Audible Magic fingerprints P2P files
C|Net has a story on a new P2P fingerprinting technology from Audible Magic that will let educational institutions and even ISPs block P2P traffic based on the actual files being transferred:
The software lives inside a router or gateway to the broader Internet. As it is currently configured, it creates a copy of all the traffic flowing past, identifies those bits that are using FTP (file transfer protocol) or the Gnutella technology, and then re-creates those files to identify them.
Once files are re-created, they can be matched against a list of copyrighted works and blocked accordingly. Audible Magic is claiming that 3.5 million songs can currently be reliably matched against their library of audio fingerprints and blocked accordingly, but as C|Net points out, effectively blocking all copyrighted works is going to require a lot more fingerprints.
In practice, this is potentially an enormous computing job that has yet to be tested on a wide scale. Blocking files means that someone has to come up with a list of files to block. Record companies have been loathe to perform that role, a massive undertaking that would require the listing of virtually every copyrighted work ever recorded, and that blocking services such as Audible Magic were updated as new songs were released.
I'm sure that the RIAA is anxious to see technologies like P2P fingerprinting deployed, but something tells me they're not going to want to pay for it themselves. Is it the RIAA's responsibility to pay to prevent rampant P2P copyright violations, or is this something that perhaps even the government should be footing the bill for?