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Mpeg 7 To Include Per-Frame Content Identification

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the you're-watching-us-and-vice-versa dept.

Media 273

An anonymous reader writes "NEC has announced that its video content identification technology has been incorporated in the upcoming Mpeg 7 video standard, allowing for each video frame to have its own signature, meaning that even minute changes to the file such as adding subtitles, watermarks or dogtags, and of course cutting out adverts, will alter the overall signature of the video. According to NEC this will allow the owners of the video to automatically 'detect illegal copies' and 'prevent illegal upload of video content' without their consent. NEC also claims that its technology will do away with the current manual checking by members of the movie industry and ISPs to spot dodgy videos."

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first post for (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152082)

me.

modest proposal (5, Funny)

drDugan (219551) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152088)

I think we should mandate legislatively that all video created should use this technology from now on. TV shows, documentaries, big hit movies, home movies, birthday parties, independent films, security cameras, everything. This way, we can clearly establish ownership of video content in all cases. Anyone who has digital video not maked per frame with ownership should be prosecuted immediately.

Furthermore, we should mandate that all hardware created in the future, including TVs and cable boxes, computers and everything capable of reading video - all of it should only be able to play video with the new "who owns this frame" technology - otherwise, people might play video that doesn't belong to them.

And we should include vetting of licensing terms into the hardware system; so that only with the correct license can the hardware play back the video in question.

And we should impose fully automated reporting systems in hardware that detects and reports tampering to the local authorities. Open up that computer case and put in a non-approved, black market video driver: the machine sends and email to law enforcement. Connect a pirate cable box to your TV, and then your TV immediately stops working, and broadcasts a wireless signal that only law enforcement can detect.

I think this technology for copyright enforcement should be placed into prosthetics that sits inside the eyeballs of everyone who wants permission to view video. These prosthetic devices could similarly verify the authenticity of videos frame by frame, check for an approved license, and send out signals to law enforcement if pirated video is detected. Approved prosthetics should be compulsory to obtaining permission to view all videos.

Finally, we should up the penalties for copyright infringement, to instant death - basically we should have our eyeball prosthetics simply explode when unverified video is detected. /s

Re:modest proposal (2, Interesting)

andi75 (84413) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152122)

I would mandate the opposite legislation. Any device that's sold or rented to consumers must also include all contained cryptographic keys in an easily accessible manner (e.g. on an accompagning CD). That way it is guaranteed that consumers can always, and without limitations, accesss the data they paid for.

Re:modest proposal (5, Funny)

grantek (979387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152608)

OMG, you must watch kiddie porn!! Witch! Witch! Burn it!!

Re:modest proposal (2, Interesting)

mb1 (966747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152154)

I'm sure looking forward to the future when I'll be prosecuted by the patent and/or trademark holders of both 'Do Nothing' and 'Do Something' for doing something and/or doing nothing at all.

Of course, Apple will offer their 'Doing Apple' to give us all some choice - but at the same time will sue anyone trying to 'Do Nothing' or 'Do Something' and not 'Doing Apple'...

Re:modest proposal (2, Funny)

montibbalt (946696) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152310)

Of course, Apple will offer their 'Doing Apple' to give us all some choice - but at the same time will sue anyone trying to 'Do Nothing' or 'Do Something' and not 'Doing Apple'...

Not to mention all the early adopters of the first-gen iDo are gonna get screwed when the new one comes out next year

Re:modest proposal (1)

mb1 (966747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152376)

Correct - 'Doing Apple' means you've got to be careful not to violate their 'Do Changing Batteries' patent... which they hold but won't license :)

Re:modest proposal (5, Funny)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152488)

iDo

wow, i finally figured out what will kill mariage in western culture, it wont be rising divorces, or just outright oligarchy with harems, it will be an apple trademark...

Re:modest proposal (4, Insightful)

dintech (998802) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152584)

Don't worry. That's actually a digital haircut.

Re:modest proposal (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152498)

In future Soviet Russia, Apple is doing YOU!

Re:modest proposal (-1, Redundant)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152160)

I think this technology for copyright enforcement should be placed into prosthetics that sits inside the eyeballs of everyone who wants permission to view video. These prosthetic devices could similarly verify the authenticity of videos frame by frame, check for an approved license, and send out signals to law enforcement if pirated video is detected. Approved prosthetics should be compulsory to obtaining permission to view all videos.

Wow. I think you could have an amazing future with the RIAA as well as many studio thinktanks if you wanted it. In the meantime, please stop posting such information - they already have all the insane ideas they need to continue making consumerism more difficult and annoying for the average user.

Funny ? Or just a view of the future ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152176)

Considering the US feels that it's intellectual property is of immeasurable value, and since internet is becoming a huge force in the developing world, the ability to police online video will become very important. So whether the 3rd world countries use these kinds of chips or not (for now), this chip is exactly what the US & the Studios are looking for.

So yup - your content will be marked in the future - and showing it is pirated wont be so hard.

But the worse part will be the 'expiration' of such content. So in addition to content identification, this would allow expiration dates to be written into every frame. So even if you copy netflix's streaming video - it will be premarked to 'expire' within 1 hr.... so you will never be able to use the content.

This may sound impossible - but consider DVD content. There is so much legalese surrounding it - that numerous products have already been banned.

NEC is Japanese (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152714)

Not saying that Hollywood will not love this crap but the inventors are Japanese and a Japanese Mega Corp.

