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Can AT&T Track P2P-Shared Content?

A patent filed by AT&T last week details the notion that they can effectively measure the amount of legal and illegal file-sharing on P2P networks such as BitTorrent. With this technology, it enables AT&T to detect pirated material on its network but also allows the possibly to combat it.

AT&T’s patent was filed in December of 2009 and is titled, “Method and apparatus for automated end to end content tracking in peer to peer environments.” Within the patent it describes that the system will scan for content that is uploaded and downloaded via torrent on its network. From there it will categorize the torrents from most popular to least popular and over a certain period of time the system will download each torrent. It then verifies if the content title matches what is within the content folder. At this point the system can also identify each user that has downloaded the same content file. From there the system just pretends to be a torrent client and requests a download of the content title from the user. If the connection is successful, it then signifies that the user is caught.

“Content distribution using peer-to-peer protocols (P2P) accounts for a large percentage of traffic generated on the Internet. The content may be legitimately or illegitimately distributed via P2P. For example, some content may be legitimately purchased and downloaded by users via P2P. However, some content may be pirated and illegally copied and distributed P2P violating copyright laws and reducing revenue for the content producers and distributors.” Stated AT&T.

AT&T’s patent has a great outline but it hasn’t been discussed whether or not the company has actually implemented the system just yet. It is refreshing to hear about major network providers taking a serious effort in combating online piracy just like DMCA Force does. Given the amount of illegal content floating around the internet, DMCA Force provides a complimentary evaluation just to show you and your organization how many people are pirating your content. If you’re concerned about where your original material is ending up, then contact one of our anti-piracy experts today so we can work together to combat the world of illegal downloading!

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