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Copyright Tool Scans Web For Violations

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the he-knows-when-you've-been-bad-or-good dept.

Patents 185

The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a tech start-up that proposes to offer the ultimate in assurance for content owners. Attributor Corporation is going to offer clients the ability to scan the web for their own intellectual property. The article touches on previous use of techniques like DRM and in-house staff searches, and the limited usefulness of both. They specifically cite the pending legal actions against companies like YouTube, and wonder about what their attitude will be towards initiatives like this. From the article: "Attributor analyzes the content of clients, who could range from individuals to big media companies, using a technique known as 'digital fingerprinting,' which determines unique and identifying characteristics of content. It uses these digital fingerprints to search its index of the Web for the content. The company claims to be able to spot a customer's content based on the appearance of as little as a few sentences of text or a few seconds of audio or video. It will provide customers with alerts and a dashboard of identified uses of their content on the Web and the context in which it is used. The content owners can then try to negotiate revenue from whoever is using it or request that it be taken down. In some cases, they may decide the content is being used fairly or to acceptable promotional ends. Attributor plans to help automate the interaction between content owners and those using their content on the Web, though it declines to specify how."

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Wager (3, Insightful)

Baricom (763970) | more than 7 years ago | (#17300868)

Anybody care to place a friendly wager that they're not going to honor robots.txt?

i don't like robots.txt anyway. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17300956)

If you don't want it on the public Web, don't put it there in the first place.

Re:i don't like robots.txt anyway. (5, Informative)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301150)

You're absolutely right that "if you don't want it on the public Web, don't put it there in the first place" -- but there are still times when you have a legitimate reason that you don't want a page indexed, downloaded, or otherwise visited by a robot. Dynamically generated content is one example reason; sometimes certain pages can be a big drain on your website, and you'd prefer not to have every spider in the world hitting them up every few minutes.

Let's take a fun legitimate site like, oh... Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :

# Folks get annoyed when VfD discussions end up the number 1 google hit for
# their name. See bugzilla bug #4776
# en:
Disallow: /wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/
Disallow: /wiki/Wikipedia%3AArticles_for_deletion/
Disallow : /wiki/Wikipedia:Votes_for_deletion/
Disallow: /wiki/Wikipedia%3AVotes_for_deletion/
Disallow: /wiki/Wikipedia:Pages_for_deletion/
Disallow: /wiki/Wikipedia%3APages_for_deletion/
Disallow: /wiki/Wikipedia:Miscellany_for_deletion/
Disallow : /wiki/Wikipedia%3AMiscellany_for_deletion/
Disall ow: /wiki/Wikipedia:Miscellaneous_deletion/
Disallow: /wiki/Wikipedia%3AMiscellaneous_deletion/
Disallo w: /wiki/Wikipedia:Copyright_problems
Disallow: /wiki/Wikipedia%3ACopyright_problems
(They also disallow certain specially generated pages like Special:Random, and any of the pages which actually let you edit the site).

Let's see, what are some other sites? Ooh. Take a look at Slashdot's robots.txt [slashdot.org] ! (disallows a variety of fun pages.) Microsoft's? [microsoft.com] How about whitehouse.gov [whitehouse.gov] ? Google [google.com] ?

Re:i don't like robots.txt anyway. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301894)

I did that a while ago to my universitys website and found an excel spreadsheet that was used as in inventory of chemicals, what room they were in, and the access codes to the rooms. No I didn't do anything with said information.

Re:i don't like robots.txt anyway. (1)

Monoliath (738369) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301954)

Yeah, see, intelligent people understand this concept, but those with dollar signs in their eyes and ass just 'don't get it'.

This is only going to fuel the fire and cause programmers to write scripts to screw up such scans.

I think someone said it best in another post earlier on today in another article:

"Freedom never gets easier to defend"

Raise. (3, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301006)

> Anybody care to place a friendly wager that they're not going to honor robots.txt?

127.0.0.1: $ cat robots.txt
# robots.txt for 127.0.0.1
# This file is copyright 2006 by me.
User-agent: AttributorCorporationDMCABot
Disallow: *

And if they do honor robots.txt, I'll be able to sue the fuckers for infringing on my copyright, because they must have read it in order to honor it.

Re:Raise. (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301046)

Good luck with that.

Unless you also sell a few companies and put together a few billion as a stake to hand over to attorneys I suspect you'll fare as poorly as everyone else does.

Re:Raise. (2, Insightful)

rhartness (993048) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301176)

You know, I've actually had a thought along those lines in trying to explain to untechnologically savvy individuals why Digital Rights laws are screwed up and that handling digital content on the web is a grey area. Consider the following.

