December 28, 2010, Updated September 27, 2012

Mimicking techniques used to map human DNA, researchers in Israel have developed a method that detects pirated clips.

The discovery could help to stem the billions of dollars worth of lost revenue caused by people downloading television shows and movies from the Internet.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University say they can hunt down pirates by using what they call the video’s “genetic code.” The system is designed to search videos as quickly as search engines seek out texts. Its developers say the technology will allow film producers to search the Internet for video pirates.

It works by placing an invisible grid over the original video and using it to detect changes in color, resolution manipulations and geometric transformations, much like DNA is used to trace genealogy.

The illegal downloading and streaming videos of movies on the Internet are responsible for up to 40 percent of the movie industries losses to piracy, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. The rest comes from illegal DVDs and other physical means of storing and transferring video content.

The Media Line reports that global losses for the entertainment industry caused by video piracy were estimated at about $9 million last year. In the Middle East, movie pirate losses in Iran were $100 million, Saudi Arabia $95 million, Israel $61 million and Turkey $29 million.


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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director

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