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Found 3 results

  1. Internet provider AT&T has obtained a patent to speed up BitTorrent and other file-sharing traffic, while reducing the impact of these transfers on its network. Whether the invention will ever be implemented is doubtful though, as net neutrality proponents generally don't like "fast lanes." Despite the growing availability of legal services, unauthorized file-sharing continues to generate thousands of petabytes of traffic each month. This massive network use has caused concern among many Internet providers over the years, some of which decided to throttle BitTorrent transfers. Interestingly, AT&T believes the problem can also be dealt with in a more positive way. A new patent awarded to the Intellectual Property division of the Texas-based ISP describes a ‘fast lane’ for BitTorrent and other P2P traffic. Titled “System and Method to Guide Active Participation in Peer-to-Peer Systems with Passive Monitoring Environment,†one of the patent’s main goals is to speed up P2P transfers while reducing network costs. While acknowledging the benefits of file-sharing networks, the ISP notes that they can take up a lot of resources. “P2P networks can be useful for sharing content files containing audio, video, or other data in digital format. It is estimated that P2P file sharing, such as BitTorrent, represents greater than 20% of all broadband traffic on the Internet,†AT&T writes. To limit the impact on its network resources, AT&T proposes several technologies to serve content locally. This can be done by prioritizing local traffic and caching files from its own servers. “The local peer server may provide the content to peers within the same subnet more efficiently than can a peer in another subnet,†the patent reads. “As such, providing the content on the local peer server can reduce network usage and decrease the time required for the peer to download the content.†Patent drawing The ISP realizes that there may be legal concerns when it starts to serve downloads from its own servers, and notes that some “unlicensed†content may be excluded. In addition to caching files, the patent also describes a system in which BitTorrent traffic is analyzed in order to connect subscribers to peers that cause less congestion. “In an embodiment, pieces of the data file may be preferentially retrieved from peers closer in the network or peers having a lower network cost,†the patent reads. In other words, AT&T’s proposal reduces network costs while speeding up the transfers of its subscribers. It seems like a win-win for everyone involved, except strict net neutrality proponents who expect every bit to be treated equally. Given the big push for net neutrality it is unlikely that the ISP has intentions to test or implement the file-sharing “fast lane†in the real world. It’s hard to miss the irony here. The present net neutrality debate first started in 2007 when TF uncovered that Comcast was throttling BitTorrent traffic. Those same principles might now prevent a system that can speed up torrents. http://torrentfreak.com/att-patents-fast-lane-for-bittorrent-traffic-150219/
  2. Disney has just obtained a patent for a search engine that ranks sites based on various "authenticity" factors. One of the goals of the technology is to filter pirated material from search results while boosting the profile of copyright and trademark holders' websites. Disney and other rightsholders are not happy with today’s search engines after repeatedly asking Google and Co. to promote legal content and remove pirate sites from search results. While Google implemented several changes to satisfy these requests, Disney has also taken matters into its own hands. A new patent awarded to Disney Enterprises this week describes a search engine through which pirated content is hard to find. Titled “Online content ranking system based on authenticity metric values for web elements,†one of the patent’s main goals is to prevent pirated movies and other illicit content from ranking well in the search results. According to Disney their patent makes it possible to “enable the filtering of undesirable search results, such as results referencing piracy websites.†Disney believes that current search engines are using the wrong approach as they rely on a website’s “popularity.†This allows site owners to game the system in order to rank higher. “For example, a manipulated page for unauthorized sales of drugs, movies, etc. might be able to obtain a high popularity rating, but what the typical user will want to see is a more authentic page,†they explain. While this is a rather simplified description of the complex algorithms most search engines use, Disney believes it can do a better job. In their patent they describe a system that re-ranks search results based on an “authenticity indexâ€. This works twofold, by promoting sites that are more “authoritative†and filtering out undesirable content. “In particular, embodiments enable more authoritative search results … to be ranked higher and be more visible to a user. Embodiments furthermore enable the filtering of undesirable search results, such