Most web sites have a copyright statement on them some where (even this one!). Technically speaking, if I go to that web site, my browser copies the page along with all it's media content and caches it. Since many of those sites do not have a terms of service posted allowing the viewing of the content through regular web browsing my computer is therefore violating copyright laws, right?

Every single web user out there is breaking the law!

Re:Raise. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301314)

Since many of those sites do not have a terms of service posted allowing the viewing of the content through regular web browsing my computer is therefore violating copyright laws, right?

No.

Re:Raise. (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301192)

Reading something does not violate its copyright. If they distribute copies of robots.txt you might have a case of some sort.

Re:Raise. (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301324)

Reading something does not violate its copyright. If they distribute copies of robots.txt you might have a case of some sort.

how can you read it on the web then without having made a copy of it somewhere on your computer... you've pulled in a copy of it using your browser, there is now a copy of it in ram and also maybe in the cache... so you've made at least two unauthorised copies.

Re:Raise. (5, Funny)

Mayhem178 (920970) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301304)

127.0.0.1: $ cat robots.txt
# robots.txt for 127.0.0.1
# This file is copyright 2006 by me.
User-agent: AttributorCorporationDMCABot
Disallow: *


Hahaha! You screwed up! I have your IP address now! I will send 127.0.0.1 to every company that uses the sniffer and tell them the person at that IP is an evil, evil person who exploits innocent people for their own profit and power!

Re:Raise. (1)

eosp (885380) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301872)

And then when the FBI knocks on your door asking for that IP...

Re:Raise. (3, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301496)

You joke, of course, of course, but there are tools out there to detect when a bot is abusing your site and not following robots.txt. The usual technique is to hide a few links in your page, and also have these links blocked by robots.txt. When a user visits the link, they're banned from viewing the site. (Sometimes, a CAPTCHA-like utility for unblocking yourself is presented along with the 403 page, in the event that a particularly curious user manages to find the link and activate it manually.)

Buzzkill (1)

edraven (45764) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301614)

Sure I get that it's a joke. But that being said, A) you don't have to label something as copyrighted for it to be protected by copyright. Copyright is granted the moment you produce an original creative work. However, B) there's nothing creative about the contents of your robots.txt file. Labelling something as copyrighted doesn't make it copyrighted.

robots.txt can be bypassed. .htaccess may not (1)

Psicopatico (1005433) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301888)

127.0.0.1:/www/htdocs/: $ cat .htaccess

RewriteEngine On
Options FollowSymLinks
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} AttributorCorporationDMCABot
RewriteRule ^.*$ error.html [L]
Please do not forget to enable mod_rewrite in your apache2 configuration. Check manual if needed.

Freedom Tool Scans For +1, Patriotistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301200)

for Democracy Violations [whitehouse.org] .

Sincerely,
K. Trout, EX-patriot

P.S: F The President

Re:Wager (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301234)

Anybody care to place a friendly wager that they're not going to honor robots.txt?

Who cares? If they don't lie in their User-agent you can just block your entire site. And why wouldn't you? They are leeching your bandwidth and you get nothing in return.

If they do lie then their scanning would appear to be a clear breach of the unauthorized access provisions of the UK Computer Misuse Act 1990, a criminal offence.

Re:Wager (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301256)

"The company claims to be able to spot a customer's content based on the appearance of as little as a few sentences of text or a few seconds of audio or video."

Uh, isn't this de-minimis?

Re:Wager (2, Informative)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301542)

Another company "Cyveillance" already does this for major corporations and the government. I've used htaccess rules to disallow all from their assigned netblocks after they racked up almost 20,000 hits to my personal site in one day. As you mentioned, they didn't follow robots.txt and attempted to index parts of my site that are password protected as well as content names that did not exist (music and videos and such), all the while identifying their bot as a variant of IE.

Here's how to block two subnets using htaccess and mod_rewrite on apache:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} "^63\.148\.99\.2(2[4-9]|[3-4][0-9]|5[0-5])$" [OR]
RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} "^63\.146\.13\.6([4-9]|[7-8][0-9]|9[0-5])$"
Rewri teRule ^(.*)$ - [F]
Line 1 activates the rewrite engine
Line 2 sets the condition to include remote addresses 63.148.99.224-255 and includes [OR] to allow further processing
Line 3 sets the condition to include remote addresses 63.146.13.64-95
Line 4 sets the rule that any url be forbidden

So, save your bandwidth by denying access to your content from unauthorized viewers (bots)

Re:Wager (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301652)

I already block 38.x.x.x because of some jokers using the PSI block for similar robots.txt ignorant site ripping.

