Anti-Piracy Company Seeks Patent On Automated Copyright Trolling

from the copyrights-and-patents-together dept

Via TorrentFreak we learn of a patent application from Robert Steele, of Digital Rights Corp., seeking to patent a system to basically automate copyright trolling. It's an application that was just published, so it's really meaningless. Who knows if the USPTO will approve it, but the patent is pretty simple. Here's the key claim:
A system for resolving an act of copyright infringement, comprising: an infringement module configured to identify an infringing computer, wherein the infringing computer includes a computer associated with an infringement event; an identification module configured to identify an ISP associated with the infringing computer; a notification module configured to notify the ISP that the infringing computer is associated with the infringement event; a receiving module configured to receive a redirected request for access to Internet content, wherein the request for Internet content has been redirected by the ISP; and a generation module configured to generate a redirect webpage, wherein the redirect webpage includes a link associated with a settlement webpage that includes a settlement offer to resolve the infringement event.
This seems ridiculously broad, as do so many software-focused patents these days. Of course, if the patent did get awarded, it would be interesting to see what happened next. Would copyright maximalist copyright trolls start complaining about too much enforcement on the patent side?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 5:30am

    if a lazy, money grabbing arse hole can see a way of fleecing others in order to boost the bank balance, that will happen. i wonder what would be said if, say, i had patented this? would there have been a big pile hitting fan? i bet there would!

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 5:33am

    It would really be awesome if these mental midgets allowed a trademark upon the term Copyright Patent.

    The lucky awardee of said "intellectual property" could then claim ownership of the Copyright Patent Trademark thus ensuring their place in the trifecta hall of infamy.

    They could later claim they did it for the lulz.

     

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  3.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Dec 20th, 2012 @ 5:37am

    "an infringement module configured to identify an infringing computer"

    How will that infringing computer be identified? IP address? We all know the problems with that. Deep packet inspection? Is that even legal yet?

    I would like to think that those questions (and more) would be asked before the patent is granted but knowing your patent system I doubt if it will.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 5:45am

    Clear as mud

    Patents are supposed to be about sharing with us the details on how something is done in exchange for a limited monopoly on the invention. But here, I still have no idea how to "resolve an act of copyright infringement".

     

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  5.  
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    Gothenem (profile), Dec 20th, 2012 @ 5:46am

    LOL

    This, is really funny.

    A Patent on Copyright trolling. Then the patent holder can start demanding all sorts of licence fees from companies that create software to find infringement.

    Trolling the Trolls as it were.....

     

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  6.  
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    Ninja (profile), Dec 20th, 2012 @ 5:47am

    an infringement module

    I thought the MAFIAA called that bittorrent.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 5:53am

    upside if accepted: it would not be as economically feasible for patent trolling if you have to license a patent to troll....

     

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  8.  
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    lolzzzzz, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 5:56am

    but this patent

    and tell anyone trolling for such you want a million trillion dollars

     

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  9.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Dec 20th, 2012 @ 5:58am

    So this whole patent is based on the immaterial acts and associations of machines only with no human elements whatsoever?

    Which means this patent states that only the machines are infringing.

    Awesome!!! Especially since machines cannot be civilly, administratively, or criminally charged since only capable humans can ever be brought under common law and every other legal system on the planet Earth... Maybe somewhere in the multiverse this is different... but not here.

    Therefore at the very heart of this patent it either fails or trolls itself or both.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    zub, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 6:08am

    Re: LOL

    Battle of the Titans... err, Trolls! Let the fun begin. :)

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 6:09am

    Looks like someone's been reading the comments here..

    Looks like someone's been reading the comments here, and didn't realize that the ones about patenting trolls were a joke.

     

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  12.  
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    Trollz, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 6:10am

    Troll King

    Who's Troll'n who?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 6:23am

    Re:

    While deep packet inspection may identify the contents as infringing, IP address will be used to identify the machine, and the ISP.
    The patent examiner will NOT consider accuracy of the identification, only if the patent describes a 'new' invention.

     

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  14.  
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    David (profile), Dec 20th, 2012 @ 6:30am

    It's too bad we didn't think of it first

    If we had filed first, they couldn't do it without our permission....

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 6:33am

    Would the infringement module be able to determine if the infringing website had permission to use the infringing content? Yeah figured not...

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 6:36am

    Re:

    "How will that infringing computer be identified?"

    This patent is total bunk, a computer is not required in order to be accused. And said lack of computer will no longer be a valid defense, one is only allowed to pick from a list of approved "defenses" after having paid a fee for the privilege, the only alternative is to pay the amount they say you owe. No due process, no day in court. This looks like a patent on the front end of an automated extortion racket.

     

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  17.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Dec 20th, 2012 @ 6:39am

    Re: LOL

    The enemy of my enemy... is still my enemy.

    But I can still enjoy them beating the crap out of each other.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 6:51am

    Definately time for patent reform, when you can file a patent for extortion.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 6:56am

    I think this may be one of the few patents that may be (hopefully) rejected for lacking operable utility (and being implausible). The USPTO should require a working model and a demonstration before issuing any patent.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 7:15am

    Re:

    Hmm. Trolling for soup?