Re:modest proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152228)

I'm actually glad you put the /s, because there really are people out there who will say something like this seriously. I don't understand how, but they do. Three years from now we can be commenting on a summary that suggests many of the things that you mark /s. I'm sure it's no different than any other time in history, but society can be extremely frustrating sometimes. I don't have good perspective on this kind of stuff, but what happens over the next decade may very well decide whether we enter a digital dark-age.

Re:modest proposal (3, Funny)

secolactico (519805) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152260)

And bring back the Clipper Chip!

Re:modest proposal (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152266)

...and Minority Report is ON.

Re:modest proposal (2, Insightful)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152274)

Finally, we should up the penalties for copyright infringement, to instant death - basically we should have our eyeball prosthetics simply explode when unverified video is detected.

Hollywood is already way ahead of you - they've already developed "Dreck Technology" incorporated into many modern films, which can result in eyeballs exploding without the need for any prosthetics.

Of course, they didn't do it deliberately...

Re:modest proposal (2, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152542)

Hollywood is already way ahead of you - they've already developed "Dreck Technology" incorporated into many modern films, which can result in eyeballs exploding without the need for any prosthetics.
Of course, they didn't do it deliberately...

And amazingly, it didn't result in box office losses - Avatar made the most money of any film in history. *shrug*

Re:modest proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152580)

And amazingly, it didn't result in box office losses - Avatar made the most money of any film in history. *shrug*

I guess that's why their marketing budgets are so high. They repeated "Avatar is the best movie evar!" so often, people started to believe it.

After all, if so many bought...independant reviews and product placements say it is, you cannot be caught thinking otherwise.

Re:modest proposal (1)

tool462 (677306) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152346)

Hey, you've got some good ideas! Interested in writing legislation for the State of Arizona? You'd fit right in 'round here :)

Re:modest proposal (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152602)

You're joking, but the media cartels are dead serious. You've pretty much described their utopia.

Re:modest proposal (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152800)

Direct eyeball framebuffer access? Hell yeah - finally we have full 3D! Where do I sign up?

first post (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152092)

lollergasm

Re:first post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152194)

I'm afraid you're a bit late old chap.

Re-encoding? (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152114)

Wouldn't that circumvent all this? There are other standards...

Re:Re-encoding? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152128)

Even the thought of re-encoding will result in the subject being terminated. Move along and continue consuming, citizen.

Re:Re-encoding? (3, Insightful)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152286)

That was my first thought too, but between legislation like ACTA, DMCA and increasing restrictions being placed on Fair Use rights, where they exist at all, I suspect that there is going to be a push to make transcoding a violation of something or other. Yes, it's ridiculous to load a 25GB of files from a BluRay disc onto a portable media player, but you don't *have* to transcode to play the video on the device.

Of course, the people that are uploading cams and DVD rips to the Internet now are still going to be breaking copyright laws whatever happens, so it's not like the situation is going to change in practice, is it?

Re:Re-encoding? (5, Insightful)

qbast (1265706) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152558)

Of course you don't have to transcode. You can ask distributor to sell you the movie again in different format. More profit!

Re:Re-encoding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152368)

Yeah you'd think people would just convert the format. Dumptruck size loop hole there...

Re:Re-encoding? (1)

Tjebbe (36955) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152682)

I suspect the next step is to try to get device makers not to support any format that does not have MPEG 7. And the one after that to prohibit any that do not, if that's still necessary.

How many physical dvd players nowadays do not enforce region codes?

Re:Re-encoding? (3, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152718)

I was more thinking in the line of privacy: if every frame can have a signature added, then every single copy can be "watermarked" and tracked to an individual.

Otoh, they talk about adding subtitles etc to "completely change the signature of the video". How is that different from the current situation? Thinking of "signature" as MD5 hash or something equivalent. Any change to the file will change it's hash. This part is nothing new.

Easy way to get on YouTube (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152124)

So it sounds like the easy way to upload "protected" content would be a quick transcode with a slightly different bitrate, thereby removing the per frame signature, causing it to be unrecognizable by the automated checker...

So it's a checksum? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152148)

"The technology creates a signature that is compared against one from the original file to determine whether the video has been altered."

So how is this different from a CRC (or any other checksum you care to name)? Other than they claim it's blazingly fast?

First of all.... (4, Funny)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152152)

Where the fuck did MPEG 7 come from? I refuse to accept that I, sitting here in front of my 4 screens with a laser mouse, grazing the internet for Roomba cat videos, have never heard of such a thing.

And next, MPEG is in the anti-piracy business now? What the fuck?

Hmmm only 2 expletives up there, good things come in threes. Fuck.

Re:First of all.... (1)

Tukz (664339) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152204)

I'm with you there.
Unless MPEG 7 have been sneaking around by another name, this is the first I hear of it.

Re:First of all.... (3, Informative)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152312)

MPEG-7 is a metadata standard for multimedia. It is not involved in the actual encoding of the content (like mpeg 1, 2 and 4 are). Basically it attaches a chunk of xml to a timecode. Look up wikipedia if you want to know more.

There also exists an MPEG-21, for those interested.

Re:First of all.... (1)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152330)

Actually, MPEG 21 seems more like what this story is about - MPEG-21 is a license framework for MPEG.

Re:First of all.... (2, Funny)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152326)

Where the fuck did MPEG 7 come from? I refuse to accept that I, sitting here in front of my 4 screens with a laser mouse, grazing the internet for Roomba cat videos, have never heard of such a thing.

