Sony files patent for detecting illegal software by measuring load times

Sony

In the on-going battle against illegal piracy, Sony has filed a patent for what is a first in the console industry – measuring software against an acceptable benchmark to determine its validity.

The full patent can be seen here, but the basic process is similar to this –

Though the patent was originally filed in August of 2011, it was only recently published. Some of the information and wording used in the patent suggests that, though this technology hasn’t been confirmed for PS4, we will see it on Sony’s newest console:

  • What is claimed is:
    • 1. A method for validating legitimate media products associated with a legitimate media type, the method comprising: loading a first media product having a first media type on a computing device; measuring a first load time for the first media product on the computing device; establishing a threshold range of acceptable first load times using a second load time associated with the legitimate media type; and determining whether the first load time is within the threshold range.
    • 17. A system for validating legitimate media products associated with a legitimate media type, the system comprising: a computing device that loads a first media product having a first media type and that measures a first load time for the first media product; a processor that calculates a second load time for the legitimate media type, establishes a threshold range of acceptable first load times using the second load time, and determines whether the first load time is within the threshold range; and a memory coupled to the processor.

The company’s rationale behind the patent is clearly seen in the “detail” area of the patent as well:

  • In recent years, computing devices have developed universal appeal as a primary source of information, entertainment and communication. End-user products integrating these devices, such as televisions, DVD players, game consoles, computers and the like, are created, changed and refined to facilitate consumer access to digital content of all sizes and types. Thus, consumers are often able to acquire large amounts of digital content, such as games, television shows, movies, applications, etc., with a single click of a button. Such digital content is often made available for a premium by device manufacturers and third party developers, who depend on consumer licenses of their content to recoup their research and development costs. These licenses allow the consumer to use and enjoy the content without infringing on the intellectual property rights of the manufacturers or developers.
  • Unfortunately, as technology rapidly progresses and content becomes more widely available and accessible, consumers have turned to piracy to illegally acquire certain digital content, and in some cases, entire libraries of content. Digital rights management (DRM) software and tamper-resistant hardware are employed by manufacturers to discourage illegal acquisitions. However, pirates are often able to reverse engineer such attempts and circumvent the protection entirely.

To combat this problem, Sony directly uses this patent as support for its claim:

  • Thus, there is a continuous and ongoing need for novel and improved digital rights management schemes that provide additional layers of protection against piracy. Embodiments of the invention meet this need and others by providing a system and method for measuring and employing benchmarks for legitimate duplication validation.
  • According to an embodiment of the invention, a method for validating legitimate media products associated with a legitimate media type is described. The method comprises loading a first media product having a first media type on a computing device, measuring a first load time for the first media product on the computing device, establishing a threshold range of acceptable first load times using a second load time for the legitimate media type associated with the legitimate media products, and determining whether the first load time is within the threshold range.
  • A system for effecting this method is also described herein according to an embodiment of the invention. For example, a system for validating legitimate media products associated with a legitimate media type is described. The system comprises a computing device that loads a first media product having a first media type and that measures a first load time for the first media product, a processor that calculates a second load time for the legitimate media type, establishes a threshold range of acceptable first load times using the second load time, and determines whether the first load time is within the threshold range, and a memory coupled to the processor.

In addition to the new patent, Sony expect that its developers and companies will henceforth view this patent as a positive component of working with the company –

  • It should be understood that processes and techniques described herein are not inherently related to any particular apparatus and may be implemented by any suitable combination of components. Further, various types of general purpose devices may be used in accordance with the teachings described herein. It may also prove advantageous to construct a specialized apparatus to perform the methods described herein. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that many different combinations of hardware, software, and firmware will be suitable for practicing the disclosed embodiments.

More information as we get it, but this patent promises to be revolutionary in the fight against online piracy.

Thanks, NeoGaf.

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