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Cisco has created a new technology, can cut live pirate video streams

Just ask anyone who has watched a bootleg stream for a pay-per-view boxing match or the Super Bowl -- new streams usually pop up faster than the copyright holders can take them down. The party might soon be over, however. Cisco has created a new technology, Streaming Piracy Prevention, that promises to automatically cut off illegal live feeds.

According to piracy monitoring specialist Friend MTS, in the last month alone its online threat analysis has uncovered over 12,000 unique instances of HD channels (1280 x 720 frame size or higher) on pirate services, being sourced from Pay TV service providers around the world. Expand this to SD resolution, often targeted at mobile devices, and the number increases to over 22,000 channels. With almost no operator is exempt, content is being source from the smallest to the largest Pay TV providers in the market.

The approach uses a forensic watermark to identify the sessions and subscriptions being used to leak the video (say, an HBO or UFC account), and shuts down those sources in real time. Companies wouldn't have to send legal warnings and hope that offending streams go down before the event is over. They could take action as soon as they get wind of a feed, without any go-betweens slowing things down.

While clever, Cisco's technique might raise concerns even if you have no qualms paying to watch big sporting events. Just because a company can circumvent the usual notice-and-takedown routine doesn't mean that it should. What happens if there's an error, or local laws require notices? While the likelihood of a mistake isn't high, it's possible that copyright holders could create trouble while clamping down on unofficial streams.

Pirate services obtain content by capturing and restreaming feeds obtained from official sources, often from something as humble as a regular subscriber account. These streams can then be redistributed by thousands of other sites and services, many of which are easily found using a simple search.

Dedicated anti-piracy companies track down these streams and send takedown notices to the hosts carrying them. Sometimes this means that streams go down quickly but in other cases hosts can take a while to respond or may not comply at all. Networking company Cisco thinks it has found a solution to these problems.

The company’s claims center around its Streaming Piracy Prevention (SPP) platform, a system that aims to take down illicit streams in real-time. Perhaps most interestingly, Cisco says SPP functions without needing to send takedown notices to companies hosting illicit streams.

“Traditional takedown mechanisms such as sending legal notices (commonly referred to as ‘DMCA notices’) are ineffective where pirate services have put in place infrastructure capable of delivering video at tens and even hundreds of gigabits per second, as in essence there is nobody to send a notice to,” the company explains.

“Escalation to infrastructure providers works to an extent, but the process is often slow as the pirate services will likely provide the largest revenue source for many of the platform providers in question.”

To overcome these problems Cisco says it has partnered with Friend MTS (FMTS), a UK-based company specializing in content-protection.

Source: TorrentFreak, Cisco Blogs

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