AT&T files further anti-piracy patent

Researchers at AT&T have filed a patent for technology designed better to enable the entertainment industry to curtail increases in Internet piracy.

In the application – Methods, devices and computer program products for regulating network activity using a subscriber scoring system – the inventors – William R. Beckett, III and Deepak Chawla – note that although the Internet may provide many useful resources for users, widespread access also provides an avenue for unscrupulous users and/or activities.

It suggests that a user’s personal computer may be used by a hacker to engage in Internet piracy of copyright protected materials, noting that Internet piracy may account for significant bandwidth usage, which may be problematic for a service provider.

According to Beckett and Chawla, thus far, copyright protection measures that have been deployed by, for example, the entertainment industry, have failed to curtail increases in Internet piracy. For example, millions of downloads may result from just one file that is posted on a shared network. Thus, efforts to date have been insufficient in protecting a user and/or a service provider from the results of unwanted network activity, which may pose significant risks to the user, network and/or service provider.

The application by AT&T follows that of a method which enables the detection of copyright-infringing files that are sent over its network in real-time, which could then enable the transfer to be stopped or the perpetrator to be reported to copyright holders or enforcement agencies.

AT&T described it as “A method and system for detecting the transmission of pre-identified content, such as copyrighted material, over an Internet Service Provider (ISP) network,” explaining that a set of rules is provided to identify one or more traffic flow profiles of data streams transmitting pre-identified content.

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