Dude, you don't even want to know how much your mind is going to be blown when you find out that there is an MPEG-21 already. Yeah, really.

Re:First of all.... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152438)

Yeah, this is pretty hilarious, also your comment is a bit misinformed, but I don't really blame you for that, so here's the low down...

MPEG-7 is a content description standard - that is, it can be used with MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 (which includes h.264 quite notably...) to add metadata to the data streams.

Okay, so now we're talking about an NEC extension to MPEG-7 that they're trying to sell - even though MPEG-7 is largely unused right now. Also, notice I say unused now, implying the standard is done. That's because it is done. MPEG-7 isn't "going" to contain anything - it already exists! This is just an extension to it being proposed by someone who has a new patent and wants to get in the patent pool doubtless.

Okay, now to address your comment. MPEG has nothing to do with patents or licensing. MPEG = Motion Picture Experts Group, they help design and create video standards, and they're very intelligent people. The people you want to be mad at is MPEG-LA - no relation to MPEG whatsoever except their name. MPEG-LA creates patent pools for "essential" patents and then license them to implementors, distributors, and anyone who they can convince people needs them. MPEG-LA is pretty bad, but compared to some other patent people (look at Via's licensing for AAC...) they're not so bad - first 100,000 units sold don't have to pay royalties, any freely distributed videos don't have to pay royalties. Not saying they're good, but they're just not quite as bad as everyone else out there doing patent enforcement...

So please, don't blame the kind people a MPEG for MPEG-LA. Blame MPEG-LA themselves, http://mpegla.com/

Sincerely,
Your friendly codec developer/implementer

Re:First of all.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152564)

You wait until MPEG 22 is released. It will be a beauty. The logic behind it will take you breath away.

Re:First of all.... (4, Funny)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152592)

Ah, the friendly folks over at Red Vs. Blue did a public service anouncement about this a few years ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvNeHthx3Ng [youtube.com]

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go watch some MP48's on my HHD DVVDD BVD player.

"You just KEEP missing the target!" (4, Insightful)

Bonker (243350) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152156)

This does bupkiss to aid consumers.

This does very little to deter 'real' pirates who mockup fake merchandice.

This does very little to deter downloaders.

What it does do is try to provide a frame-by-frame signature of video, so if a video's been ripped, they know which copy it was.

Until, of course, those in part 2 and 3 above start detecting and scrubbing that data.

Meanwhile, you're going to charge your customers more for a product that's crippled, and therefore inferior to the pirated version.

It's honestly like you guys are determined to kill yourselves in the most expensive, controversial way possible. May I humbly recommend the Hutchins/Carradine route instead. It's a lot more pleasant and leaves a lot less mess.

Re:"You just KEEP missing the target!" (1)

slorbius (1668878) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152218)

Agreed it would be ineffective - for a start I can't think of many places where media industries even let you have an actual mpeg file right now. This just seems like garden variety marketing tosh to make the format more appealing to businesses. I wouldn't activate irate mode over it.

Re:"You just KEEP missing the target!" (4, Funny)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152410)

What it does do is try to provide a frame-by-frame signature of video, so if a video's been ripped, they know which copy it was.

Until, of course, those in part 2 and 3 above start detecting and scrubbing that data.

At least the screeners we download will no longer need to have a modest portion of the image blurred to cover the serial numbers previously used to determine where the video came from.

So actually, they may be doing the downloaders a favor.

Re:"You just KEEP missing the target!" (1)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152420)

It's honestly like you guys are determined to kill yourselves in the most expensive, controversial way possible. May I humbly recommend the Hutchins/Carradine route instead. It's a lot more pleasant and leaves a lot less mess.

Except that it runs the risk of giving the cleaning crew a coronary...

Re:"You just KEEP missing the target!" (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152480)

"In related news, the Chairman of Box Networks is being prosecuted for Copyright Infringement. The release of "Last Blockbuster" to P2P networks from team XYZ had the Digital Rights Information of the Chairman imprinted in every frame."

Would be awesome that the crackers found a way to alter the information in those frames (I realize that it would be encrypted, but a man can dream...).

Re:"You just KEEP missing the target!" (4, Interesting)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152638)

The invisible hand of market forces is slapping the shit out of these companies. I wonder when they're going to realize that it's pointless fighting against it. Adding features that takes away value is no way to win customers. I would LOVE to PAY for an online streaming service, where I have access to all TV shows and movies with any choice of subtitles, and dubbed languages available. So far, since I'm in Germany, I found MaxDome, where I can only watch a limited selection of movies dubbed only in German, no subtitle options. What if I want to watch a movie that's not very well-known? I can either order it from Amazon, or just Google the movie title and stream it.

I can't wait (4, Interesting)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152166)

A new algorithm to crack, Math is Fun! (They don't realize that some of us do this as a passion, no I endorse fully supporting those companies that deserve it, but not everyone does this for piracy, its just a hella lotta fun to crack the reported "uncrackable".)

Just my take, I love math.

The linked article links nowhere. (4, Informative)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152168)

Not even a frickin' press release.

Is somebody just trying to generate a few cheap click-throughs? A few unique hits?

Some actual info (4, Informative)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152316)

I agree, a link to something like this [oregonstate.edu] or or [w3.org] this [chiariglione.org] all of which came from a quick google and give some basic info on mpeg 7 and mention some content ID tech would be helpful as a real source of *something* on this new standard (that I just heard of today)! Damn it editors, do your jobs!

