Researchers at Royal Philips Electronics are developing new “fingerprinting” technology that could automatically identify and block transmission of digital-video files, potentially handing movie studios a new weapon in its war on peer-to-peer networks, CNET News reported.
The technique is similar to technology already being used to track and prevent copying of music files on some university networks. Philips’ audio fingerprinting technology is central to Napster founder Shawn Fanning’s new company Snocap, which aims to turn file-swapping networks into digital-song stores.
Once completed, Philips’ technology — along with related tools from other companies — could be a powerful weapon in Hollywood’s increasingly aggressive attempts to choke the practice of trading films online.
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.