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Thursday, August 24, 2006
Video Pirates Should Watch Out for Fingerprints

Following the Audio Fingerprinting, Philips' Content Identification group announced Video Fingerprinting, a technology that could help stem the flood of movies and other video content being traded illegally on the Internet.

Video Fingerprinting enables content owners, and content service providers, such as operators and internet service providers to automatically identify video segments and hence ownership of material by comparing unique 'fingerprints' extracted from the video segments with fingerprints in a specially compiled database. Compared to manual monitoring methods, Video Fingerprinting allows better statistical sampling, faster response times and lower error probability, according to Philips. The system is capable of monitoring hundreds of video channels in parallel using a single server system.

Unlike watermarking technology whereby metadata information is embedded into the audio and/or video content, the Fingerprint technology can identify a video by extracting specific characterization parameters of a video file. Philips' Video Fingerprinting system translates these characteristic features into a bit string or fingerprint. The content can be identified by comparing fingerprints of a video file received, over a Peer 2 Peer network, with the fingerprints of previously stored original video files in the database.

The fingerprint extraction system is capable of dealing with severe degradations, such as low bit rate video compression, scaling, cropping and noise addition. In addition, it can recognize a video from a segment as short as 5 seconds, anywhere within the video material. The Video Fingerprint database runs on a central server and comprises an advanced proprietary fingerprint search algorithm plus a database containing video fingerprints and the metadata identification data.

Philips Video Fingerprint system can be used to filter video for legal file sharing on Peer 2 Peer networks. It can identify a copyrighted movie and then its illegal exchange can be blocked, allowing reliable control over the flow of copyrighted video content. Another use is automatic content monitoring for copyright verification. Philips Video Fingerprinting can also be used for remote triggering in broadcast chains. A specific video fingerprint could trigger local advertisements in remote head-ends at specific times during a nationally transmitted broadcast, for instance to add the local dealer?s address to the commercial.

"File sharing of all sorts of content via the Internet is tremendous popular with consumers, however unfortunately sometimes at the cost of copyright owners", says Ronald Maandonks, CEO of Philips Content Identification. ?Philips Video Fingerprinting can enable publishers to accommodate this consumer need by creating legal peer-to-peer networks that can be monitored and protected from illegally copied content?.

Although the Dutch company did not provide pricing prices will most likely depend on the size of the database and the number of channels to be monitored in parallel.

Philips will demonstrate its new fingerprinting technology at the IFA international consumer electronics show, which begins September 1 in Berlin.

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