Re:The linked article links nowhere. (2, Funny)

zwei2stein (782480) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152600)

Yeah, of course they are farming unsuspecting visitors [zweistein.cz] is long time /. tradition. Not that it really works.

'prevent illegal upload of video content' (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152198)

Like is possible to stop a particular set of bits to move from network node A to network node B.

Re: 'prevent illegal upload of video content' (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152476)

Uh, it's not? I'm having a remarkably hard time finding your credit card number here on network node B.

I was guessing they're just trying to stop more of it than they are now, hoping that will mean more money for them. They don't need to make it completely impossible in all cases. Their people come up with a way to detect when someone uploads a clip from the NBC olympic coverage to youtube, and this method will detect it 2 hours faster than their current method, so they can take it down 2 hours faster. I'd guess the IOC would give them a decent sized check for just those 2 hours.

And that would be stupid, paranoid, greedy, and stupid again, but that's the IOC, MPAA, RIAA etc for you.

Re: 'prevent illegal upload of video content' (2, Interesting)

mrrudge (1120279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152758)

Credit card numbers are a bad example as they're a piece of information which is generally transferred securely between two parties who have motive for them to remain private. If credit card numbers were a product which was distributed to many people even one of whom fails to keep them private you would be able to access them on node B.

Furthermore, if node B has internet access and it's user be sufficiently lacking in morals and know where to look, it's entirely possible that credit card numbers could be found from there ( as far as I understand, buyable in large batches ) and it would currently not be possible for the network to recognise and stop the movement of these bits.

How does this change anything? (1)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152212)

I RTFA, and I still wonder what, if anything, changes with this tech.

Short of some draconian player mandate, how could this possibly matter?

You can pry my NZB sourced mkv playing laptop from my cold dead hands.

Backwards or not? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152222)

On the first sight, it looks like the stupidest idea ever. You can't use digital signatures to protect from the current considered dangers (piracy, re-use, ripping). People will happily remove all signatures and edit the media like the wish.

I think the real issue is what they are going to use MPEG 7 _with_. Expect heavy DRM and content access restrictions. _Then_ the signatures will play a vital role; you will not be able to play anything that was not signed.

Free Speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152232)

Essentially what NEC wants to do is take Fair Use and dump it into the BP Oil Spill and set it on fire.

A parody of a sony movie or a review of the movie by a fan with a few seconds of coverage.
Well this frame has the signature of Sony it must be a violation of copyright. Lets all block it.
This is a clip of President ODAMA shot by CNN, protected by copyright law. Lets not let this blogger
show this image as part of his blog which thinks the view point expressed is fishy.

Finally, Hey lets block all bloggers as they use those magic alphabets of the English language !!!

The opposite effect? (2, Insightful)

BetterThanCaesar (625636) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152246)

If I share an MPEG 7 video, the copyright holder can see that it's their video. So I add one space to the Portuguese subtitles, the checksum changes and now they cannot easily see that it's their video. Was piracy stopped or aided?

Re:The opposite effect? (2, Informative)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152306)

this was my first thought as well, you could just create an app to change a single pixel on each frame to a slightly different shade. hell even just re encoding it will change it.

plus can you imagine the processing power that would be needed to check each frame in every movie being bit torrented? yes yes, i can see now this will definately stop those pirates.....

Re:The opposite effect? (1)

ElusiveJoe (1716808) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152520)

I think this is intended to prevent incidents alike what happened to Wolverine movie. Probably it was designed to work like this:

1. Official digital distributors sell movie copies (let's assume "Wolverine 2") with signatures. Streams of signed data flow to consumers.
2. Signatures are provided to ISPs.
3. ISP watches the traffic, and some software automatically searches for a movie data stream tagged "Wolverine 2" and compares signatures.
4. A leaked copy of "Wolverine 2" appears in the net.
5. ISP detects a non-legit copy, red light, le "three strikes and you're out."

Don't ask me questions about this scheme, I know it's flawed. But I think the idea is to separate 'good' and approved digital data streams from 'bad' ones. In fact, a good legal framework was already established for this kind of shit. ISPs are obligated to watch the traffic and are held responsible for copyright infringement. Users now could be cut off from Internet for the same reason. The DMCA can be used to silence the source. And now the mysterious and dreadful ACTA...

One Law to rule them all, One Law to find them,
One Law to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

Re:The opposite effect? (1)

swilver (617741) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152544)

Maybe that's why all those pirates rar their stuff...

Is there a point ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152264)

What's the point of frame signature ? It's like saying puting MD5sums inside softwares will prevent sharing them.

1. If all the frames are modified, so does the signature, making identification technically really hard, if not impossible. Unless you construct a giant frame blacklist, in which case the video might just be streamed with random values, having no visible impact but altering the video signature continuously.
2. You'll also need a very good signature mechanism to prevent false positives. We talking about video frames here.
3. It might be possible to only check the signature of some frames only and creating P2P clients downloading only some parts and checking them, but this requires a way to identify the position of each frame, making it easily streamable in the process (See 1.). Also, this will only work for not modified streams.
4. On the fly checking will be far harder. You'll have to check every single packet for MPEG-7 frames containing signatures. If the streams are compressed in Zip files, you might need the entire file to uncompress and analyze the datas.
5. What prevents "rogue" players to read MPEG-7 files without signature data or invalid signature data ? Remember, you control nothing. Nor the player, nor the files streamed. Just put the signature of frames from videos legally available anywhere (Trailers, Creative Commons videos, ...) and the filtering become moot.
6. Like someone else said, re-encoding might ruin your protection.

