AfterDawn: Tech news

Copyright tool being tested to scan net for infringement

Written by Dave Horvath @ 19 Dec 2006 17:07 User comments (52)

Copyright tool being tested to scan net for infringement A privately owned and operated organization out of Silicon Valley began testing its latest tool in the ever mounting crusade to abolish copyright infringement on the Internet. Attributor Corporation of Redwood City, California developed a tool that can scan the entire contents of the publicly accessable Internet for misuse of copyrighted audio, video, images and even text.
Media companies have been fighting what some may seem a losing battle against copyright infringement and have invested billions in protecting their intellectual property. Attributor Corporation, which was founded a year ago had remained in the shadows until now; ready to swoop in like a guardian angel to those looking to protect their assets. Technology such as this could prove to be a welcomed tool in their arsenal to compliment current DRM practices.

The co-founders of the company, which are ex Yahoo executives, claim to have come up with a proprietary technology that is able to comb large chunks of data from the Internet and scan them thoroughly for any content flagged as licensed to another party. With their practices in their current state, although not deployed, could retrieve some 10 billion web sites by the end of this month.

Not set to become public until first quarter of 2007, Attributor Corp. is already inking deals with $10 million in funding to help move along their project.

Wall Street Journal

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52 user comments

119.12.2006 17:28

Wow...this sounds bad

219.12.2006 17:51

I'll believe it when I see it, but not before.

319.12.2006 18:19

You got to wonder if that will choke up torrents. Not that I know how it will work. I imagine this to create some major problems.

419.12.2006 18:34

This doesn't sound good but it isn't official yet. Plus with the craftiness of pirates they will find holes and such that can get around this.

519.12.2006 18:56

if something like this got out and about, our prisons would be 20% copyright infringers.

copyrights should only persecute those commiting rather than recieving.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 19 Dec 2006 @ 19:01

619.12.2006 19:07

Yeah, ex-yahoo employees. The ones that sell out Chinese citizens speaking out against their government by providing names and addresses to the government authorities. They'd be real good at this stuff.

719.12.2006 19:19

Well to me, software developers will just have to make more freeware applications to deal with all this. Or people can just find out the source code for the programs and just make generic versions of the programs that basically do the same things as the others. e.g AnyDVD & DVD43 Just my 2 cents :)

819.12.2006 20:07

This sounds like the worst news for media sharing since Macrovision! ;) I share MrGrimace's sentiment.

919.12.2006 20:56

"scan them thoroughly for any content flagged as licensed to another party" So if an mp3, for example, isn't tagged/flagged as "Copyrighted", this tool won't report it? And just how many per cent of all the movies and tv series floating in the net ARE flagged as copyrighted?

1019.12.2006 22:37

maybe it goes by the names of files, downloads them, and then they are sampled by a huge team.

1119.12.2006 22:44

Yes, that may be true, but that just makes me think "who authorized them to download all this stuff?" Surely major labels and organizations like MPAA and RIAA probably are involved, but what if they download something they have no right to download - because it is copyrighted? It would be hilarious if someone named a file, say a personal home movie like "The Boondocks on vacation" (The Boondock Saints), they download it, and get sued for downloading it.

1220.12.2006 0:34

Let me guess it wil blow up then infinitely print out a message net is bad destroy the net net is bad EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!

1320.12.2006 0:43

I really doubt that this will work. But hey you never know!

1420.12.2006 1:31

I must be the only one that see the shadow on there logo. lmao. SS

1520.12.2006 1:39

themind internet SS bots,the daleks made real :P

1620.12.2006 4:07

I bet they will make a huge noise and then sell the company to some suc... I mean, investors, like the RIAA and the MPAA...

