Nielsen Decides It Can Become A Copyright Cop Too

from the media-monitoring-or-media-blocking? dept

As media companies continue their quixotic quest to some "stop" unauthorized use of content, tools providers are all too eager to rush in with promises of being able to help -- even if the tools don't actually help much. However, that's why there are a ton of "DRM" companies out there, all trying to provide the latest useless DRM tech to media companies too clueless to understand why DRM will never work. The latest is that companies are rushing to be the latest vendors to supply the entertainment industry with watermarking or filtering software to try to "stop" piracy. First there was the company Audible Magic, who the entertainment industry described as its magic bullet in stopping piracy. While some have pointed out that Audible Magic doesn't work particularly well, it has become something of the standard for companies to implement. In fact, it was something of a surprise earlier this year when Google decided to build its own filtering solution, rather than just use Audible Magic.

However, with so much demand for Audible Magic's non-working solution, you knew others had to jump in -- and some of them would be big players. The big media monitoring firm Nielsen is now entering the space with a big announcement, suggesting that its knowledge and connections within the television world will help it dominate the market. Of course, there doesn't seem to be much discussion on how Nielsen's solution is likely to be just as useless as Audible Magic's or anyone else's in trying to "stop" unauthorized copies from getting online. Of course, the entertainment companies remain too clueless to realize that all of these vendors are simply robbing them blind, promising them a magic elixir that can never work and only distracts the companies from what they should be doing: adapting to the changing market with new business models. In the article about Nielsen's announcement, NBC Universal's general counsel, Rick Cotton, declares that Nielsen's entrance is a game changer: "The point is the big boys are coming, and that signals that this is a field that has reached technological maturity. It will achieve widespread commercial adoption, and from a content point of view, it will contribute dramatically to reducing the easy theft of copyrighted material online."

We'll record that here and check back in the future to see how accurate he is. I have no doubt that these technologies will achieve widespread commercial adoption -- but only because folks like Cotton actually believe that it will "dramatically" reduce infringement (which he incorrectly calls "theft"). Of course, Cotton is no stranger to outlandish and dramatic statements. He's the same guy who claimed that the cops were spending too much money on things like burglary and bank-robbing when they should be focused on important things like copyright infringement. He's also responsible for the totally ridiculous claim that movie piracy was hurting corn farmers. So, I'd take anything he says with a rather large grain of salt.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Dec 5th, 2007 @ 7:13pm

    Overlooked DRM

    Besides the obvious fact that DRM does not work, there is the issue that a content producer may not even posses "ownership" of the material. Simply put, there is no over-site entity that "certifies" that the content producer actually possess ownership of the content and would therefore have a "right" to use DRM technologies (even if it does not work). The use of DRM technologies simply gives the content producer the aura of ownership.

    From the consumer's perspective, there does not appear to be any method for the consumer to force a content producer who is misusing DRM technologies to stop that behavior.

     

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  2.  
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    Jeff, Dec 5th, 2007 @ 7:25pm

    Sheisters

    Let me get this straight, everyone knows DRM doesnt work. That as soon as it's released it gets hacked within days if not hours. So all someone has to do is convince some exec with a butt-load of money he has the best DRM? Sort of reminds me of the snake oil salesmen back in the day.

     

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  3.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Dec 5th, 2007 @ 7:38pm

    Nielsen Decides It Can Become A Copyright Cop Too

    I neglected in my post to explain the relevance of my post to Mike's column concerning Nielsen becoming a copyright cop. There have been many posts on TechDirt exposing efforts by various parties to force third party's to act as copyright cops.

    In reading these posts, it became apparent that we may be missing a critical due process issue. In short those who wish to create copyright cops seem to believe that their simple assertion of ownership is proof of ownership. That is simply not the case. Furthermore, the third party that is being forced to become a copyright cop has no way to determine whether the content is really "protected" or not. This would appear to create a significant liability issue, but then I am not a lawyer.

     

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  4.  
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    Dave Rowley, Dec 5th, 2007 @ 9:18pm

    fingerprinting, watermarking, and rights managment

    There are a few things to consider when discussing digital video copyright enforcement. First, there are multiple applicable technologies, including digital fingerprinting (generating a signature from the content that doesn't change when the content is altered in format, aspect ratio or quality) and watermarking (applying an artifact that can be identified by software but not by people). Audible Magic has audio fingerprinting software, and Digimarc has a watermarking solution (although perhaps they have fingerprinting now too). Philips developed robust algorithms for audio fingerprinting (sold to Gracenote) and has video fingerprinting too, so production quality examples of this technology exist. But beyond the technology discussion, to provide a copyright enforcement system requires identifying the content to be protected, maintaining a registry of the rights information, then providing a mechanism to scan potentially infringing copies of that content "in the wild", compare it with information in the registry, then *doing something* about the infringement. That's quite an undertaking!

     

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  5.  
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    Ferin, Dec 6th, 2007 @ 5:22am

    Doubt it'll work

    I have little faith that such an automated system will do anything more than irritate legitimate customers. Pirates and people who know what their doing have found plenty of ways around such attempts before.

     

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  6.  
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    Mr. Soup Chili Art, May 20th, 2009 @ 11:59pm

    I'm looking for Mr.Neilsen Denish Police Man

    Hello
    I’m Mr.Soup from chili Art Gallery at Bangtao Beach, Phuket, Thailand.
    I’m looking for Mr.Neilsen he is some Denish Police Man.
    He came holiday at Phuket around March’2009 with his family.
    Please, let them mail to me at mail : chiliartgallery@gmail.com
    Or forward to some body who will know them.
    Because, I need to send some painting to them.

    Thank you for kindness
    Mr.Soup Chili Art

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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