So really, is there a point ? Can we just stop blowing money for this ?

The best part (4, Insightful)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152276)

Is that this changes absolutely nothing whatsoever.

Pirated videos? Invariably re-encoded into something smaller. Bam! Checksum completely obliterated!

Videos provided by the PR firm, placed on Youtube? Invariably re-encoded into something smaller. Bam! Checksum completely obliterated!

Videos ripped straight off the DVD or Blu-Ray disc, byte for byte, then redistributed? Data not changed! Bam! Checksum . . . completely intact!

So as I understand it, detecting an unauthorized video with MPEG 7 means you have to download it, determine what it's actually a video of if the checksum is utterly missing, and then, even if the checksum isn't missing, determine if it was authorized. This differs from the current approach, where you have to download it, determine what it's actually a video of no matter what, and then, despite the fact that it never had a checksum which would probably be gone now anyway, determine if it was authorized.

Can anyone out there describe a form of copyright infringement that this actually helps detect?

One that isn't invented for the sole purpose of being detected by this technique?

Re:The best part (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152740)

even better, it actually provides you with proof you didn't pirate anything, after all if you are to be found guilty on a positive checksum match, surely a checksum that's not positive is proof of innocence?!

Am I missing something? (1)

bcg (322392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152280)

So you alter a small part of each frame and the signature changes. Or alter every single pixel like when you convert/compress to another format such as divx. So how will they track it? Use different human actors for each copy and then you have yourself a trackable system.

Re:Am I missing something? (1)

bipbop (1144919) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152338)

Different human actors? How silly! You could simply limit sales of each movie to one copy. Much less work!

I guess they'll never learn (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152296)

It's funny how they assume more signatures will change anything, the data stored inside a video format, no matter how restrictive and closed, will eventually be converted to a less restrictive format, stripped of all the unwanted stuff, this only adds yet another inceptive to do so, realtime packet inspection (how else would ISPs check signatures of video frames?) to determine what files are transmitted in realtime sounds nice on paper, until you factor in 8192 bit encryption and the fact you can make a video look like any other bit of random binary garbage data rather easily (I know, lets outlaw any files not whitelisted by the MPAA!!). The only thing this would effect (as usual) are people who obtain the video legally and something (minor disk write error, scratch on another medium etc) alters a single bit in the file, thus making the entire thing appear invalid to any player or system that would enforce this implementation.

How it works (5, Informative)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152304)

Re:How it works (3, Informative)

Rufus211 (221883) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152578)

Thanks for the link. That press release is surprisingly technical makes it clear that this has nothing to do with a successor to the MPEG4 codec / container format. It relates to:

*2) MPEG-7 Video signature tools:
This is an amendment to MPEG-7 Visual, a standard for content description interface for multimedia content that has been established as an international standard for identification technology of video content, as ISO/IEC 15938-3/Amd.4.

There currently exist handful of different techniques for creating small signatures (76 bytes in this case) of a video frame. Content companies create sequences of signatures for all their videos and distribute the sequences. Youtube can then create a sequence of signatures for an uploaded file, compare it against all known sequences, and then do whatever with that knowledge.

The MPEG group is just standardizing on one particular technique for creating the signatures, distributing them, and comparing them. In that case this is something sensable for the MPEG group to do, and isn't really good or evil.

So this basically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152318)

Does jack shit for piracy because everything usually goes through a new encoding pass before it's passed on to the downloaders anyway. At least with anime and most DVD/Blu-Ray rips this is nearly always the case.

MPEG-7 is not a video standard. (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152334)

MPEG-7 is not a video standard. MPEG-7 is a content description standard, developed starting in 2002, and without a phenomenal deployment. Having the ability to add metadata at the frame level would be a great boon to video editors, but from reading the article I have no clue what MPEG-7 has to do with their digital signature scheme, or why they think Yet Another Digital Signature Scheme will achieve what all of the previous Digital Signature Schemes have so obviously failed to.

I'm confused... or this is super sinister. (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152342)

The secret sauce proprietary algorithm in the (puff piece) TFA sounds like a file verification mechanism, in the vein of CRC, hash verification, and friends. Which is odd; because the problem of keeping digital data reasonably uncorrupt is a serious one for Big Storage type outfits, and archivists; but it hasn't been much of a concern for team content. What they've wanted is watermarks, "traitor tracing", and all that. Now, a good verification algorithm is a terrible watermark algorithm, and vice versa, period. Verification algorithms are supposed to freak out if so much as a single bit has been twiddled. Watermark algorithms are supposed to be robust against common forms of tampering and re-encoding.

So, what's the deal?

1. It could be that "PC Authority" has been handed an NEC press release, and can't even handle the challenge of regurgitating it properly. In which case, any speculation based on the details of TFA is pointless, if TFA is so much commercial word salad.

2. It could also be that PC Authority is reading the NEC release more or less correctly; but the release was just blitzed out by some PR flack, and they lack the context. This is, in fact, an integrity verification technology, designed to work quickly on video streams, that will be included in some future standard, as an obscure convenience to future editors and producers and archivists who will have to deal with 10,000 hours of MPEG7 video in OMG-4k-Super-def-3D, and need to know, fast, if any of it is getting munged. It would be a super boring, highly specific part of the spec, of basically no interest to the general public; but it could be more or less true as described.