1720.12.2006 4:30

ok dosent this also mean that those posting things(that is copyrighted) to a public site will be flagged like Itunes and those sites where you can legally download from will light up . but privite website , those that require a password to axcess will be safe because this will not be able to enter to scan with out permission or the will be concidered hacking the website...right? this might help them locate files that are filled with DMR's but as most people have come to know itunes will alow you to burn a cd then re-load the songs to your hard drive using a non-dmr ripper and its a clean mp3 simple but hey its more work and those who dont learn to adapate will get crushed (its kind of like Darwinizim for techs) so the lawsuets will fly but this company will make massive amounts of money off the RIAA good for them

1820.12.2006 4:44

I'll believe it when i see it but could this take out slysoft, DVDIdle, or ripit4me by any chance, i don't really understand how this would work

1920.12.2006 4:57

ok for all of you out there who want to ripe your cds with out dmrs your limited to what you cando but if you have a mp3 player that records fm (and thats a little secret) plug a wirerless transmiter (the one you get with wireless headphones or a fm transmiter you bought for the ipod so it works in your car) in to the speaker output and tune it in on the mp3 player on fm and hit record... clean music ,dmrs dont progect across the airwaves ....

2020.12.2006 5:04

this sounds like a tracker program or a filter program ISPs could use o "block" content. thats the problem blocking content leads to bad things....

2120.12.2006 6:19

that doesn't sound to good, i am wondering about a circumventing software company releasing its patch for this one.

2220.12.2006 7:03

i think this thing is too BAD[good maybe for some] to be true bcoz the internet is so freakign big for this thing to scan everything but heck who knows

2320.12.2006 8:49

Google scans the whole net, and has been doing so for years, but will these idiots have the server capacity to do the same? Probably not, and even so it will be limited to the US, as copyright in my country (Canada)is very open and flexible for interpretation. (Why do you think all the Mod-Chip suppliers are Canadian?) So they'll shut down a bunch of US sites for a few weeks, and they'll all pop back up on Canadian servers anyway. Long-live file sharing!!!!

2420.12.2006 11:20

IT'S ATTACK OF THE DALEK ATTRIBUTOR CORPORATION!!!! SEEK, LOCATE, DESTROY...SEEK, LOCATE, DESTROY... But seriously, y'all need to RTFA. The level of misunderstanding in many of these posts of what Attributor Corp's app will attempt to do is kinda scary. And yes, IMHO it is EVIL.

2520.12.2006 11:51

GrayArea I couldn't help it :P Anyway what is this thing tracking logging so the corp's can find "offenders" better?

2620.12.2006 12:55

The tool will scan the contents of the publicly accessable internet attemting to locate infringing content. If you have ripped a DVD and it is on your hard drive then that's not part of of the publicly accessable Internet. If you post a copyright photo on your myspace page, or post a copyright video to youtube then in theory the Daleks will find and exterminate you. ;-)

2720.12.2006 13:00

GrayArea so basically its like google bots to find info it finds CP/IP violations then flags the content a person will still have to go over it and sort the info out,the more you add it up the less likely this could function "cheaply".

2820.12.2006 15:57

these are the days comming that we miss :) getting all of out bootlegs at music, movie, comic and sci-fi conventions. maybe it will reverse the ways again. who knows, but no mater how much $ anybody spends to stop pirates, there are 100X more people out there that dont get paid to do the opposite. its a losing battle for them. so nobody should worry, where theres a will theres a way. lol

2920.12.2006 21:52

proprietary technology that is able to comb large chunks of data from the Internet and scan them thoroughly for any content flagged as licensed to another party
The only way it can do this effectively is by downloading the media files, and/or initiating many "bot" sessions on whatever sites it is targeting. That might land this tool into some legal trouble as this is close to a DDoS attack, clogging up the remote network and slowing down the response of targeted servers for everyone. Simple solution is to block the IPs of this crap with your firewall, or better yet, at the router level. In fact, some more advanced firewalls can limit the queries per second that any single IP can initiate, as well as the amount of data that can be requested per session.

3020.12.2006 22:54


so how do they plan on implementing this? Like if they deem and downloading torrents illegal whats next? Technically isnt it p2p? How about you put those resources and money into looking into the writers of malware apps? Doesnt that sound like a better idea. That might actually help people instead of filling the pockets of OVERPAID Movie and Music executives? Think about it........


