That’s one way to solve the problem…

In an attempt to put movie piraters to bay, the digital cinema company Cinea has just won a $2 million NIST grant to develop technologies that disrupt the taping process within movie theaters:

The company “will modify the timing and modulation of the light used to create the displayed image such that frame-based capture by recording devices is distorted,” according to an abstract for the winning NIST grant application. “Any copies made from these devices will show the disruptive pattern.”

In an interview, Schumann compared the process with distortions that appear in videotaped images of computer screens, which may show lines that are invisible to the naked eye. Rather than produce accidental disturbances, he said, Cinea plans to create specific disturbances that it can control.

Depending on the level of control that Schumann is descriping, here’s my alternative solution: instead of distorting the image, place non-obscuring advertisements. People will find a way to illegally distribute American movies to millions of people worldwide. This way, they’ll be generating revenue for American companies.

CNET: Jamming camcorders in movie theaters

UPDATE: from a resident Media Lab professor:

I don’t know how many people are aware of this, but most
digital-cinema proposals already contain a similar idea — not for
disrupting camcorder copies per se but rather for watermarking them
with the ID of a theatre and the show time. The idea is that theatres
that could be shown to be the source of a lot of bootlegs would be
denied movies by distributors.

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