We make a collection of large documents availiable in multiple formats (txt, xml, html, swx, pdf and doc), guess what the genius copyright enforcers did? If they'd repeated from another netblock I would have followed through with abuse tickets.

We could always use HTTP auth, then again so could sites doing unauthorized redistribution of copyright materials. That renders the entire "content policing" concept totally worthless.

Re:Wager (1)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301830)

If they dont honor them, I will bet that the new startup's ip address blocks are filtered at most routers though.

Would they turn to hacking? (1)

Tarinth (1038652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301858)

I can imagine this progression of events:

1) They don't honor robots.txt
2) Sites that don't want to be scanned by them will add code to their rewriting rules and/or dynamic pages so that their search bot gets directed to a dead-end page.
3) The search engine needs to be modified in such a way to hide its identity, operate through proxies, etc., in an attempt to get around #2.

Upon 3, are they criminally liable for hacking?

Can't they just use google or torrent sites? (3, Informative)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17300870)

Can't they just use google or torrent sites?
If users can find items they want, presumably the copyright holders could use the same methods...

Re:Can't they just use google or torrent sites? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301080)

Oh my God, they've discovered Google [google.com] !

Re:Can't they just use google or torrent sites? (2, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301266)

And the opposite situation shows why this tool is a waste of time.

Imagine a tool where you could reliably return accurate and search results for images and video. Does this exist yet? No, as one who searches the web daily for pics and video for my own sordid uses, let me assure you that it most certainly does not yet exist.

And what an horrific waste to have such a tool - if it works - for policing content for copyright violations. Bearing in mind also that such "violations" are no such thing in some countries, regardless of the imperial arrogance of media companies.

As always, and tell your family and friends, only buy music directly from the artist or secondhand. It's the only way to win.

Re:Can't they just use google or torrent sites? (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301366)

As always, and tell your family and friends, only buy music directly from the artist or secondhand. It's the only way to win.

or else make it yourself... but then again you've got to pay the nickel for the bl00dy sheet music or tabs... and they don't half try to rip you off there as well... it's that or write your own... and then try and stop them from ripping you off...

Dupe (1)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17300882)

Pretty sure this is a dupe, or so closely related to an earlier story as to not matter. Anyway, to recast points made earlier, how hard will it really be to "smudge" these digital fingerprints? Its not really different than any other DRM, and has the same issues involved. Also, who thinks that someone is going to pay for this service, and then allow their works to remain for promotional reasons? They are going to sue the heck out of the person violating copyright.

Re:Dupe (1)

xlordtyrantx (958605) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301042)

Pretty sure this is a dupe, or so closely related to an earlier story as to not matter
Yessir, I remembered that too .. http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/12/05/134622 9 [slashdot.org]
One example would be Audible Magic, a 'fingerprinting program' for video released a few days ago that promises to use peculiarities of recording and editing to tag and identify forbidden material.

Re:Dupe (2, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301064)

Pretty sure this is a dupe, or so closely related to an earlier story as to not matter.

It's not a dupe. (Unless you count anything that appears on Digg first to be a dupe.) However, it's also not the first story of its kind. About a gazillion companies have formed with the exact same business plan (save for the "hotness" at the time being digital music) and about a gazillion of those companies have failed to develop software that catches anything but the most obvious infractions.

Every so often, some RIAA/MPAA fair-haired boy manages to get funding for yet another attempt. He then fails miserably and the cycle repeats. You'd think the investors would learn. Unfortunately, they keep getting dazzled by the latest, buzzword-compliant technologies.

Re:Dupe (3, Interesting)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301106)

Since copyright lasts a long time and doesn't depend on being defended like trademark, there will be some allowances "for promotional reasons" like this:
  1. Leak copywritten material in easy to copy format to places where it will be copied
  2. Watch viral marketing campaign take over
  3. Profit
  4. Wait 'til revenue falls
  5. Find infringers using new scan tools
  6. Sue them
  7. Profit more!!!

Re:Dupe (1)

PTBarnum (233319) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301196)

How do DRM and fingerprinting have the same issues involved? One is trying to prevent you from decoding a file you possess, and the other is trying to recognize it. The usually stated problem with DRM is that they have to give you both the content and the key, thus it really just amounts to security by obscurity.