     

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  21.  
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    Cory of PC (profile), Dec 20th, 2012 @ 7:26am

    I wonder if I should get my patent on how to stop automated copyright/patent/trademark trolling... If this guy wants to get his hands on automating, then I should get one to stop his claims! Three different patents with the same effects for three different problems! It's genius I say!

    (I know it isn't, but hey considering the way things are...)

     

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  22.  
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    saulgoode (profile), Dec 20th, 2012 @ 7:39am

    ... comprising: an infringement module configured to identify an infringing computer, wherein the infringing computer includes a computer associated with an infringement event;
    This "infringement module" is an extremely intriguing technology in and of itself. Where can I get one? The courts at all levels -- district, circuit, supreme -- can only determine infringement after deep examination of the facts specific to a case, and even then disagree with each other as often as not. Yet this "infringement module" apparently has the illustrious ability to detect the occurrence of such "infringement events" in some automated manner.

    If such an "infringement" module were to exist, it should be far more worthy of a patent being issued than this particular application. It would certainly be of benefit to our society; a great improvement over the status quo of millions of people, thousands of ISPs, and hundreds of courtrooms being utterly incapable of reaching any sort of consensus on whether infringement has taken place in any particular instance.

     

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  23.  
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    NotImpressedByTrolls, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re:

    This would not circumvent due process. A settlement letter is not a legal document in and of itself, but a contract saying they won't attempt to take you to court... if they ever get around to signing a copy of it themselves that is.

    All this does is hijack your web session and make you go to a web site you don't want to visit.

     

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  24.  
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    PaulT (profile), Dec 20th, 2012 @ 7:49am

    Re:

    "How will that infringing computer be identified? IP address?"

    Sadly, yes:

    "3. The system of claim 2, wherein the information identifying the infringing computer includes an IP address, a port number, and a timestamp."

    So, no accounting for NAT, spoofing, etc. I see a patent for identifying "infringement", but I don't see any reference to ensuring that either the accusation of infringement or the identification of the device will be accurate. Just a method of redirecting people to a payment demand the second they're accused of infringement without direct recourse.

    So, same as it is now, really, only with the ability to spam many more people with questionable claims.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 8:01am

    Re:

    Here's my version of the infringement module. It allows everyone to effortlessly and unambiguously determine whether an infringement has occurred. Just plug it into title 17, chapter 1, in place of the existing § 107:
    § 107 . Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use
    Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work is not an infringement of copyright.
    All uses of a copyrighted work are fair.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 8:09am

    There is this new thing called web TV which comes in two forms, live and stored - similar to Utube.

    The nifty thing about Web TV is that it there are no location time limits nor judicial limiting issues.

    There is a difference between Web TV and storage sites like Utube in that on Web TV the rights holder is openly posting content for viewing with commercials just as normal TV where as on Utube viewers are posting not only their own productions but the productions of right holders without the right holders permission.

    The MPAA, RIAA, et are filling suits, jumping up and down and demanding content that they stole and/or refuse to pay the real right holders for on the assumption that the control all on line content.

    There are sites like WWITV - World Wide Internet Web TV which prorate to list all Web TV stations but do not.

    Then there are some few sites like Turk Web TV, http://www.turkweb.tv/ which are owned by various non western governments.

    Turk Web TV was found by viewing the first few issues of Muhteşem Yüzyıl, [Eng] The Magnaficent Century, with English sub titles at Utube . Unfortunately only the first few issues are available, with subtitles in any language, as I do not speak Turkish or Arabic but and that is a big but that is not relevant from a legal or technical point.

    What we can characterize is this.

    This Turkish Government has found a was to combat the West ignorant presentation of Turkish history by presenting their version of their history to their people. As with all such historical presentations certain liberates have been taken with regards to the actual truth. For example in the Imperial Harem at the Topkapı Palace Wikipedia list the Role of the eunuchs as being of two types black and white. The program, for political correct reasons, has converted both types to one with both set of participants being Turkish. That is not historically correct and to understand why this was done one needs to explore who and what the eunuchs really were. That discussion though interesting leads little to the objective of this post.

    The second point is that the setting of the program is the Topkapı Palace, one of the most beautiful set of building in the world hence it nick name of "The Golden Cage". This is not made for Hollywood. Hollywood could not afford the cost of this production, only a government with an agenda.

    I have looked and yet to find other governments that are presenting equivalent programs with out finding such but then my language ability is limited to only two neither of which is relevant to the areas of the world without such significant western influence that the RIAA, MPAA and their coneys do not have sufficient power to prevent such productions. In reality there are only two additional governments that this really applies to, Russia and China. Both have sufficient history to have numerous times of sufficient interest that equivalent programs could be produced, Both governments have sufficient means to do so and sufficient discuss with the West to do so. Both government would willing turn their nose up at the RIAA, MPAA conies and do their own thing.

