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February 19, 2007

Selling Snakeoil At The Point Of A Gun [4:40 pm]

Just like the President’s view that all problems can be solved with tax cuts, the media companies are turning to filters for everything: New Weapon in Web War Over Piracy

The entertainment industry is clamoring for Internet companies to adopt the technology for music files as well as for video clips. The social networking site MySpace, owned by the News Corporation, said last week that it would use Audible Magic’s system to identify copyrighted material on its pages. But not every Internet company is rushing to go along. The video-sharing site YouTube, which Google bought last year, is the major holdout so far.

Though YouTube’s co-founders said publicly that they would start using filtering technology by the end of last year, the site has yet to do so. And they have further angered some media companies by saying they would only use such technology to detect clips owned by companies that agree to broader licensing deals with YouTube.

The pressure is on. [...]

[...] The systems being developed by companies like Audible Magic and Gracenote make use of vast databases that store digital representations of copyrighted songs, TV shows and movies.

When new files are uploaded to a Web site that is using the system, it checks the database for matches using a technique known as digital fingerprinting. Copyrighted material can then be blocked or posted, depending on whether it is licensed for use on the site.

“This is capable of helping the film and TV studios comprehensively protect their works,” [Audible Magic's CEO Vance] Ikezoye said. “This could put the genie back in the bottle.”

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