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Macrovision Attacks P2P Networks
September 3, 2005
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The recording, movie and game industries are hoping to disrupt activities on P2P networks by flooding them with fake files and corrupted search results: Welcome to the world of Hawkeye - Macrovision's latest weapon in the War on File-Sharing.

In order to find movies, games and music, many P2P users rely on the search facility built into many P2P clients. The Hawkeye system tries to hamper this by flooding networks with false information and Macrovision claims that it also has the ability to halt downloads or provide files that contain nothing but random noise or silence.

Apparently, Hawkeye protects video content via “a combination of Macrovision software and operations personnel who constantly monitor and block attempts at piracy on file-sharing networks worldwide.”

At the recent Entertainment Media Expo, Macrovision gave a demonstration of the Hawkeye system in action, using a Britney Spears video as an example. It is claimed that the system contacted supernodes on the FastTrack network (the technology behind Kazaa) and placed fakes resembling the video in question and after just a few minutes, several dozen fake Britney files came up in searches carried out on the network.

Macrovision has the ability to place two types of fake files onto a network. The first type, dubbed "Sinkhole" appears to be a genuine file but will never actually transfer, hanging for eternity when a user attempts to download it.

The second type is a simple fake, containing either noise or total silence. The idea is to flood the networks with as many of these files as possible in an attempt to force the potential downloader to simply give up trying to obtain the content free of charge.

Macrovision claims that this fake file flood is so successful that very often their useless files are achieving more P2P client search engine hits than the files they are spoofing. This is due to P2P users failing to keep their shared music collections clear of corrupted or worthless files.

Macrovision recognises that file-sharers represent a valuable customer base and a source of potential new revenue for both the recording and movie industry. Hawkeye can be used as a direct marketing channel to P2P users by redirecting them to legitimate sources of the content they are searching for.

Last month Bill Krepick, vice chairman of Macrovision Corporation said of Hawkeye, "When consumers try to download a file, they'll get a file that's either blank or potentially has some promotional aspect that redirects them to a legitimate album purchase."

Macrovision claims that the Hawkeye system performs well on major search based P2P networks, such as FastTrack and eDonkey, but not the BitTorrent protocol.

Macrovision shares tumbled on 2nd August 2005 after it cut its 2005 outlook, blaming slow DVD growth and slow adoption of new products.

According to Chief Executive Fred Amoroso, none of Macrovision’s three copy-protection products - RipGuard, Hawkeye and CDS-300 - have been adopted as quickly as the company predicted, with RipGuard facing the biggest delays.

Only one customer has committed to purchasing RipGuard for all its future DVD titles, with another signing up for some of its titles.

After the media industry's luke-warm reception of RipGuard, Macromedia will be hoping for greater success with Hawkeye in 2005.

Andy Evans, who uses the pseudonym SlyckScratch, leads the More File Sharing News section of and is a moderator for the Slyck forums.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Technology News :: DRM


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