    What Turk Web TV has done is show the way politically to restructure the West by making their society politically correct in the West. One government having discovered how this may be done expect other governments to follow suit.

    Expect Utube to continue. Expect some adverse laws or court ruling that limit user posted content of right holders content but also consider that the RIAA, MPAA and their coneys and the they control have completely lost control of online content.

    As far as the UN International Telephone Group they can formulate all the negative rules they want but one government has found a means to use the web as a means to present their point of view of events to everyone is an acceptable format. Expect other governments to follow suit.
    The implications is that UN International Telephone Group is doing exact what the French generals did after WW1 with their big ditch. It is not in the vested political interest of major governments to go along with the UN International Telephone Group program.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re:

    further, what are the infringement events? if you simply direct your browser to a stream, and the stream fails to be initiated, but this "infringement module" only detects the url and not that any content made its way to your computer, and then asks you to settle because... nothing happened?

    shenanigans.

     

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  28.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 20th, 2012 @ 8:55am

    Re:

    Before we even get that far, how will the module determine whether or not an event is infringing? Human beings have problems doing this. It's hard to see how a computer can do it even as well as humans.

     

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  29.  
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    383bigblock (profile), Dec 20th, 2012 @ 9:33am

    The perfect Storm

    Here we go with a the new model. I copyright troll invents software to identify copyright violations so that whenever their fellow copyright trolls try to do the same they can troll on them with patent infringement lawsuits. I would love nothing better than to watch one copyright troll going after another copyright troll over how they're trolling for business.

    quite ironic.

     

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  30.  
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    NA Protector, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 9:40am

    Virus Patent

    There is still a virus scam that locks up a computer, accesses the web cam if the computer has one, and puts instructions on the screen that reads the FBI has detected that this computer has been used for 'copyright infringement' and to unlock it, you must pay X amount of dollars to unlock it.

    This patent would be just a legalized version of this scam, and would make it difficult verify the difference between the " REAL " versions from the fake.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 10:53am

    Re: Virus Patent

    "This patent would be just a legalized version of this scam"

    IS it legal? Shouldn't the ISP need a court order to shut off Internet access to someone who has already paid that month's bill?

    Also, this is from the patent:

    "DRM technologies generally suffer from the problem that if a reasonably talented technology person can listen to a music file, then that person can likely find a way to make a copy that does not have the DRM technology."

    Yep, they admit DRM doesn't work.

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    MrWilson, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, it's not a violation of due process. It's just browser hijacking.

    Mike already covered a story about the virus that does part of what this patent covers, specifically hijacking (the OS this time instead of just the browser) and offering a settlement for violations in lieu of a lawsuit.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110307/04375913384/copyright-pre-settlement-virus-luc rative-scam.shtml

    I imagine any effort to implement this patent will be likewise treated as a virus or at least spam and hijacking. They'll have to fake certificates to get past security software that would detect and block redirects. If an ISP cooperates with such a scheme, they could be liable. It's a violation of net neutrality.

    Not to mention that the entire patent is built on the concept that content can inherently be infringing and therefore anyone who accesses it must be infringing. This cannot logically be assumed.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 6:09pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "This would not circumvent due process"

    "This" being the operative word ... however - the six strikes (or whatever number you want) does. I'm sure this front end would simply hand off the mark to the backend for further processing.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 6:10pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, this has already happened.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2012 @ 6:11pm

    Re: Re:

    A computer does it better because it does not have a conscience and will not have problems sleeping at night.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2012 @ 4:56am

    Re:

    No No, To the MAFIAA possession of a copying device show intent to infringe, therefore if you own a computer you intend to infringe.

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Elliander, Dec 25th, 2012 @ 6:56pm

    Honestly, these systems can be safely ignored. The whole business model is based around automatic scare tactics. Recently I was accused of downloading something I didn't and thankfully my modem happened to be broken at the alleged time of infringement. I contacted my ISP about it and they basically said that they have been getting quite a few calls like that lately to the point where the ISP's have began relaxing their "three strikes rules" when it comes to this kind of copyright infringement notice and they are now advising their customers to completely ignore any email asking for settlement. (especially when there are multiple separate claims made on the same item.)

    For starters, it is just not cost effective to go after any one person in court when enough people are lining their pockets with settlement offers. Of those who refuse to settle the next step is usually a subpoena for information that, if provided, will result in a follow up settlement offer which is generally more than the first one. From there they usually drop the issue entirely if too few are infringing on the same item to be worth their time, but on the flip side the courts tend to dismiss cases with too many co-defendants.

    The real consequence of such a system will be to make it easier - not more difficult - to be a pirate. Since the whole point of the system is to have no living person do any work at all it ends up being a waste of effort to take any legal action at all that cannot be done automatically with a computer. A computer can go very far in such cases, but not far enough to land a real conviction so the reality is that only innocent people will pay (usually those who don't want to be associated with porn) while real pirates pay nothing because they know better.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    ethicalfan ethicalfan, Jan 6th, 2013 @ 9:16pm

    Re: Re:

    Distributing on BitTorrent is never fair use.

     

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


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