201905.20
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Is infrared the answer to low-tech cinema piracy?

We have previously reported on low-tech cinema piracy (sometimes known as ‘camming’) where a pirate simply records what he or she sees and hears in a cinema and uploads the resulting file online. You can read about India’s efforts to tackle the issue by imposing deterrent punishments here.

However, now Chinese company Oglivy claims to have found a high-tech solution to a low-tech problem: a watermark invisible to the human eye, but picked up by recording devices.  The company says that because our eyes can’t see, detect, or pick up infrared light and that phones and video cameras can, it makes infrared a perfect tool for projecting an overlay onto a screen.

Whether the system, known as Piracy Blockr, can actually be put into use remains to be seen. Digital piracy blog TorrentFreak asked Olgivy for a real-life image of the system in action as well as an explanation of how the system could defeat devices equipped with infrared blocking technology. Disappointingly no response or explanation has been given and no evidence of the system in use provided.

We suspect that infrared may not be the answer to this problem given the abundance of infrared blocking lenses available on the market. There is, however, certainly a big demand for some watermark projecting system that does not impair viewers’ experiences and is not so easily defeated.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.