Intellectual Property Day: MySpace Anti-Piracy, DRM Name Change, Apple C&D

Lots of Intellectual Property-related news today:

MySpace has announced their implementation of copy protection, aptly named “Take Down and Stay Down”, that promises to knock out user generated piracy like a prize fighter. Now identified copyrighted audio and video content will be taken from the site, fingerprinted, and blocked from reposting. The service will also feature a tool for copyright holders to discover their content on MySpace. The new service will be powered by Audible Magic, which has become a technology of choice for YouTube and Dailymotion’s anti-piracy efforts. Metacafe allegedly has their own internal IP control. GigaOm has a good roundup of some other finger printing services.

In a move that would make Orwell fans grin, HBO’s Chief Technology Officer, Bob Zitter, suggested DRM needed a name change to Digital Consumer Enablement (DCE) in a speech at The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) conference in Las Vegas. Zitter backs up the statement by highlighting the new content publishers would be willing to distribute if their rights could be secured. After the speech, Zitter spoke about HBO’s technological adventures into HD broadcasting over digital networks, noting there was still an “analog gap” where piracy could easily take place. Coming this late in the game, the statement seems like a belated attempt to put the anti-DRM cat back in the bag.

Media Rights Technologies, makers of an anti-piracy X1 SeCure Recording Control technology, has issued a cease and desist letter to Apple, Microsoft, Real, and Adobe. The letter argues the multimedia players these companies produce are in violation of the DMCA because they avoided implementing effective DRM technologies, specifically their own. The DMCA makes it illegal to circumvent technological protections that control access to copyrighted works. MRT alledges that “mere avoidance of an effective copyright protection solution is a violation of the act”. The letter also alludes to potential monetary damages of at least $200 to $2,500 per product distributed. Considering Apple iPods just crossed the 100 million mark, that’s a lot of fictional dollars on the line.

However, with the developments concerning EMI on iTunes and statements of ex-Yahoo David Goldberg, MRT may be on the wrong side of history.