It's been two-and-a-half years since the entertainment industry proudly explained how a product called Audible Magic was going to be their magic bullet against all that unauthorized file sharing out there. The technology supposedly used a fingerprinting technique that would identify files of copyrighted materials as they went over the network and stop them. That, of course, was the theory. In practice, the technology wasn't particularly useful, and many of those who tested it out ended up dropping it (and there have even been questions about whether or not the technology constituted an illegal wiretap). Earlier this year, the MPAA excitedly explained how a new fingerprinting technology would stop unauthorized videos from showing up on places like YouTube -- and that hasn't exactly worked. So, forgive us for being a bit skeptical when we hear that Philips is now coming out with its own magic bullet fingerprinting technology that's supposed to be able to match and stop unauthorized audio and video from traversing the network. Until it succeeds in real-world conditions, it just seems difficult to believe it will be very effective. It may catch a few things, but people will quickly figure out ways around it, making the whole thing an expensive waste of time (and publicity effort).
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