Security technologies need to be developed now, experts say

LAS VEGAS — Hollywood must invest heavily in anti-piracy technologies over the next five years, before fast-improving networks and storage capabilities overwhelm any chance of preventing illegal movies from remaining widely available, said a panel of attorneys and technologists at the Consumer Electronics Show.

“You’re going to see a lot more piracy in music, and a ramping up of piracy in movies,” said Paul Kocher, prexy of Cryptography Research, a San Francisco company that specializes in anti-piracy technology. “The question is, When are the studios going to get it together with new security technologies? You’re never going to get perfect security, but the goal is maximize the pie.”

Kocher said at current rates of technology development, by 2012 a computer hard drive costing just $250 will store a whopping 160 terabytes of information, the equivalent of 100,000 compact discs of music, or a few thousand movies.

“The technological impediments to moving files back and forth are going to go away,” Kocher said. “But the timeline to deploy good digital rights management is five to 10 years, if a really strong effort started today.”

“The bandwidth (to easily swap files) is growing, and piracy is rising,” warned Thomas W. Temple, director of the Motion Picture Assn.’s worldwide Internet anti-piracy efforts.

Attorney Laurence F. Pulgram, who defended SonicBlue from a suit by entertainment companies over its Replay digital video recorder, predicted a legal Napster-like service will be developed in the next few years that provides piracy-proofed movies and music. The original Napster collapsed before a music-industry legal assault, but Pulgram said the music-swapping service was ahead of its time.

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