February 10, 2005 10:00 AM PST

Movie blackout for P2P networks?

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a database of these fingerprints. If a match is found, the file can be blocked.

The trick is to make that identification process work even if the file is compressed, turned into a different computer file format or otherwise changed slightly. For a song, this means basing the fingerprint on the music's acoustical properties, rather than on the ones and zeros that make up a given digital file.

The video process is similar, but would use visual characteristics of individual video frames instead of audio qualities.

"Using the audio track makes a lot of sense with a lot of titles...That capability is done and tested and works."
--Vance Ikezoye, CEO,
Audible Magic

That makes the process a challenge, however. A two-hour movie contains far more material than a four-minute pop song. A good fingerprinting technique must be able to identify the movie even if parts of it are being downloaded out of order, or if some bits have been cut out, Maandonks said.

Facing these hurdles, Audible Magic is already going down a different road with its software. It has already added the capability to strip out the audio from a video file and use its audio fingerprinting techniques to identify a film. That requires less processing power and can be done with more certainty today, the company said.

"Using the audio track makes a lot of sense with a lot of titles," said Vance Ikezoye, CEO of Audible Magic. "That capability is done and tested and works."

Movie studios still tentative
Even if proven successful, it could be years before video fingerprinting starts putting up real roadblocks to film-swappers.

That's largely because the identification technology isn't enough by itself. A massive database of fingerprints also needs to be created, which means that studios or third parties have to run millions of hours of movies, TV shows and other video through fingerprinting tools.

Ikezoye said his company has worked with some studios to develop a small test database. Philips said it has had discussions with studios, but isn't yet to the point of developing the needed fingerprint library.

A Motion Picture Association of America executive said the group is looking closely at ways of identifying films online, but is focused more specifically on watermarking, a means of embedding extra code that helps track the origin of pirated copies. That technique has been particularly useful in the MPAA's effort to keep Oscar-nominated films offline.

"Video and audio watermarking for forensic data embedding is becoming an important tool in content owners' battle with piracy," said Brad Hunt, the MPAA's chief technology officer. "These technologies are proving to be quite useful and reliable in pinpointing the initial source of piracy."

As with previous file-swapping issues, the studios are likely to watch what's happening in the music business for clues to their own future. There, Fanning's Snocap is close to launching a service that can turn file-swapping networks into song stores such as Apple Computer's iTunes by identifying music and asking downloaders to pay for it.

Snocap executives say their tools could also be used to sell movies once the video fingerprinting technology is completed. They say they are completely focused on the music business today, however.

For now, Philips is realistic about the challenges ahead.

"We're careful with predicting what and when," Maandonks said. "We hope to have a better version available at the end of the year or the beginning of next year."

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How do these two statements jive...
...with each other?

From the cNet article:
"A Motion Picture Association of America executive said the group is looking closely at ways of identifying films online, but is focused more specifically on watermarking, a means of embedding extra code that helps track the origin of pirated copies. That technique has been particularly useful in the MPAA's effort to keep Oscar-nominated films offline."

And this:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-piracy10feb10.story" target="_newWindow">http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-piracy10feb10.story</a>

"One year after the Motion Picture Assn. of America began its highly publicized campaign against pre-Oscar piracy, the problem is even worse.

There are significantly more Academy Award screeners of movies available on the Internet for downloading than there were last year, according to websites that track online piracy, including all five films nominated for best picture."
Posted by ordaj (338 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A flawed technology designed to appeal to an industry of idiots.
and by idiots I mean the content industry. The simple fact this technology has no hope of succeeding. In an attempt to show how futile attempts to control P2P are Ed Felton wrote the world smallest P2P app, Tiny P2P in just 15 lines of Python (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/tinyp2p.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/tinyp2p.html</a>). This brings me to my next point, there are a lot of open source P2P application and it wouldn't be hard for a programmer to remove the finger printing technology and recompile the application. For closed source P2P application attempts to fingerprint content can easily be fustrated with encryption. WinZip now includes 256 bit AES encryption. It seems to me that anyone who toutes this type of fingerprinting technology as a solution doesn't know what they're talking about.

I have two words for the MPAA and RIAA and the first one is four letters and starts with an F.
Posted by unknown unknown (1951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Saying that it will de-incrype files will take absurd amounts of time. Also, to go to the internet and confirm theese files, store a huge database of of music, it will all cost more than they save by removing piracy.
Posted by Shadow_Phoenix (1 comment )
Link Flag
I Agree
There are numerous ways to thwart any finger printing scheme that the industry can conjure up. It is a waste of effort trying to do this. If they really want to stop P2P swapping of movies, they should make their products cheaper than the actual bandwidth &#38; time it costs to download it from a P2P source. They would probably make a lot more profit by doing anyways.
Posted by (5 comments )
Link Flag
Penalty for downloading!
just wanted to share this... you can receive a harsher sentence for downloading then stealing the physical product? wow..

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://offtheshelf.nowis.com/index.cfm?ID=5" target="_newWindow">http://offtheshelf.nowis.com/index.cfm?ID=5</a>
Posted by dudehehe78 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Read the letter closely
There is a cease and desist letter link included as the basis for the link you posted. If you go to the bottom of the letter you will notice the file names listed by MGM, "dvdrip". That shows that it wasn't a recording of an "on-air broadcast" that is freely available to anyone with a TV and Antenna but was ripped off a purchased DVD of the show. I have no problem with them going after people posting dvdrips of TV shows but I have a MAJOR dissagreement with them attacking people trading broadcast recordings.
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
What are they smoking
like all the piracy guards, this will only stop idiots from ripping .... and idiots arnt usually the onese distributing it over major p2p networks.

1) High level encryption... all countries execpet USA can use incredibly stupidly high encryption algos which cant be cracked within the lifetime of earth (based on current technology).. encryption poses 2 problems
a) the fingerprinter will have to be able to identify the encryption method
b) it will have to have a copy of the key to decrypt it.

this makes it HIGHLY unlikely that any "datapassthroughs" servers are going to pick it up.... if they did .. dont even think about using the internet ever again.. it will have to brute force decrypt everything from html documents to linux isos, just to be shure they're not an advancely encrypted video.

2) "in-cinema rips" -- ie: that made with a camcorder in a movie cinemea.. is it going to detect these as well? analog fingerprinting methods rely on the image being more or less identical visually to the original,.. this is usually done by "tinting" certain regions of the screen at a very low level .. sorta like a very faint over-printed barcode. If you insert too much noise... like shakey hands... pixel missalignments ... these watermarks can become unreadable...

i expect they're gonna need very sophisticated hardware to do this... not only does it have to decode the video, it has to convert a sequence of video frames into RGB images to analyise for patterns...

if they are going to implement this... i hope they have deep pockets... cos its going to either screw the internet... or simply not work without needing scores of paddocks of sophisticated hardware (an effective inverse rendering farm)
Posted by (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yahoo2- blocks p2p networks
Yahoo declined to include my website Movie Networks Dot Org ,in their Search Marketing advertising program. The reason is because I have links that open to p2p download sites. The only reason you may see such sites advertised by Yahoo ! Is simply because they have not had the time to expunge them yet.The guidelines changed two months ago and will be implemeted ASAP. Do I blame Yahoo?
I blame them for attempting to take $30.00 dollars from me for a failed,declined ,campaign. I do not begrudge them for their actions as I have reservations about the p2p technology , after having my website sabotaged with a triple xxx hardcore porn movie mixed in with cartoons
.this resullted from my copying java script and putting a mini widget on my website. p2p may have seen its better days.
Posted by le blogue (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag

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