According to today’s Wall Street Journal, a Silicon Valley start-up is developing a program that scans websites for copyright violations, thus providing infringement-incensed entertainment moguls like Doug “The Thug” Morris(TM) with better tools to use when cracking down on the web. The company is called Attributor Corp.–which looks like the more menacing-sounding “Atrributor Core” if you read it too early in the morning–and the program works like this:
Attributor analyzes the content of clients, who could range from individuals to big media companies, using a technique known as “digital fingerprinting,” which determines unique and identifying characteristics of content. It uses these digital fingerprints to search its index of the Web for the content. The company claims to be able to spot a customer’s content based on the appearance of as little as a few sentences of text or a few seconds of audio or video. It will provide customers with alerts and a dashboard of identified uses of their content on the Web and the context in which it is used.
The content owners can then try to negotiate revenue from whoever is using it or request that it be taken down. In some cases, they may decide the content is being used fairly or to acceptable promotional ends. Attributor plans to help automate the interaction between content owners and those using their content on the Web, though it declines to specify how.
If you’re interested in thwarting the Attributor when it launches, we recommend making the following text tweaks in your HTML, in order to make your site seem as undesirable as possible: “Arcade Fire” becomes “grandpa’s picnic pictures”; “bootleg live show” becomes “funny e-mail forwards”; and “MP3″ becomes “meerkat pornography.” That oughtta throw them off.