3121.12.2006 1:17

ZippyG mmm I was thinking soemthign more akin to info bots find info and links then test the links to see if good then create a threat assignment then send the data into a database and flag matrail thusly. Say youtube has a "illicit" video it would test to see if the content is there if the video is there then it would add the data into the database prioritizing it with a site like youtube a bot could sent in a email but with others a person would have to be involved. For torrents it could do soemthign like this put find all the links and such add to the data base then "track" it using there own BTC plus they can test the data to see if tis legit from there things get tricky threats to the host,the site owner or offshore track and hack tactics to sue indavenails.

3221.12.2006 15:19

Let's assume that they get this thing up & running, and it works PERFECTLY - exactly the way they planned. Now what? These Yahoos now have a 10-billion-entry list of infringing content. Are they gonna ALSO track down EACH of the copyright holders & offer to sell them this information? Where will they find all of THOSE names, and how will they contact them? But if you're aware that a crime is being committed, and you DON'T inform the authorities, you're an ACCOMPLICE. If you insist on being PAID to report the crime, you're an EXTORTIONIST or BLACKMAILER. Obviously, that can't be their business model. So what then? My guess is that they'll only search for material owned by THEIR SUBSCRIBERS - companies that pay them to do the searching. So it's like RIAA/MPAA for any company that doesn't have enough resources to mount that kind of investigation itself, but feels it can increase it's profitability by suing its (would-be) customer base.

3321.12.2006 16:00

It starts at copyright and finishes at something similar to Orwell's 1984. But at least the creator s can make a shitload of money =D . Damm, I wish I had that much.

3421.12.2006 16:37

Someone here mentioned it might not work or should not work in password protected sights.So what if you just had to use a password to get into a torrent site for example.If I want to get into Acme Torrents I would have to use my password.Sounds to simple to work,but could it?

3521.12.2006 16:53

What a bunch of croc..... It's always greed of some sort. Those friggen AA's always looking for some rambo to save them. Per se, I quite dont get their drift? I mean, how in the hell can u scan the whole net. Then what, try to point the finger at some website that was considered to be red flagged or guilty of copy righted material. What a bunch of kroc.......keep dreaming.

3621.12.2006 17:18

I'd say it scans the Meta tags.

3721.12.2006 19:55

mmm I was thinking soemthign more akin to info bots find info and links then test the links to see if good then create a threat assignment then send the data into a database and flag matrail thusly. Say youtube has a "illicit" video it would test to see if the content is there if the video is there then it would add the data into the database prioritizing it with a site like youtube a bot could sent in a email but with others a person would have to be involved. For torrents it could do soemthign like this put find all the links and such add to the data base then "track" it using there own BTC plus they can test the data to see if tis legit from there things get tricky threats to the host,the site owner or offshore track and hack tactics to sue indavenails.
Maybe they know something I don't, but as a web developer myself I do a lot of programming and I've created various "site scrape" type of programs that use regex (regular expressions) to extract desired content from certain websites. It's commonly used by businesses to check prices on competitors websites, by spammers to harvest emails, and by search engines to index websites. Now I'm not saying that regex is the most advanced stuff around, in fact it's ancient, but unless they have some sort of AI going on it's unlikely they can accurately identify one type of media from another UNLESS the media itself is encoded with a fingerprint. If it does have a fingerprint, then chances are high that the DRM of the media file is intact and that file is "legit". This would mean that any media file without a tag is fair game. My guess is that their technology is more flash and hype than actual ability or function. They created it with the intention to make a few bucks off the MPAA/RIAA's greed. In my opinion, that's a great market to hit right now because you know the big two are so desperate they'll try almost anything to regain the control they used to have...and they got loads of money.

3821.12.2006 20:06

again, why not drop the copyright junk, issue generic brown sleeve dvds and cds or just make them dowloadable, reduce the cost to where it is not worth burning it and problem solved. way too simple huh?