While it would certainly be a difficult AI problem to write software that can recognize music or video as well as a human can, I see no reason why it should be theoretically impossible. If you try to change the file so much that it is no longer recognizable to the software, what guarantee is there that it will still be recognizable to humans? When I download the latest episode of my favorite TV show, I want it to be a high fidelity copy, not a badly distorted mess.

I concede that the level of distortion necessary to defeat recognition by today's technology is probably very minor and not noticeable by humans, but unlike DRM, there is no fundamental guarantee that software recognition will always be so lame.

A real use on /. (2, Funny)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301842)

The editors could run this tool just on /. to check for dupes!

Oh noez!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17300906)

Yeah, so what? Is it unknown that the internet is 98% of illegal crap?

Re:Oh noez!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301048)

Yeah. 98% is illegal crap. The rest is GOOD illegal stuff.

buh (5, Insightful)

lucky130 (267588) | more than 7 years ago | (#17300910)

"as little as a few sentences of text or a few seconds of audio or video"

Like quotations in a paper, or video snippets in an educational presentation?

Re:buh (1)

brouski (827510) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301356)

The software won't know the difference of course.

I suppose it will be up to the copyright owner to determine whether any given hit is actionable.

Re:buh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301490)

I suppose it will be up to the copyright owner to determine whether any given hit is actionable.

Hopefully the copyright owners will actually go through steps to determine if action needs to be pursued rather than the apparent tactics of the RIAA. Unfortunately though I fear the later. Imagine all those slide shows people have put together with the family photographs and some song in the background. I doubt that most of them contain original work.

Jim

Re:buh (1)

silentounce (1004459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301426)

Yes, it flags them. Then you can check the source to see if they are infringing on the entire document. I doubt anyone is going to come down hard on something if it is only a two second sample or a few sentences and the source is notated.

Re:buh (4, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301574)

You're assuming anyone is going to manually verify any of the results. From my experience with people using monitoring software (especially non-techies who are simply consumers of the technology, but who provided the money for it), the vast majority of them are simply going to call their lawyers when they see the dashboard light up. I see vast letter writing campaigns come from this, with little actual infringing being prosecuted.

This is a scary product. Not so much because of the technology behind it, but because of how it is going to be implemented and (ab)used.

No fear ! (1)

Rastignac (1014569) | more than 7 years ago | (#17300914)

There's no copyrighted pirated things on my computer, so I don't fear th+++$£%+ NO CARRIER

Spam obfuscation techniques suddenly useful... (1)

scottsk (781208) | more than 7 years ago | (#17300916)

Seems like spam obfuscation techniques will be useful against this sort of scan, too, if someone really wanted to infringe on copyright.

At least somebody knows it: (1)

Veetox (931340) | more than 7 years ago | (#17300920)

"'We all know that as soon as somebody comes up with a way to secure a piece of property, somebody else will come within days and crack it,' says Lawrence Iser." ...It's the damn-hard truth...

Property? (2, Insightful)

Cybert4 (994278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301258)

Asshole lawyer.

My first thought.. (1)

FunWithKnives (775464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17300974)

My first thought upon reading this is that we're going to the this type of thing [zdnet.com.au] on a wider scale. I wouldn't doubt it for a second. Corporations in this age have a tendency to blindly target anyone for anything relating to copyright or trademark.

I guess we just have to wait and see. Maybe these companies' collective IQ has suddenly jumped twenty points or so.

Yeah.. good luck with that. (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17300986)

The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a tech start-up that proposes to offer the ultimate in assurance for content owners.
This almost had me going until the second half of the sentence. When has anyone ever offered any product as the "ultimate" anything that ultimately proved to actually ultimately be the ultimate whatever it was?

Re:Yeah.. good luck with that. (1)

banerjek (1040522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301062)

This almost had me going until the second half of the sentence. When has anyone ever offered any product as the "ultimate" anything that ultimately proved to actually ultimately be the ultimate whatever it was?

My reaction was similar. I'm wondering how they intend to do an effective scan without getting locked out of everything. It's not nice to systematically scan systems and download files. Many folks will treat that as an attack and take appropriate measures.

Fighting an avalanche with a snow shovel (4, Insightful)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 7 years ago | (#17300994)

Doesn't this merely serve to point out the absurdity of "Intellectual Property"?

Re:Fighting an avalanche with a snow shovel (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301066)

no it just points to the efforts required to stop freelaoding scumbags taking other peoples hard work.

Re:Fighting an avalanche with a snow shovel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301682)

It seems it also points to the effort required by freeloading scumbags taking other peoples' hard work.

What is the moral difference between a cartel using its de facto control over the industry to profit from others' works and pirates distributing said works for no profit?

