How Digital Fingerprinting Works

Digital fingerprinting is a computer-powered analysis tool used to identify a pieces of media like a song or video clip.Let's dive into,how this fingerprint analogy can into being. Everybody has a unique fingerprint pattern,so every piece of media has its own unique features which can be identified by intelligent software. What is the benefit of this type of identification.

Sites like YouTube are able to scan files and match their fingerprints against a database of copyrighted material and prevent users from uploading copyrighted files. Sounds easy,yes?People usually mix digital fingerprinting with watermarking or don't understand what the technology is all about.

How Digital Fingerprinting Works
The problem is the word "digital fingerprinting" can be linked to two totally unrelated things.The first meaning is already stated above,while the second arises from traditional fingerprint analogy,comparing your personal computer to an online fingerprint that can be used to track your online activity. Both idea refer to a unique identifier, but with totally different functions - this second meaning has nothing  in common with ability to identify copyrighted songs or videos. Neither one involves scanning real fingerprints, but they're quite cool good technologies no matter what. 

Watermarking vs. Fingerprinting 
It's quite simple to think that a digital fingerprint and a digital watermark are the same, but they are two differing technologies with common goals.When fingerprints are mentioned in the social realm,they are viewed in spy movies or mysteries as visible identifiable signs people leave behind.That's not how a digital fingerprint operate - you can never see any evidence that a digital fingerprint really exists. The word watermark, on the other hand, typically refers to a completely visible sign on a digital file. Watermarks function as to reduce unlawful dissemination of content by annoyance more than smart technology.
Watermarking vs. Fingerprinting

A watermark is a logo or other identifying marking placed on an image or video that is visible at all times. The watermark is to discourage Internet users from copying a video or picture from one site and make use  of it for their own aim without referencing the source of it.It's difficult to pretend a photo belongs to you when it has someone else's logo is stamped on it.Unfortunately, there's nothing to show that a watermark is really effective. Pirates are able to share watermarked videos, and certain photographs with small watermarks are easily copied,so as to conceal the real identity of the owner.
 A second type of watermarking includes a hidden bit of data to a file that can be employed for tracking purposes. While this may sound less useful than a visible watermark, it allows content owners to track the source of a file with its perculiar watermark.
Digital fingerprinting offers a better way to control the proliferation of copyrighted material. The parts of a file, which can also be called its DNA, can be analyzed and identified by a computer software tailor made to screen out licensed material.That fingerprint is the same as the digital equivalent a sign - when a computer system is able to interpret its message, it a form of warning that says "I'm copyrighted!" even though, it's not quite that easy as thought.

Digital Fingerprinting Technology
Unlike watermarking, digital fingerprinting does not involves changing nature of a file. The most important use of digital fingerprinting is preventive rather than for tracking purposes.For fingerprinting to work properly, the software must be able to identify with high degree of accuracy a piece of media and link the file to an external database. To do this,a fingerprinting software checks an audio or video file to fish out portions of the file that are the same to that piece of media. The samples may include a small amount of a pixels that make up a character's shoes at the 57-minute of a video clip or the actual pitch of a singer's voice some seconds into a song.Those are examples of what fingerprinting entails.
A major digital fingerprinting company--Audible Magic, works for major content providers that includes NBC Universal, Sony Music and 20th Century Fox. Audible Magic prides that its CopySense software platform is able to pick out the source of a video clip within seconds of playback and can identify an audio file in few seconds. Audible Magic's software in only designed to identify original copy of a movie,the company claims its software is able to fish out bits of media that was recorded from a cinema screen with a camera.
Identification is based on what Audible Magic calls "the perceptual features of audio and video." The system is  quite intelligent to fish out previous changes to audio and video files so that transforming from one file format to another, equalizing audio, cropping an image or a blurred picture can't be concealed from CopySense.
Meaning Audible Magic can figure out all bits of content on the Internet? No, fingerprinting only operates with media that is already been analyzed and with a reference file uploaded to a database.This file houses all the inherent features Audible Magic employs to identify a song or video. Audible Magic's Global Rights Registry Database oversees several millions of files from its clients.

Digital Fingerprinting and Personal Identity

We only have one set of fingerprints,but the digital world opens up space for ambiguity.Years before, digital fingerprinting has been employed to describe a means of identity tracking,so every computer possesses a peculiar fingerprint that makes it trackable over the Internet.
You must have heard of IP address, the unique number attached to every computer connected to the Internet. An IP address is not an identity card for a computer. Genuine fingerprints can't be altered, but Internet service providers (ISPs) can alter users' IP addresses. Digital fingerprinting uses other details to track the identity of your computer. And things get a little bit weary here : It's highly simple for Web sites to obtain bits of information from your computer and know who you are.The IP address is the initial step,which indicates who your ISP is and the country you live in. The login identity you use on a Web site can be another hint.If you use the same login information on multiple sites,that name may be quite easy to trace with a Google search.The operating system on your computer, be it Windows or Mac OS X or Linux,grips the aim,web browser you use ( version running on your pc like Google Chrome 11.0.696.60 or Firefox 3.6.17) clips detail to your digital fingerprint.
As you now know,technology exists to trace your moves on the Internet.Is this a negative twist?That weighs on how you cherish your privacy. One of the uses of this technology is targeted advertising, which collects data for consideration  to provide ads which are likely to conform to your interests and taste.If you consider Google Ads snooping keywords from a web page you're surfing to present topical ads or amazed when Web sites are able know the city you live in, you must have came across a version of this technology in operation. As this kind of track down becomes common place, advertising and tracking firms may include opt-out Web sites (just like telemarketer "do not call" lists) that will conceal your identity.Even after that,you have know easily your identity can be revealed.
Need for Digital Fingerprinting
The term "digital fingerprinting" applies to two entirely different but similar technologies. What they have in common,is a computerized mode/form of identification. Now that we've known how each technology works.Let's have a peep on how each is used. YouTube is a very good example.Copyright infringement always affect this video site,so in 2007 Viacom filed a suit against Google for $1 billion over clips on YouTube. Google didn't upload the videos itself, but didn't prevent users from uploading the videos.Regulating a site as enormous as YouTube is an herculean task,so how can Google screen out unlicensed content?
Employing digital fingerprinting.Google uses software it knows as YouTube Video Identification to screen uploaded videos and indentify copyrighted content.It also provides copyright owners ability to control uploads or even make money from their content.This type of digital fingerprinting serves two purposes: It secures Google from inimical lawsuits and caps  unauthorized proliferation of copyrighted work.This implies that both companies that own the copyright and the companies who host the content on internet are secured using fingerprinting. The content can't be spread illegally, and sites like YouTube prevent strenuous lawsuits.

