Screening Room Files Eight Anti-Piracy Patent Applications

Napster co-founder Sean Parker has been working on Screening Room, a controversial project that would bring Hollywood blockbusters into homes on the day of their release, for $50 per movie. J.J. Abrams, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg are shareholders, but industry skeptics are worried that Screening Room will provide pirates with easy pickings. But now Parker’s Screening Room Media has submitted eight patent applications addressing piracy, including a so-called P2P polluter.

TorrentFreak notes that Parker is no stranger to piracy, having “brought copyright infringement to the masses at the turn of the last century.” But with these new patent applications, it appears he’s taking Hollywood concerns seriously.

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One, titled “Presenting Sonic Signals to Prevent Digital Content Misuse,” is for a technology that regularly sends acoustic signals to mobile devices, “to confirm that the user is near the set-top box and is authorized to play the content.” Another, for “Monitoring Nearby Mobile Computing Devices to Prevent Digital Content Misuse,” is a system that “detects the number of mobile devices near the client-side device, to make sure that too many people aren’t tuning in.”

Also among the patents are ones for forensic watermarking, which detects when pirated content spreads to the public Internet. According to the patent filing, “At this point, the member’s movie accessing system will be shut off and quarantined. If the abuse or illicit activity is confirmed, the member and the household will be banned from the content distribution network.”

At that point, the P2P polluter will “flood file-sharing networks with corrupted content if a movie leaks to the public,” and, as the application states, “therefore, immediately ‘diluting’ the infringement to a rate that would be extraordinarily frustrating, if not impossible, for further piracy of that copy to take place.”

Screening Room also checks for which devices are connected, via Wi-Fi scans and Bluetooth. Although all these technology could have many applications, “it’s clear … that the setup Screening Room has in mind will have advanced anti-piracy capabilities.”