Re:Fighting an avalanche with a snow shovel (1)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301272)

TheWoozle,

Today's world of copy protection is voluntary. You have the right to produce content that people want and to waive copyright on it. That's your free choice. Are you doing that? If not, then why not?

Yeah (3, Interesting)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301020)

FTFA:

If it works, it's a fantastic invention


Its purpose aside, yes, it would be a fantastic thing to be able to scan the entire web and reliably identify the context and content of any specific media file type. Video, audio, image, etc. Particularly if it could identify purposely obfuscated content.

I'm in what is almost certainly a tiny minority of Slashdotters in that I actually create copyrightable material rather than only consume it. I'm again in the minority in that I think copyrights are a good thing and again in the minority in that I can separate out the purpose of copyrights and the evil actions of the legal arms of **AA companies.

Regardless, while scanning the internet for improperly used material sounds great on paper this will probably end up being as effective as finding water with a divining rod. The current tactic of locking down things at the hardware and OS levels will get more support from the media companies, not that they seem all that good at choosing tactics when the internet is involved.

Re:Yeah (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301166)

There's a wide gulf between copyright being a good idea in concept and being sensibly implemented in it's current form.

Not everyone that creates content thinks that draconian enforcement attempts are a good idea, or even in the best interests of those that create content.

If your work can't survive in the marketplace, which includes the prospect of everyone on the planet getting to use it for free, then perhaps you should get some sort of more conventional day job.

The difference between a game that sells 50K and one that sells 5 Million has nothing to do with DRM.

Re:Yeah (4, Interesting)

AdamKG (1004604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301346)

and again in the minority in that I can separate out the purpose of copyrights and the evil actions of the legal arms of **AA companies.
Let's make one thing clear: the RIAA/MPAA lawsuits are not, in any way, shape, or form, an abuse, negative side of, misapplication or malicious use of Copyrights. They fulfill the role of Copyrights in the first place; they are the logical end result of a system that says citizens are allowed to distribute ideas (or expressions of ideas), then stop any further distribution of them.

The **AA lawsuits are ridiculous, yes. But the ridiculous part is not the litigation itself, it's the laws on which the lawsuits are brought under.

Re:Yeah (3, Interesting)

kanweg (771128) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301440)

I'm a patent attorney and no stranger to IP. Having said that, any IP law is, or at least should be, a balance to on the one hand freedom to operate (both for IP users and for IP creators) and on the other hand a means for compensation for IP creators. For patents, that balance is not there for patents on software. Also for patents, at least they last for 20 years max. For copyright, that balance is not there. And I'm curious to hear whether you think it is a good thing that whatever you create is still under copyright more than 40 years after you die.

Bert

Re:Yeah (1)

fatman22 (574039) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301936)

Copyrights and patents are there to protect the ownership of, and distribution/licensing rights to, original works created or invented by people. They should belong solely to the creator(s) or inventor(s) of the works or ideas and be nontransferable and non-inheritable.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301734)

Hell, most slashdotters do create copyrightable material. That email you sent to your sysadmin? Copyrightable (oops, almost said girlfriend there). That comment you wrote on Slashdot? Copyrightable (well, nevermind. Most are dupes).

Copyright © me, 2006

Thank goodness... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301026)

... someone is finally looking out for the little guy, the defenseless one who is always run over roughshod and never has the resources to defend himself... thank goodness someone is finally defending the copyright holder.

and in little pieces, they will consume bandwidth (1)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301028)

roughly equal to the entire volume of the publically available internet..

think about it, to do what they say, they have to request ALL the data they can lay their hands on,
and then chuck it.. and for comparative purposes, they'll have to do it again.

so Sony hires 'jfm copyright trackers'
and microsoft hires 'sco copyright trackers'
and mgm hires yo momma

and each of these 'ip owners' representatives have to scour the entire net, bit by byte by megabyte, for their clients.

holy crap! think about the potential for bandwidth abuse- it's a corporate ddos- upping bandwidth bills for everyone
who pays for use...

as to the asswipes who suggest they 'use google' think about that- how much luck do you expect they'll have hitting google for their entire cache.... (and google pays for bandwidth too)

Software is in beta (2, Funny)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301030)

Attributor plans to help automate the interaction between content owners and those using their content on the Web, though it declines to specify how.

And apparently being written by underpants gnomes.

