autonomy_loeog.jpg Movies and TV survived the VHS scare. Whether they'll completely survive digital media piracy is a different story -- and it isn't just film and TV that's in trouble; it's music and publishing, too. In response to this concern, and because somebody out there still thinks it's possible to stake a claim to digital media, Autonomy brings us Virage ACID, automated copyright infringement detection.Souped-up with Autonomy's Meaning-Based Computing solution, which includes patented image and audio analysis technology, Virage ACID promises to be a more efficient alternative to hunting down, then suing, 12-year-olds. The piracy issue is now so grand that whole associations like Creative Commons have sprung up to help protect internet publications, for example, from unlicensed content piracy. With proper information management, Autonomy assures us, protecting copyrighted content and media properties can be achieved without endless failed business models and costly lawsuits. Locating violated written content is slightly more search-friendly than, say, trying to hunt down stray audio or video files. This is where ACID's merits truly lie. Enabling content owners to detect the distribution of copyrighted material, legal or not, ACID eliminates the necessity of spending wee hours sifting wild-eyed through the latest incarnation of GNUtella. Autonomy CEO Dr. Mike Lynch, comments, “With the explosion in interest around video sharing and distribution over the Internet, copyright owners must act rapidly to stay ahead of the rising tide of illegal copies of their content." "Explosion in interest" is an understatement. But we're a jaded society; we've seen Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions before. They're laughable. Remember ContentGuard? Microsoft, once so cozy with the DRM solutions leader, recently decided to forego DRM protection altogether. And they're hardly the only ones. What makes Autonomy Virage so different? It doesn't rely on watermarking, which means noise, mutable formats or codec changes won't affect its efficacy. It is totally independent of media format. Because of this, Virage ACID not only detects whether distributed videos infringe copyright; they can also tell when audio content ripped from a copyrighted source has been overlaid on legit video. Virage ACID's functions are a boon for companies that see the online distribution of user-generated or hosted content as critical to business. Once reliant on copyright owners to alert hosting agents of the presence of offending material, they can simply scan material as it uploads. Questionable material can be quarantined outright. This nipped-in-the-bud approach maximizes ROI and minimizes the risk of legal disputes because potentially harmful content never actually makes it online. The process also benefits end users by saving them from laggage in uploading and posting. A wise man once said, "Ownership is over." Indeed, media is now so fluid that one often wonders how wise it is to try leashing the monster. Nonetheless, we'll be curious to see how Virage's ACID affects DRM's volatile climate. The battle rages on. Powered by Autonomy's IDOL, Virage is a world leader in Rich Media Management software and intelligent video analytics. Providers of the first solution to automatically capture, index and encode digital TV, video and audio content regardless of the source, the company's goal is to ensure all rich media is searchable and accessible to any user. Headquartereed in both San Francisco, CA and Cambridge in the UK, Virage's customers include BBC, NN, Boeing, Diamler Chrysler and NYU. Autonomy Corp is a global leader in infrastructure software and major proponents of Meaning-Based Computing. Its technology seeks to form conceptual and contextual understanding of any piece of electronic data including unstructured information like texts, e-mail or voice. Autonomy recognized by industry analysts as leaders in enterprise search. Learn more about Autonomy and the Virage ACID offering at the Autonomy website, and if you've got a minute, read their manifesto on Meaning-Based Computing. It never hurts to get a head-start on the next buzzword.