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ID Number: 28
From: raymond756
Subject: Mystique Busting Picture Thieves 1 of 2
Date: Saturday, August 26 2000 - 06:48:45

From Mystique's Photo of the Day
(08/25/00)

Mystique Busting Picture
Thieves

Mystique-Magazine.com Uses New 'DNA' Technology To Discourage Top
Websites And Newsgroups From Facilitating Digital Theft


AUSTIN, TX. As evidenced by the recent events surrounding
Napster, the internet is increasingly becoming a breeding
ground for digital content theft, so much so, that an
entire new industry is emerging to combat the problem.
According to Mark Daughn, a photographer for
Mystique-Magazine.com, the problem is only getting worse.

"With
the abundance of free web hosting companies, such as
50megs.com, and the incredible growth of online communities,
such as the Yahoo Clubs, the problem is getting
worse," says Daughn. "These types of services by their
nature encourage and facilitate the exchange of illegal
content. It is not uncommon for people to post an entire
years' worth of my photographs, images that cost me
literally hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce, into
self created albums in these clubs and sites for
others to see for free," Daughn continues. "What's
worse, is that sometimes they will even use photo
manipulation software to remove the copyrights I prominently
place on all my digital content."


Mystique-Magazine.com, a non-pornographic site featuring original images
of beautiful women, earlier this month discovered
hundreds of its images posted to various Yahoo Clubs.
"Yahoo has been very cooperative in removing sites with
stolen content, often removing access to them from their
service within hours of us notifying them of the
violation," says Daughn. In the past week, about 15 Yahoo
Clubs have been closed by Anthony Coll, Yahoo's
Copyright Agent, after Mystique-Magazine.com notified him
of violations via a ceast and desist order.


"The problem," Daughn says, "is that some people just
don't care. Some naively don't consider it stealing,
and others think that anything they find on the
internet is in the 'public domain'. They even say so on
occasion with what they mistakenly believe is a disclaimer
when they post stolen content to their website or
newsgroup."

But the free clubs and newsgroups are not
the only problem. Picture communities, such as
Zing.com, which Fortune Magazine named to its 'Coolest
Companies of 2000' list in June, are taking it one step
further by actually allowing users to illegally purchase
digital content.

Zing.com gives users the ability
to post photos, presumably personal photos to share
with family and friends. But content thieves are using
the site's albums and hard disk space to upload
stolen content. Mystique-Magazine.com recently uncovered
over 50 photos lifted directly from its paid
members-only site in a Zing.com album. On the surface it looks
like just another violation. But the real problem
here, says Daughn, is that Zing.com was potentially
profiting from the illegally posted content by allowing
visitors to pick and choose their favorite photos and pay
Zing.com a fee to print them as digital prints in a
variety of sizes.

Policing the internet with
humans is a daunting and expensive task. But a new
start-up called Bay TSP hopes to change that. Unlike
digital watermarks, which can easily be manipulated and
removed, BayTSP creates an electronic profile of digital
content and then spiders the web looking for matches. It
does not matter whether the image was printed ten
years ago in a magazine or just added to a website, or
even if the image has been cropped, re-sized, or even
a portion used in creating a collage or banner.
BayTSP will find it. They then report the infringement
to the content owner, and can optionally
automatically send a notice under the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act to the website's URL and ISP informing them
of the violation.

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