3. And here's the sinister conspiracy theory: Where do file integrity verification and DRM come together? If, and only if, planned devices are "default deny, play signed content only". If your Blu-ray2 player simply refused to play anything that isn't a wholly unaltered copy of a commercial release, the otherwise absurd(as noted above) notion that an integrity check algorithm can serve as a piracy deterrent becomes true... It wouldn't stop cammer kiddies from playing altered copies on general purpose PCs, if those are still alive; but making "blessed only" a condition of the licencing agreement for future STB-type devices would basically kill the unsophisticated pirated disk market(barring hardware hacks on specific devices, or really stupid mistakes in media design).

Re:I'm confused... or this is super sinister. (4, Informative)

Protoslo (752870) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152462)

The truth seems to be a variation of #1: the writer at PC Authority didn't actually read the press release (alternative hypothesis: did read the release, and is not only innumerate but moderately mentally retarded), but rather made up speculative, mostly incorrect bullshit based on a blog reporting on a blog reporting on...a blog reporting on the actual press release. Like a fucked up internet game of telephone where the original source was there for the picking but still willfully ignored.

The secret sauce [nec.co.jp] actually fingerprints video frames in a way that is invariant against most common alterations, including reencoding, analog capture, and hard-subs. Minor changes to the video...will leave the signature largely unaltered. No more manual checking (or keyword-search DMCA mailings?) for copyright violations.

Re:I'm confused... or this is super sinister. (2, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152582)

The secret sauce actually fingerprints video frames in a way that is invariant against most common alterations

Finally, a post that actually informed me of something, with a decent link.

OTOH, the system seems too fragile to resist any simple attack directed towards it. So if this ever gets enough attention, several tools will be created to specifically destroy the blueprint.

Re:I'm confused... or this is super sinister. (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152532)

barring hardware hacks on specific devices, or really stupid mistakes in media design).

Stupid mistakes like making the next gen disc media format even less versatile than the first gen, when fewer and fewer people are interested in the diminishing advantages to newer media formats, and streaming/downloaded videos are on the rise?

Then again, blu-ray 1 seems to be gaining ground so slowly, it might not matter at all what is in blu-ray 2. I know few people with TVs that will show much of a difference between blu-ray and DVD, fewer people who have bought a blu-ray player, and no one who has bought one that wasn't a PS3 for gaming. They might just assume that anyone buying a blu-ray 2 player isn't really going to be weighing cost vs benefit, so why not throw in restrictive crap like this?

Re:I'm confused... or this is super sinister. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152552)

My guess is, the deal is realtime identification of content.

For example when you upload to Youtube, they could calculate IDs for every frame and check for the smallest infringement; while you upload.

Alternatively, your ISP could be forced to scan your traffic in realtime. Since P2P and such transfer only small chunks containing a few frames, this could ID content. Would be "great" for the various next generation legal scams run by the MAFIA (e.g. realtime automated 3-strikes letters/lawsuits, forced deep packet inspection for ISPs, content id for "culture flatrates", etc.).

It's supposed to be robust enough to detect reencoded content so that sounds feasible.

I see a couple of scenarios (1)

udoprog (1713528) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152362)

I see a couple of scenarios:

1) They implement this crap on hardware to reject videos which does not add up, in which case it will just be seen as an addition to DRM, and will be silently ignored by anyone who's been able to google "ignore mpeg 7 checksums" for the last decade.
2) They use this crap to track pirated copies, in which case it will be completely ignored, or worked around by the ripping community.
3) They actually try to prosecute someone based on this crap, in which case the poor bastard can claim that the media file has degraded naturally since it's been passed through X steps of storage media, and apart from that he/she will be in the same boat as all other mortals are today.

Either way it's crap

Terrible reporting (3, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152370)

Press release [nec.co.jp] Let's see - 1000 hours of video = 3.6 million seconds = 108 million frames (30fps). Not 104 billion.

The signature is just 76 bytes. But a "home class PC" is 3GHz according a to a footnote. Perhaps the reporter could have read the original press release.

This stores the difference in luminance between subregions of frames. No idea why this needs to be encoded in the video itself. Seems that all a pirate needs to do is tweak things adequately so the signature changes. And I don't quite see how detecting changes is a feature. Surely you're trying to detect things remaining the same...

Re:Terrible reporting (4, Informative)

ElKry (1544795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152588)

And that's what it's supposed to do.

If you read http://www.nec.com.au/News-Media/Media-Centre/Media-Releases/NEC-Develops-Video-Content-Identification-Technology-that-Detects-Illegal-Video-Copies-on-the-Internet-in-a-Matter-of-Seconds.html [nec.com.au] , you may notice that most people got this wrong, horribly wrong. This technology is aimed at accurately (they claim a 96% detection rate) detecting copies of the same video, whether they have been re-encoded, had subtitles added, or come from an analog source (cam, etc).

The fact they mention ISPs and video hosting means that what is at stake here is the claim that "it's too expensive / impossible / whatever" to filter a video uploaded to youtube, or to megavideo, or generally speaking sent via your friendly ISP. By (supposedly) defeating this claim, they expect to make companies accountable for what the users share on their websites / lines / etc, as it becomes computationally trivial (or so they claim) to identify it - hence the mention to the 3Ghz single core home PC, something no company can claim not to be able to afford.

I could have responded to any other slashdotter that got it wrong, but I chose you because of your last sentence, which I would have expected people would ask themselves before blindly believing anything they read. I know, I must be new here.

