“People who were upset about this threatened to dump a truckload of shit in his front yard,” said one of his colleges.
The target is John Hale, professor and director of the Center for Information Security at the University of Tulsa. The unnamed program he built, which was awarded a patent last year, creates a flood of decoy files on the Internet so that those who wish to download a pirated copy of music or video file, for example, can’t find the legitimate version.
Hale says that the inspiration for the program came from episode 123 of the Simpsons, where Mr. Burns collects a group of dogs to skin for fur coats. He decides to keep one of the dogs, however, and teaches him a special trick. When they’re all bunched together, Mr. Burns figures he can distinguish his special dog by getting him to perform the trick, but Bart and Lisa outsmart him by teaching it to all the dogs.
Note: a search of the USTPO WWW site yields patent number 6,732,180: Method to inhibit the identification and retrieval of proprietary media via automated search engines utilized in association with computer compatible communications network. From the patent abstract:
A method and article of manufacture to inhibit automated search engines in locating and retrieving proprietary media by employing cooperative scanning, manufacturing, sharing and supervisory control software processing components to replicate, and make available for sharing, decoy media in such numbers to render media search engines ineffectual. The invention’s scanning processing component searches media sharing network communities for illegally shared proprietary media and its manufacturing processing component constructs decoy media files mimicking identified proprietary media. The invention’s share processing component associates media sharing network communities with shared media sets containing decoy media files, and its supervisory control processing component provides for system initialization and checking subprocesses which establish initial configurations, and reactive behavior of the invention in addition to monitoring the effectiveness of a decoy ratio interactively specified by a user of the invention.