Digital fingerprinting is not a restrictive technology.Another good example of fingerprinting is Shazam,this music identification app can snap up a song's audio sample to a musical database.With smart phones,Shazam employs a microphone to collect audio from a song,analyzes it,and uses that data to look for a match.Shazam simply brings up a page of information on the song and artist and allows swift access to a music store online where a copy of the song can be bought.

Digital fingerprinting can also be employed to track PCs over the internet using different features which forms part of a digital fingerprint.
The same tracking technology can also employed for security purposes.Copyright violators and other Internet users that upload and download un copyrighted works can be revealed,tracked down and busted using with the power of digital fingerprinting. Since identification doesn't depend on an IP address only,pirates who access the Internet from unrelated places using the same device can still be tracked down.
Clearly,tracking criminals is a highly importatnt use of digital fingerprinting,this may seem like invasion of privacy to many.

Legality
As said earlier,digital fingerprinting is a very powerful ,even intrusive technology.Have you ever thought of your online activities being monitored, even only for the use of targeted advertising? Here is a important question: Is it legally allowed?
Identity tracking fingerprinting rests on unclear ethical grounds that may be considered totally intrusive and unlawful in the nearest future.Since it is a new technology,real legal issues are still being worked out. The Internet is a global network without actual borders,laws relating to digital fingerprinting may evolve differently from one country to country.
With regards to Canadian legislation,a digital fingerprint is mainly personal information, so its usage could violate Canadian privacy laws. Canadian firms are required to use all other possible means which are noninvasive method of identification before using fingerprinting.Since fingerprinting snap more information than is needed to identify criminally minded and impersonated respondents in online surveys.Canadian firms may be held by law for tracking people unless permission allowed or have used other possibilities.
The first part of digital fingerprinting covered include cross checking identifying features of copyrighted material to a database,doesn't encounter from the similar ethical challenges as with identity tracking. License holders have obligation to secure their content,and nothing from this mode of fingerprinting intrudes user's privacy. Normally, fingerprinting actually reduces the amount of copyright violation lawsuits by preventing illegal spread of licensed media. Viacom's $1 billion lawsuit against YouTube was removed from court in 2010 because Google to conform with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).Since the website removed illegal videos when told, it was protected under the DMCA and wasn't held responsible for actions of its users
With improved fingerprinting technology,lawsuits may never surface at all.That statement hinges a lot of faith unto fingerprinting technology.
How Effective is Digital Fingerprinting
Digital fingerprinting seams like the needed technology to fight Internet piracy. It stops users from disseminating copyrighted content and totally avoiding the troubles and costs of lawsuits.When employed by a firm,digital fingerprinting is a highly automated system, which requires less effort for content providers and media sites too.Even though, all the convenience points to one important thing: digital fingerprinting actually works.
Digital fingerprinting can identify millions of bits of content,content that may be spread in numerous media formats, copied or edited in uncanny ways.Video components such as color, bit rate and resolution may differ from video to video. With those variables in consideration,can digital fingerprinting really work?
In 2007, Audible Magic's Copysense fingerprinting technology tested in an online video site knows as Soapbox. Soapbox was a Microsoft project that gave access to users to upload videos just like YouTube. Even with Audible Magic's fingerprinting technology onboard,a tech site Gigaom was able to upload a copyrighted video from Comedy Central's "The Daily Show". It took some time for the clip to be removed from Soapbox, even after Gigaom contacted Microsoft and Audible Magic for comments.Imagining the video clip would be indexed and protected against illicit sharing, Gigaom tried uploading it again and It worked.They had similar success on Myspace, which also uses Audible Magic's fingerprinting.
Audible Magic protects against 11 million songs, movies and television shows. But with years of media at our fingertips in digital form, the software clearly can't protect against all illegal uploads. Digital fingerprinting also block nearly all peer-to-peer file sharing, which spreadss material directly between users. The effectiveness of digital fingerprinting in the future is totally up in the air. If companies like Audible Magic continue to improve on their recognition systems and expand their fingerprint databases, sites having user-generated content may be easier to maintain and the technology that identifies media will be more powerful than before.May be in 25 years, apps like Shazam may be able to identify between two live concert versions of "Free Bird" using the length of a guitar solo.


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