Some interesting questions... (4, Insightful)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301032)

Great, now all the torrent sites will require captcha verification too! ;P

Actually, can they even scan torrents without downloading the entire file? And whats to stop everyone from just blocking them from accessing their websites? Are they going to go in covertly, pretending to be actual users? I can see every legit website blocking their access as well, why pay for bandwidth to supply that?

Sure, youtube can be more efficiently attacked...but youtube has been dancing in front of the cannons since its inception, we all knew it was going to get shot eventually.

Re:Some interesting questions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301450)

> Great, now all the torrent sites will require captcha verification too! ;P

I'm not being facetious here, but most high-level private torrent sites all ready do. I could name three or four off the top of my head, if naming them on a public site wouldn't earn me instant bans, probably not just for me but everyone on my ISP, for doing so.

Re:Some interesting questions... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301646)

Here's another thought: what if your copyright license expressly forbids this kind of downloading? Can you then sue whoever downloaded your home grown musical, fanfic or picture of your cat via that tool?

Then again, this entire counter-suing point is completely moot. Very few individuals have the money to slug it out in court with large media publishers, and not too many businesses can either.

Dashboard (1)

AVee (557523) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301036)

This must be really essential bussiness software. It has a Dashboard! Wanna bet the next version is SOA enabled?

search by hash? (3, Interesting)

straponego (521991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301040)

Does Google allow searching by md5sum or equivalent? I'm sure they have the capability. While not as impressive as what this company claims, it'd also be more reliable for unaltered media files.

But it looks like the real "innovation" these guys are pushing toward is fully automated filing of lawsuits. I think that was in Accelerando, which is fantastic, and which you can download it free. [accelerando.org]

Re:search by hash? (4, Informative)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301650)

"Unaltered media files" are the exception, not the rule. Changing even a bit of metadata (stripping exif from an image, changing an mp3 tag) would change the checksum, not to mention things like putting things into an archive, resizing images, (re)recompressing music.

But yeah, it might make sense for Google to become "aware" of unique content and variations of it.. but I doubt they'd ever use that openly for (aiding in) hunting down copyright infringement, simply for PR reasons.

More reason to procure your warez... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301096)

...from Usenet. Still going strong after all these years.

Re:More reason to procure your warez... (1)

Thraxen (455388) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301170)

The first rule of Usenet...

You know the rest.

Copying is great! (1)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301122)

After all they just copied http://copyscape.com/ [copyscape.com] 's idea.

Re:Copying is great! (1)

asadodetira (664509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301268)

That's the first thing that came to mind when I saw the article. It's been around for years. I've used a it a few times and was amazed to find one of my random website texts in other peoples's work (It was properly cited so I don't complain).

Negotiate Monitization? (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301130)

Why the fuck does everyone want to be paid for every little thing these days? Sure, wholesale piracy is one thing. I disagree with the idea that people should be trading movies and music online with no restrictions at all. If you want an album, buy it. If you want software that costs something, buy it or learn to use free/open software. If you want to see a movie, pay to watch it in the theater or rent the DVD when it comes out. But, where this all falls apart is when someone quotes someone else online and that someone else feels they need payment for the quote. Or... someone uses a popular song as the music bed in their Youtube video and the entire video clip is only 25 seconds long or the quality is so poor that no one in their right mind would consider keeping it as something to put on their iPod. Or, someone edits together a bunch of clips from a popular movie to make a funny statement about something. These are all reasonable uses of copyrighted information that SHOULDN'T be charged for. If the industry had their way, rap music would have never happened (because it used previously recorded material) since many of the early rappers didn't have the money to pay for sample clearance. Everyone is being nickeled and dimed to death. Why? Why does it have to be this way. Whatever happened to the concept of fair use and encouraging people to build upon the works of others?

Re:Negotiate Monitization? (2, Funny)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301280)

If the industry had their way, rap music would have never happened

I don't understand... your post seems to imply this is a Bad Thing?

Ringtone (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301354)

If you want an album, buy it. If you want software that costs something, buy it or learn to use free/open software.

So where's the free/open alternative to an album?

Or... someone uses a popular song as the music bed in their Youtube video and the entire video clip is only 25 seconds long

A ringtone is 25 seconds long, as that's how long it takes for the call to be routed to voice mail.

or the quality is so poor that no one in their right mind would consider keeping it as something to put on their iPod.

Over a mobile phone's ringer, quality matters little.

Whatever happened to the concept of fair use and encouraging people to build upon the works of others?

Sonny Bono happened [pineight.com] .

It's just a tool (2, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301158)

As long as it respects basic internet rules of conduct (including respecting robots.txt), then this is ethically neutral.

