Enlightening Anti-Piracy Tool

Say what you will about those dry-land pirates created by the entertainment cartels, but they’re driving a number of cottage industries.

There’s a whole slew of companies trying to dream up ways to stop people from freely using CDs and DVDs they’ve bought and paid for, and let’s not forget all those high-priced lawyers getting fat on ‘copyright crime’.

Over in Hong Kong, they’re even churning out Intellectual Property Merit Badges for the Scouting movement (roll over, Baden-Powell) and back in the US of A, a whole industry has sprung up to print subpoenas so the software, moie and music cartels can sue their customers with greater facility.

Now, there’s something else.

You’re in the movie, watching the latest Hollywood disaster when suddenly kaPOWeee! A blinding light illuminates the person sitting next to you.

Would it be that bad? Probably not.

But you never know because the Georgia Institute of Technology says it’s prototyped a device that can locate a digital camera and then overwhelm it with, “white light to render any recorded images useless”.

However, “the device is unable to block conventional film or the SLR cameras, preferred by the paparazzi,” continues the BBC.

Heading up the development team is professor Gregory Abowd of the Georgia Tech College of Computing and, “In particular, his team is looking at ways to prevent photography in government buildings or at trade shows, where industrial espionage could be a problem,” says the Beeb, adding:

“The team is also working with the motion picture industry to prevent illegal copying of films, which has become a particular problem in parts of Asia.”

The Georgia Institute of Technology appears to have an inordinate fondness for this kind of gear

Last year, it came up with a system able to detect a digital camera and then blind it by shooting a beam of light at the lens and it, too, had a prototype. But this comprised a digital projector with a modified video camera mounted on top.

Nor are the Georgia Tech developers alone.

In 2005, Hewlett-Packard, an enthusiastic supporter of the entertainment and software cartels, applied for a patent on technology that could remotely blur pictures in digital cameras.

For now, however, the industry mostly relies on the alertness of staff at cinemas, which isn’t to say the MUTU (Movie Ushers’ Trade Union), representing movie ushers, isn’t alert to possible dangers. In fact, MUTU is contemplating a pre-emptive action against the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America).

Currently, Ushers wearing electronic night-vision optics are a principal form of defense against kids with cam-corders, made by the likes of Sony, one of the MPAA’s owners.

But, “Imagine what would happen if ‘blinders’ are widely adopted,” MUTU PR person Marigold Butekick told p2pnet.

“Thousands of cinema ushers and support workers such as pop-corn makers could suddenly find themselves out of work. Deprived of their livelihoods, they’d be evicted from their homes and their children would go shoeless and starve, and pretty soon ……….”



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