Attributor Announces New Tool For Copyright Holders To Discover Unauthorized Online Use
Attributor, a concern from Redwood City, Calif., has begun testing a system to scan the Web for copyrighted audio, video, images and text. With the acquired data, Attributor’s clients will have the ability to request that Web sites take content down or provide payment for its use.
The start-up, which was founded last year and has been quietly combing the web, is emerging into the public eye today, at a time when some media and entertainment companies’ frustration with difficulties identifying infringing uses of their content online is increasing.
Media and entertainment companies have so far relied on a combination of technology and their own scanning to protect their content online with mixed results. Media companies have used digital-rights management technology designed to make it hard to copy or transfer files. But such measures have often proved to be clumsy, despised by consumers or quickly thwarted. That’s the case for DRM technology built into DVDs to prevent them from being ripped onto computers, for example. Entertainment and media companies have also relied on their own staff to scan Web sites for infringing content. But even when such content is spotted and taken down, the companies often see the content pop up in the same places or elsewhere soon after.
Though its service isn’t out yet, Attributor appears to go further than existing techniques for detecting unauthorized uses of content online. Its co-founders, former Yahoo Inc. executive Jim Brock, and Jim Pitkow, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has sold companies to Google and VeriSign Inc., claim to have cracked the computer-science problem of scouring the entire Web by using undisclosed technology to efficiently process and filter through chunks of content. The company says it will have over 10 billion Web pages in its index before the end of this month.