It all depends on how it's used. Many companies would prefer to avoid coypyright infringing material, and will take it down if the existence is pointed out to them. Many companies will simply be asking others to remove material which clearly and flagrantly breaches their copyright. This is perfectly reasonable behaviour.

Current Engines... (1)

Neutari (913208) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301178)

I would have thought that someone at google or microsoft would have thought this up long before. They are in the perfect position to make it happen.

Maybe it can work both ways (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301188)

Corporate plagarism hurts the little guy too
so maybe it's time a tool like this was in everybodys hands?

http://www.robmanuel.com/2006/12/13/is-coke-rippin g-off-the-little-guy/ [robmanuel.com]

Fair Use Issues (1)

MrLizard (95131) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301204)

Of course, "a few sentences of text or a few seconds of video" most likely are being used within legal fair use boundaries. So what's going to happen is that the corporate law firm will grab this program, then send out auto-takedown notices without a human being (to the extent anyone working in the legal department meets that criteria) ever looking to see if the use is even arguably a violation of copyright. Then you'll get the backlash where at least one such auto-generated letter makes its way to someone with the knowledge to fight back and the platform to do it from, and someone will have to issue an embarrassed apology, and then probably turn around and sue the software makers.

Fool proof? (1)

Virtualtaco (848235) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301222)

This is one of those ideas that when the piracy community decides to do something like reverse the names for all pirated content, or just use numbered files with lookup indices, the search software fails and the company goes out of business.

what's their probability of false alarm? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301244)

This may be much less helpful than its promoters claim.

First of all, what's the their probability of a false alarm? Even if they false alarm fairly infrequently, the vast amount of content on the Web means they could easily have a flood of false alarms, in addition to whatever actual copies are found. The user of the system is then going to have to have human beings sift through that flood to identify what's A) really a copy, B) whether that copy is infringing or not, and C) if so, is it worth taking action against the infringer?

The above may be more trouble/expense than it's worth in many cases.

Not that the RIAA always bothers to verify actual infringement has taken place before suing, but some organizations may be a little more ethical, or at least a little less trigger-happy.

Wait a minute (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301246)

Ok, it's supposed to be unlawful to access copyrighted information on the Internet without the copyright holder's permission, right? I mean, that's the gist of the *AA's arguments right -- we hold the rights, you can't access this material unless we say so. So if the tool has to access the information to determine the copyright, wouldn't it be violating that principle? Nitpicking I know, but an interesting thought. They'd have to get dispensation from the *AAs to do it, wouldn't they?

Re:Wait a minute (1)

edraven (45764) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301804)

Copyright protects the right to make a copy. It's nothing to do with access to the information. If you find a CD in the gutter and it still plays, bonus. You have every legal right to listen to that CD. So do all your friends. But even if you purchase the CD you don't have the right to copy its contents. It's not about possession or access. It's about making copies.

If you value your "property" so much... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301248)

...then do not put it to the Internet.

In fact, burn it to a DVD and lock it up to a safe, and never talk about it. That way nobody else will ever have access to your "intellectual property".

Scan Blocking (1)

Daemonstar (84116) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301252)

Proactive firewalls (IDS) properly configured should shut the "scan" down relatively quickly, no? Besides, if the service is provided by a specific location (IP block), then IP blocking is trivial.

On another note, so now they are going to throw more traffic over the Internet? :P

Now SCO can continue... (1)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301254)

This is the tool Micros - um, I mean - SCO has been waiting for. They can now just scan all those millions of Linux Servers on the intraweb and see their copyrighted code right there in the open....

...or maybe not.

Finally an actual useful purpose for leet-speak? (1)

kevintron (1024817) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301312)

When such companies comb the Web for snippets of text, could their engines of litigation be defeated by the simple expedient of translating Gr34t w0rKs uv L1t3r4tur3 into leet-texts?

(I sure hope not!)

What a waste (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301332)

Like there's any copyright infringement on The Interweb. I don't see how a whole book could fit in those tubes...

Evidence of a disease. (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301402)

The problem: your services as a content mitigator have been rendered useless by the appearance of a medium which is so cheap as to appear free, so fast as to appear instant, and so easy as to appear effortless.

The cure, corrosive, caustic and highly dangerous responses flooded into the arteries of your survival - a general failing of the organs of service, and an increasingly gruesome appearance as you stamp on the consumer and turn on your distributors looking for signs of theft and duplicity.

Prognosis - Death.

Copyright protection for the rich only. (1)

John Sokol (109591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301412)


    I find my stuff copied and plagiarized all the time, and it's nearly impossible to enforce without a large budget for lawyers. From inventions to source code to writing.
  More then I could ever possible list here, but I have come to realize it's in the nature of things.