as results referencing piracy websites, child pornography websites, and/or the like,†Disney writes. While Disney’s idea of a search engine may sound appealing to some, deciding what counts as “authoritative†is still rather subjective. Google, for example, uses PageRank which is in part based on the number of quality links to websites. Disney, however, suggests giving “official†sites priority when certain terms relate to a property of a company. These “authority†weights can include trademarks, copyrighted material, and domain name information. This doesn’t only affect pirated content, Disney explains, it also means that a Wikipedia entry or IMDb listing for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs†will rank lower than the official Disney page of the film. “The Disney.go.com web page may be associated with an authenticity weight that is greater than the authenticity weight associated with the encyclopedia web page because Disney.go.com is the official domain for The Walt Disney Company. As such, with respect to the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfsâ„¢ film, the Disney.go.com web page may be considered more authoritative (and thus more authentic) than the encyclopedia web page,†Disney writes. In other words, official sites should be the top result for “brand†related searches, even if people are looking for background info or more balanced (re)views. For pirate sites there’s no place at all in the top results, even though Disney’s definition of a pirate site may also be rather subjective. It’s unclear whether Disney has any plans to implement the patent in the wild. The company currently has a search engine but this only includes links to its own properties. Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  3. Internet provider AT&T has expanded its portfolio with a rather unusual patent. While most ISPs prefer to limit the amount of BitTorrent traffic on their networks, AT&T has patented a technology that can keep torrents alive, even if there are no seeders available in the current swarm. In recent years the intellectual property division of AT&T has patented quite a few unusual inventions. Today we can add another to the list after the telecoms company was granted a patent which aims to keep torrent files available for as long as possible. In the patent (pdf), which was awarded yesterday, the ISP points out that BitTorrent is a very effective way of sharing files online. However, AT&T also signals some drawbacks, including the fact that some torrent swarms stop working because there are no complete copies of the file available. “As more and more peers download a complete copy of the file, the performance of the torrent deteriorates to the point that it becomes difficult for the file to be located and downloaded. As a result, current BitTorrent systems are not desirable for downloading older files,†the patent reads. Since there are often many swarms downloading the same content via different trackers, it could be that the file lives on elsewhere. Similarly, other peers might be willing to start seeding the dead torrent again. AT&T’s patent pairs these sources to increase the availability of files downloaded via BitTorrent. AT&T’s torrent patent The patent proposes to add “collaboration information†which may be obtained from each peer when it joins a torrent swarm. If a torrent has no active seeds available, this information can point the downloader to “dormant peers†or external trackers that still have active seeders. “If the file is not available at an active peer, the tracker node has two options; it may contact some of the listed dormant peers to see if they are willing to make the file available, and/or it may contact a remote tracker node listed for the file,†the patent reads. “If the file is made available by a dormant peer and/or at a remote torrent, the local peer can then establish a peer-to-peer communication with the dormant peer or a peer on the remote torrent, and download the file therefrom. As a result, the local peer can locate and download files that are not available on its current torrent from both dormant peers and peers in other torrents.†The idea to point people to other trackers is not new. Most torrents come with multiple trackers nowadays to ensure that a file remains available for as long as possible. AT&T’s proposed invention would automate this feature. The idea to contact “dormant peers†is more novel. In short, that means that people who previously downloaded a file, but are no longer seeding it, can get a request to make it available again. Whether the ISPs has any real life applications for their invention is yet unknown. The current patent was granted this week, but the first application dates back to 2005, a time when BitTorrent wasn’t quite as mainstream as it is today. The patent certainly doesn’t mean that the ISP encourages sharing copyrighted files. Among other anti-piracy innovations, AT&T previously patented systems to track content being shared via BitTorrent and other P2P networks and report those offenders to the authorities. http://torrentfreak.com/att-patents-technology-keep-torrent-files-alive-140917/