Philips is planning to market early next year anti-pirate software it has developed for identifying film files illegally on the internet, according to Ronald Maandonks of Philips Research.
Based on the so-called "fingerprint" method, the technology works on the principle that every film contains unique characteristics - colour composition and picture intensity, for example - that can be used as identification marks and stored in a database for subsequent comparison against similar features found in suspect film files discovered on the internet.
"If a match is found the digital file can be automatically blocked," said Mr Maandonks.
The large American film studios have shown interest in the product, which could help stem the illegal distribution of films through the internet - several tens of thousands are daily on offer in this way, in the United States alone - something that costs the industry billions of dollars in lost revenue.
The technology supplements watermark technology - another product Philips introduced two years ago - currently used to secure music as well as film DVDs through a unique identification code comprising largely of a string of numbers. In fact, the watermark technology was deployed this year in most of the DVDs received by the 7,000 jury members involved in selecting the Oscar winners.