Keep going till you have no customers (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152372)

Can it detect me refusing to watch...and finding better things to do with my time than either listen to a bunch of anti-piracy propaganda, or risking 5 years in jail every time I circumvent it?

Keep freaking going. You wanna brainwash my kids? Well every anti-piracy disclaimer I have to sit through with my kids as they grow up, I'm going to explain that uncle Disney is so concerned with his cut that he's calling you a thief and making you wait 10 minutes and watch lies equating crimes to one another that are different. Every time they want to use a tune or video snippet in a school project I'm going to explain that we can't do that because it's not worth risking going to jail or selling our house to explain to a judge that we believed it was fair use or paying thousands of dollars in extortion money. Every time they hear about a film or tv show coming out overseas months before it does here in Australia, I'm going to point out that I'd love to buy them a copy but we can't break the law and the studio refuses to sell it to me until later and for much more money. Every time a DVD store rents us scratched DVDs I'm going to point out that no one is allowed to back up them up and that the reason that we can't have more is that the DVD store is too busy taking advantage of us to care about whether or not we can actually watch the DVDs (Seriously I just had 5 out of 10 childrens DVDs - weekly movies - scratched to hell and some with cracks on their spindle have major glitches, refuse to play etc and all the DVD store would do is buff the CDs and give the same broken DVDs back - of course they didn't play)

Keep going till you have no customers you greedy cheap exploitative pigs.

Re:Keep going till you have no customers (-1, Offtopic)

JesseWV (1703176) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152528)

Every time a DVD store rents us scratched DVDs I'm going to point out that no one is allowed to back up them up and that the reason that we can't have more is that the DVD store is too busy taking advantage of us to care about whether or not we can actually watch the DVDs (Seriously I just had 5 out of 10 childrens DVDs - weekly movies - scratched to hell and some with cracks on their spindle have major glitches, refuse to play etc and all the DVD store would do is buff the CDs and give the same broken DVDs back - of course they didn't play)

Keep going till you have no customers you greedy cheap exploitative pigs.

I have news for you, it was your kids or kids just like yours who scratched and broke the DVDs. Parents allow children to handle DVDs then they bitch about how messed up the rentals are. If you want a perfect condition DVD for your kids to mess up buy it new.

Re:Keep going till you have no customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152672)

FYI, it's a very bad idea to try playing a DVD with cracks on it. It can easily shatter in your drive, destroying your player (and less likely, but possibly, throwing knifelike shards of plastic around the room)

And how will they enforce using it? (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152388)

If I'm recording / ripping, then I'm making my own original source. And I would imagine a re-encode to a codec like divx would strip the info. So what's the point?

Re:And how will they enforce using it? (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152562)

It prevents people from claiming content to be unedited, original content.

TFA is worthless, inspired by third-hand rumor (3, Interesting)

Protoslo (752870) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152426)

The firm touts the efficiency of its algorithm, saying that a bog standard PC can search through 1,000 hours video in just one second. Quite what the firm's definition of a "home-class" PC would be interesting to know as we can't quite figure out how even a dual core 3GHz box can go through the 104 billion checks for 1,000 hours of video in a mere second.

1000 hours of video has close to 104 million frames; that would yield around 60 cycles per frame on a dual core (i.e. old) box.

The innumeracy of the author aside, what does this technology even do? Apparently altering the video, even minutely, will alter the "signature." Much like...CRC-32...very cutting-edge. We should name this startling development; I nominate the word "hash." Stupefied by the summary and the "article," I turned to the actual press release [nec.co.jp] to find out what the technology really (purportedly) does.

1. Accurate detection of copied or altered video content Video signatures are extracted for each frame based on differences in the luminance between sets of sub-regions on a frame that are defined by a variety of locations, sizes, and shapes. Video signatures represent a unique fingerprint that can be individually detected frame by frame. This technology is capable of accurately detecting video content with that was created with such editing operations as analog capturing (*3), re-encoding (*4) and caption overlay (*5), which was conventionally very difficult to detect.
...
4. Compatibility with home PCs By designing a compact signature size of 76 bytes per frame, the storage memory required for the matching process is minimized. As a result, a home-class PC (*8) can match approximately 1,000 hours of video in 1 second.

It turns out that a home-class PC ("A single core CPU with 3GHz clock speed was used for testing purposes. Signatures were stored in the main memory.") is able to match 1000 hours that have already been hashed in a single second. No doubt it takes considerably longer to actually calculate the signatures. The power of the algorithm is that when the video is altered (in human-recognizable ways) the signature doesn't change much. Ah, things are starting to actually make sense. The truth is (surprise!) the opposite of the linked phrase in the summary.

This technology may allow automated, accurate matching of copyrighted video on youtube or other video sites...who cares? That is already being done, only less accurately. The law would have to change rather drastically for it to be mandated that everyone includes correct hashes in their MPEG-7 video. That is hardly necessary--I'm sure someone will spare the cycles to hash the videos and inform content owners. Like they do now...only better. Maybe next time we can all have fun panicking about the "FaceRecognition descriptor" [webstore.iec.ch] (only the TOC/summary is free) instead. Really, the 76-byte signature is just an implementation of the metadata schema for MPEG-7. The algorithm should work for any format, however (otherwise it would be rather trivial to evade!).

The only interesting thing I have learned is that NEC's algorithm uses robust, compactly representable edge detection (maybe) to compare short clips of video with extremely high accuracy; yay, computer science. All of this escaped Lawrence Latif, author of TFA (such as it is), who didn't see fit to RTFA himself before he started blogging his paranoid fantasies as fact. I wonder just who the "anonymous reader" that submitted the summary was?

