McAfee patents anti-piracy filter

By on April 25, 2013, 4:30 PM

A recent patent published by McAfee describes what amounts to an anti-piracy system. Titled "Detect and prevent illegal consumption of content on the internet", McAfee's approach would employ a centralized blocklist-style system to issue warnings for -- or entirely block -- links leading to content of questionable legal standing.

The most basic underpinnings of the system sound similar to Google's Safe Browsing API or Microsoft's SmartScreen, but with a laser-like focus on pirated materials instead of phishing and malware. Such a system might be an ideal addition to McAfee's existing SiteAdvisor tool.

McAfee claims there are numerous reasons consumers and businesses might wish to block pirated material. Most notably, the security firm cited oft-expensive lawsuits which may arise from accessing illegal content. Additionally, unauthorized content like cracked software and key generators often serve as vessels for malware authors to distribute their handiwork. Such illegitimate files could pose a threat to both privacy and security.

The patent does not go into great detail about the methods used to determine whether or not content is illegal; however, it does describe a system in which URLs, web-crawling data and file names could be parsed to develop contextual analysis and identify content. There is also a mention of a crowd-sourcing feature which would encourage users to provide additional information about websites to McAfee.

When a user runs into copyright-infringing links, one of the system's most interesting features may be its proposed ability to present or redirect users to legal alternatives. "By informing a user of illegal sources and possible alternatives," McAfee explains, "a user can obtain the desired electronic distribution without violating an author’s intellectual property rights".

Although the filing does not mention monetization, referral links to authorized distributors sounds like a simple way to monetize this feature.




User Comments: 12

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1 person liked this | JC713 JC713 said:

Stop invading my kool-aid.

1 person liked this | psycros psycros said:

McAfee: where crazy meets awful.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Is this McAfee chump still on the lam?

Guest said:

This is not a "patent". This is a patent "application". The distinction is significant.

EEatGDL said:

"McAfee claims there are numerous reasons consumers and businesses might wish to block pirated material."

Consumers... seriously? Simply most of Youtube's content may be categorized as "pirated" and Youtube constantly either takes down the audio or the video or whole account; imagine that on the whole internet browsing.

Guest said:

That "patent" looks like what every single one of today¬'s firewalls do...

Guest said:

Sounds like people who create malware and viruses are going to have a hayday with people surfing online without antivirus programs to illegally download content if they actually start putting programs like this into protection software

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Sounds like people who create malware and viruses are going to have a hayday with people surfing online without antivirus programs to illegally download content if they actually start putting programs like this into protection software
Nah, the free AV programs won't have this. You'll have to buy the paid version to have yourself "protected from illegal downloading". (Yes, I'm being snide).

This patent application is really emblematic of how irrelevant McAfee has become in the realm of consumer AV strategies. At least it appears that way, if the way they're trying to suck up to content providers is any indication.. Even if someone who has no intention of downloading pirated material, this should be massively off putting just for general principles.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Nah, the free AV programs won't have this. You'll have to buy the paid version to have yourself "protected from illegal downloading". (Yes, I'm being snide).
I was figuring the opposite, get the paid version to avoid the hassle. lol

mrcavooter mrcavooter said:

I wonder how much "Bath Salts" had to be smoked to come up with this one.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I wonder how much "Bath Salts" had to be smoked to come up with this one.
It's more than likely something that crawled out of the hot, stinking jungles of Ecuador because McAfee needed money to either post bail of flee to a country with no US extradition treaty.

Guest said:

Another reason to not use McAfee product!

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