    So now big cooperate America are going to get even better at chasing stuff down and coming after everyone that even borrows a paragraph now. Using there intimidation tactics.

    The place where it really gets interesting is then they steal your stuff and then threaten to sue you for copyright or patent infringement.

  I know it sounds crazy till you have had it done to you several times.

    Example. In 1985 I named my audio card product for the PC the "Sound Byte" showed it at a trade show then a few month later a very small competitor file for the trademark and had their lawyer send me a nasty letter. Being very broke, just out of high school and living off the sales of each audio card, I had to change my name to "audio byte"

    Example 2. I released an com file of compiled assembly code to CompuServe of a program that played 6 bit digital audio out the PC's internal speaker. Several years later a company "First Byte" disassembled the code, and filed a patent on it.
    At that time I was selling a sound library to game developers, they sent me a nasty letter. Then threatened several large game companies, Activation who also Disassembled my code and Borrowed it, contacted me and paid me to help then win their patent case.
    But I was threatened a law suite for using my own invention!!!

  Anyhow I guess that's enough pissing and moaning.

  This system can tell when you copy from then, but not when they copy from you.....

    This automated copyright enforcer is a dangerous thing.

Well, that's Ironic (1)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301422)

They're going to be COPYING stuff from websites into their index so they can perform paid searches on it. Why isn't that copyright infringement all by itself?

If somebody were to sue them, they would have to claim that theirs is a fair use. But, many large copyright holders (i.e. their potential customers) would vehemently disagree with such a position. That's an interesting position to be in.

I can see another use for this software (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301460)

It'll save me the time I spend doing 'vanity' web searches.

Profit (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301510)

Put photos (content) on your website
Don't include a water mark to make it tempting for someone to download the image
Make the content available at full size or large size
Wait a few years
Send out the hounds to sniff for your content
Send out invoices for content usage
??????? Corbis ???????????
Profit

Re:Profit (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301578)

??????? Or was that Getty ???????????

Whack-a-mole (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301528)

I don't see how this will change anything; copyright holders still have to pay lawyers to go after infringing sites/servers so there is still a bottleneck. This is kind of like using video surveillance in the ol' whack-a-mole game. You may see more moles, but it doesn't mean you can whack them faster.

*sigh* (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301532)

I'd love to see this technology available for public use. The idea is brilliant. The fact that they restrict it to members of an association is not.

I'm a Wikipedia contributor. In Wikis, you have to be paranoid about the copyrights of the contributions. We have a not-that-glamorous, as of yet a little bit limited bot [wikipedia.org] that does exactly what this tool appears to do - find suspected copyright violations.

I'm sure wiki editors, bloggers, and other open content creators would be terribly interested to see where their material gets copied and would be terribly interested to know if someone's misusing the content too.

But of course, no one's listening to the little guy. Even the Wikipedia bot has to use Yahoo API (hint hint, Google folks. =)

Sounds like TurnItIn (1)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301602)

Anyone else ever had their site visited by the Turnitin [turnitin.com] bot?

And the article mentioned Copyscape [copyscape.com] , which is more aimed at finding dupes of web pages (you enter a website, and it looks for similar pages in their index).

Man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17301618)

Archiving the internet? That is a LOT of porn.

"...may decide the content is being use fairly..." (1)

yar (170650) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301654)

Of course, some nice things about fair use are that
a) the creator of the copyrighted content does not get to decide whether the use is or is not fair;
b) although the amount being used is one of the factors used to evaluate fair use, it is by no means the only factor, and in some situations using more than a limited amount is fair.
No technology can make that evaluation, and copyright holders don't get to, either.

How to detect your IP! (1)

merc (115854) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301824)

/sbin/ifconfig -a

Walla!

Should scan for edu proper usage (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301966)

Education is permitted broader rights under copyright laws, and fair use of satire and - quite frankly - mockery of corporate copyrighted materials should be enforced as well, resulting in people making fun of wierdos like Disney who want copyright to last until the sun burns out.

And then send teams with pies to smoosh in the faces of the CEOs.

But that's in a just world, not one like we live in.

I've seen the code for their copyright scanner... (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17301968)

10 IP_ADDRESS=RND(from_IPv4_addr_space)

20 if RND(between_0-1) < .5 then print "IP_ADDRESS GUILTY! SUBPOENA COMPUTER DISK AND SUE OWNER." else print "We'll get 'im next time!"

30 GOTO 10

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