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'Video DNA matching' could thwart movie pirates


December 22, 2010

A new technology called "video DNA matching" is able to identify pirated movies, based on a code created by a film's visual content (Image: Tel Aviv University)

A new technology called "video DNA matching" is able to identify pirated movies, based on a code created by a film's visual content (Image: Tel Aviv University)

Presently, most automated systems can only identify copyrighted video material if it’s a direct copy, still bearing the unique digital signature of the original. This can sometimes be circumvented by altering the copy, or creating the copy optically using a video camera to shoot a movie off the screen. A new anti-piracy technology called “video DNA matching,” however, sees past such deception.

The system was developed by Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Alex Bronstein, his brother Michael, and Prof. Ron Kimmel. It starts by applying a series and sequence of invisible grids over the picture, that are used to assign the footage a unique numerical code based on its visual content. The system can then scan the contents of websites suspected of distributing pirated movies, looking for that same code... or mutations of it. Even if the color, resolution or geometry are altered, or if footage has been added or taken out, the underlying DNA analogue should still be recognizable.

“It's not only members of the animal and plant kingdom that can have DNA,” said Dr. Bronstein. “If a DNA test can identify and catch criminals, we thought that a similar code might be applicable to video. If the code were copied and changed, we'd catch it.”

Video DNA matching is reminiscent of a system recently created at the University of Granada, that is able to search videos for footage of people in given poses or performing given actions.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

This is a basic simplification algorithm. \"Video DNA matching\" is no more than a pitiful grab for the spotlight.

Facebook User

What!??! Noooooooo! I need my movies!

Facebook User

They\'ll never \"thwart piracy,\" the scene is constantly seeing new algorithms put into digital encoding, and always finding new ways to recode them. The people who place these things into movies underestimate who they\'re dealing with. It\'s not just a bunch of kids who don\'t know what they\'re doing, internet piracy is a serious deal with intelligent people.

Devin Smith

Just another sad \"Big Brother\" tool?

Facebook User

Wow. New technology developed by scientist, to be obsolete by teenagers by the time enough money has changed hands to implement the technology on a large scale... LOLZ people fighting for greed rather than sharing their wealth are funny. How about paying actors and actresses less and investing that money into developing actors and actresses... The film industry has grown to a giant bloated joke that has not had a new idea in over 10 years..

Scotty Bot
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