Re:TFA is worthless, inspired by third-hand rumor (1)

spanky the monk (1499161) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152806)

So that 76 byte signature actually has to be computed when the movie is encoded, in order that it can be quickly identified afterwards by looking at the sig? It this right? Can I not just fudge the sig and then upload to youtube? wtf?

Sorry for the troll post, but... (1)

xtrafe (1262576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152470)

When I look around and count the number of my peers going to law school, observe the burgeoning size of the US government, talk to 'corporate communications executives', etc., I wonder if something sociological isn't going on. It's like there's just not enough productive work out there (or it's too difficult to figure out what productive work _is_) for everybody to be doing something useful, and bullshit like this is the result. I guess Ayn Rand ought to be rotating in her grave, or something.

I mean, who comes up with this crap? Why wasn't this idea ridiculed into oblivion? Somebody is actually paying good money for this?! There's a million things wrong with this idea, but at the least I guess you could say: "There are many, many ineffectual ways to deter copyright infringement. Altering your encoding format is probably near the top of that list." Bad ideas get tossed around all the time, but this one is a little disturbing.

Maybe I'm just missing something, but it seems that this is a technological idea that demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of technology. The fact that there have been so many of its ilk proposed lately is cause for concern:
I understand that there are CEOs and 'media executives' whom are out to make their shareholders (and themselves) money, and will try just about anything that stands a chance of forwarding that goal. I presume that this is ultimately where this kind of bad idea comes from. That's capitalism, and I'm O.K. with that. The thing is, given the salaries that such individuals are paid, they ought to be highly informed experts in their business... or at least not _more_ ignorant than the average individual.

It's one thing to be overpaid-- That's fine. I can live with that. It's another thing to be overpaid, under-qualified, non-productive, and prolific. That's a real problem.

Re:Sorry for the troll post, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152510)

It's another thing to be overpaid, under-qualified, non-productive, and prolific. That's a real problem.

So you agree with me: the author of the article should be fired. Excellent!

no it won't (-1)

Lilo-x (93462) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152482)

Just like any other system used for the protection of video or audio it will be broken and nothing will change,

what do i care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152494)

i stopped buying things 10 years ago, do they think i will start buying now?

Might backfire (1)

brandished (1711432) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152508)

So, 76 bytes of identifying info is encoded into EVERY frame via some form of watermarking? Mpeg-7 is supposedly an XML / ID3 type of specification, but if the identifier can survive a digital to analogue conversion, it has to be a fairly strong form of stenography [wikipedia.org] , maybe with some type of Hamming code [wikipedia.org] for good measure. The MPAA lawyers might like this, but I'm not sure film directors would be thrilled with the idea of having new artifacts deliberately added to their movies after post production.

Much more informative article here [physorg.com] .

Re:Might backfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152650)

First, that would be steganography [wikipedia.org] , not stenography.

Second, why write information into it, instead of using the information already there? If you can't identify a pure-black or pure-white frame, no big deal, but 90% of any video worth protecting has way more than 76 bytes of important visual information -- consider (relative) brightness levels on a 2-bit scale over a 20x16 or so grid? In fact, other people who appear to have read NEC's press release (and are furnishing links to it, but naturally I'm not reading it...) suggested it's something like this. By using the most significant data in the image, the only way to fuck with the "unwatermark" is by seriously degrading the picture, whereas with steganography, an ideal removal of the watermark would improve the picture.

at what point. (1)

iplayfast (166447) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152568)

At what point is a work a new derived work. If I were to alter every single frame with my own signature, does that mean it is a new work?
It's like dealing with fractals. How long is a coastline/how much is original work. You could say that since every single frame has changed it is new. Or you could say that since only 1 percent of each frame has changed it is original.

Re:at what point. (1)

Sowelu (713889) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152780)

Er, I think that if even the tiniest part of the original remains, that it's by very clear definition a derived work...

MPEG-7... (1)

bagsta (1562275) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152598)

For the curious one, go here [joanneum.at] and start hacking MPEG-7...

hackers on steroids (1)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152636)

Do they even know who they are? I give MPEG-7 5-days at the most

The first question should be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152642)

"Whats in it for the customers?"

backups (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152658)

Does this mean that when I make a backup copy of a DVD to a web-based storage system (which should be perfectly legal imho), that my ISP will block me automatically?

Track Changes (1)

EdgeyEdgey (1172665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32152680)

Without going all conspiracy theory, what if this is used by film editors? This would allow them to automatically track changes to any frame in the video being edited. Allowing multiple people to work on the same filmstrip. It may have nothing to do with what gets released to the public.

Are we looking at this the wrong way around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32152772)

Putting the anti-piracy people aside (who annoy us all so much)

This seems like a pretty useful idea if I'm understanding it correctly... as a way to compare videos quickly, or even portions of videos - in other words, think customized search engine that works based on variable comparison of this "checksum" type data.

Imagine finding a small portion of video... not knowing what it is, and how to find the full length using word based search... instead you could search with this frame-based checksum type data.

In the hands of anti-piracy organizations all this means is that the sites they have influence over (i.e. youtube) are able to sift through thousands of hours of video quickly and determine it's similarity to certain copyrighted works.... it doesn't stop you from distributing video in whatever format via means that they do not control i.e. P2P... that's called copy protection, and that doesn't work.

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