3 or MP4 (e.g. 320Kbps).

Is there a file length limit?

The system currently supports individual audio files (tracks/releases) upto 20 minutes in length. We will extend this in the future. You can upload multiple files but each must be under 20 minutes in length.

Can I upload multiple tracks at a time?

You are able to upload upto 2GB of files at a time into the system. If you need more than this we can upload a harddrive for you. Contact us for more information.

Can I integrate the system into my website or web app?

Yes, there is a full API which allows you to manage the delivery of tracks to your users directly through your site. This is particularly useful if you wish to add any of the AudioLock features into your own online systems such as digital promotion systems.

Why do I want to stop piracy, doesn't doing so just make large record labels richer?

Stopping piracy helps artists big and small. It doesn't just support large record labels.

It is a fallacy that piracy is in anyway beneficial. Piracy fundamentally undermines the music industry at all levels. In some ways it hits independent labels, lone artists and producers harder as they generally in a less strong financial position to suffer the loss of income which piracy creates.

If artists cannot afford to produce music less and less new music will be produced. It's that simple. Often the best new music comes from emerging artists who are unsigned. Supporting these people is an essential part of what AudioLock strives to do.

What is the difference between piracy and viral marketing?

Piracy is theft. Viral marketing is intentional promotion. Whilst the former is uncontrolled robbery of a rights holder's material the latter is a controlled means by which rights holders can actively market their material to a chosen audience. True, good viral marketing often extends far beyond the chosen audience (like any popular idea or product) but it is sanctioned to do so by the rights holder.

Piracy, though it might achieve similar ends to viral marketing in terms of reaching a wider audience, is not sanctioned by the artist. It fundamentally undermines the principles behind paying for a good product - in this case quality music. By doing so the future of new music is placed in jeopardy. At a basic level producing music costs money, whether it be in production time taken, or the marketing required to give a new piece of music profile above the deluge of new releases which enter the market daily.

Why are public attitudes to piracy so complacent?

Many people don't view music piracy as theft. This is partly because music downloaded online is not a tangible item, unlike CD's and vinyl. However downloading music online without paying for it is no different to stealing it from a shop. By not paying for the music you listen to the artists who worked hard to produce it will not receive any revenue. This increases the likelihood that they will stop producing new music.

The music industry is like any other; workers need, and must, be remunerated for the job they do.

Why does piracy exist?

Supply and demand; whilst public perceptions of music piracy remain fixed (that downloading music for free which others have worked hard to produce is 'okay') pirate sites will continue to thrive and multiply to respond to the demand for free music.

AudioLock fighting on the behalf of individual rights holders is not sufficient to stem the flow of illegally distributed music. In order for real change to occur, an international sea change in public opinion must happen - that being that individuals stop thinking it's 'okay' to steal someone else's hard work; their music.

Will piracy ever stop?

Unlikely, even if a sea change in public thought to music piracy occurs there will always be individuals who will steal anything - including music. However it is totally feasible to envisage a day when instead of most music obtained online being stolen, it is instead paid for.

Does AudioLock condemn or condone friends sharing music between them?

Neither, how people choose to use their music, and how their friends choose to respond is not our concern. Our mission as a company is to try and stop individuals or entities profiteering from other peoples hard work e.g. pirate sites and file lockers.

How much does piracy actually impact the creative industries?

According to the International Federation for the Phonographic Industry "€240 billion is the estimated cumulative lost retail revenues to the European creative industries from piracy 2008-2015." - International Federation for the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), Digital Music Report 2011, p.5.

What is the IFPI?

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry is the global trade body which represents and protects the interests of major record labels worldwide. Full information about the organisation is available here: http://www.ifpi.org/.

What is the Google Transparency Report?

The report is Google's online resource which details 'reporting organisations' which send the company copyright infringing links to be removed from the search giants pages.

Where does AudioLock rank in the Google Transparency Report?

AudioLock consistently ranks in the top 15 reporting organisations in the world, out of some 12,000+ such companies and content owners. We work closely with Google on your behalf to remove copyright infringing links from the search engine's pages as efficiently as possible.

The Google Transparency Report - comparing AudioLock with other anti-piracy companies

The Google Transparency report offers a search allowing you to easily look up any other antipiracy companies under the 'content reporters'.

Feel free to contact our competition and ask if they can match all of what we offer:

  • Free trial, with full system functionality and live analytics sent to your personal dashboard, which protects two of your tracks or a release for a period of one month.
  • Full real time transparency clearly showing you when, where, which and how many copyright infringing links to your releases our automated system has removed on your behalf.
  • 24/7 Automated Scanning & Takedown of copyright infringing links to your releases for just £5 per release, per month.
  • Highly robust audio watermarking which cannot be decoded, detected or erased (supported by our 24/7 Automated Scanning & Takedown algorithm)
  • Unlimited scanning & takedown, from lockers, torrent search engines Google and Bing, of copyright infringing links to your release(s).
  • No hidden extra charges like some alternative suppliers.