3921.12.2006 20:10

ZippyG I am a advanced layman I know just enough to piss everyone off,add I look for polish(not perfect jsut extra options like button mapping for FPS's audio/voice/music controls well balanced weapons,level design) and fun(frustration,annoyance need not apply to gaming ahrd levels are one thing fcked up cookie cutter controls is another..) in games and I piss even more people off. TO me this looks like a "bot" program it looks for info stores it with a staff of people to do something with this info its almost pointless to hunt for the data nuggets altogether. unless the corporations are willing to spend milloins a year to have some large black booted cloak wear watcher group "track data" see this working well I do not. ------------- cappyx because without the goverment stepping in and forceing the corperations to play fair via regulation/tax it will never happen and regulation is wishful thinking as well sadly.

4021.12.2006 22:04

Is the atrocious standard and bastardization of the English language the norm now?

4121.12.2006 22:53

^^ You know I just don't know. Download this

4221.12.2006 22:57

gat1949 is being a grammar nazi how you get your kicks?

4322.12.2006 2:43

ZippyG I think Steve83 hasw got it right. These guys have a search engine and they will hunt out infringements for hire. The clients will provide what the engine will be looking for. The Co will need to work with the client to zero in on what to look for. The Co is not going to expend their resources for non paying clients. Lets face it storing all the copyright info for 10 billion web sites will fill up a few hard disks. Then what do you do once you have it? As hard nosed as the media mafia is, they are not taking many persons to court. Litigation is a double edged sword. They (media mafia) are just pressuring the P2Ps into being more careful which results in a big slow down. They are mainly taking the innocent and stupid to court. Mostly the innocent, the stupid pay up. You need to realize the Co is just trying to make money. To do that, they just need a plausable scheam that can produce some results. That will provide plenty of work to any sized team.

4422.12.2006 4:46

Big Brother is coming. These guys are trying to make money, just like everyone else. They are "Hired Guns" offering to do others dirty work. Where will this all end? As long as we are all zombies that keep giving so much money to the big media companies they will try to protect their investments. Go out and have a real life and quit giving these people so much money.

4522.12.2006 7:46

A scam to sucker corporate entertainment executives into funding an R&D program that promises an automated approach to finding and fleecing moderate violators, the serious violators will always find a way around any restrictions. Also spawns a host of so-called protection software that targets attacks by the corporate boogie men. Once again everyone wins except the average consumer who is worried about losing their privacy and is responding to yet another round of fear mongering !

4622.12.2006 11:30

Pah. Don't worry, We'll just get the IP's added to PeerGuardian's lists. But they still should be sued for DOS attacks. Ben

4722.12.2006 12:39

I just hope there's a Viodentia to crack this pup

4822.12.2006 17:12

I guess VPN's and the TOR and Freenet projects will suddenly become more popular...

4922.12.2006 23:13

Tom Vs. Jerry!

5025.12.2006 17:32

It will not either be apparent or be seen as significant that the whole "thing" about internet copyright began with the multinational cult of "the Church of" Scientology attacking its ex-members for continuing to be "believers" and using so called "church property". COS has an interest far greater than the monetary value generally placed on what it claims as it's intellectual property. It is an organization with totalitarian goals and will invest ANY amount to covert its perceived ownership of copyright on the works of the Late L Ron Hubbard. This tool is typical of their thinking, and is likely to be funded by them. It already developed censorship software that must installed on COS member's computers. Other forms of copyright infringement take a back seat if you would know anything about the goals of this group. So there is a vested interest in creating paranoia by them as well as their alleged main enemy... as well as the usual software copyright infringement fraternity. Big Brother is wearing different clothes than deemed by popular culture. But I am sure you find this out for yourselves soon enough.

5125.12.2006 20:29

Scenario 1: this project gets up and running. It finds all violators. all violators are convicted and are forced to pay huge sums of money to copyright holders. piracy ends. Scenario 2: It fails. Scenario 3: this project gets up and running. it attempts to find all violators. it finds some. the proper authorities are deployed to said locations. at said locations while the proper authorities attempt to retrieve infringed data, they stumble across strategically placed mines containing anthrax. they are all infected and die. Attributor Corporation abandons ridiculous project and we all go back to doing what we love.

5226.12.2006 5:56

Will hackers/crackers be seeking a peek at this software?

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