Techies take their time

AT&T, studios looking to prevent web piracy

Two of the biggest technology companies in the world spent the past week demonstrating how nicely they want to play in Hollywood.

Seeking to stake out a stronger anti-piracy position than any of its competitors in the Internet access biz, AT&T disclosed that it’s talking to major studios and labels about developing technology that would make it easier to detect and prevent illegal downloads and uploads .

The telco is still far away from implementing anything, and if it can’t find the right technology, it may never do so. But it’s making its intentions — and its alignment with Hollywood’s concerns — known now.

“AT&T as a company has considered this whole problem of digital piracy and we feel our interests very much aligned with the content community’s interests,” says senior exec VP James Ciccone.

Coming up with a solution that pleases both Hollywood and millions of DSL subscribers won’t be an easy task , as Google is finding out.

The search giant re-iterated its intentions to deploy a system that will filter pirated content on YouTube. It’s testing ID technology with Warner Bros. and Disney. But YouTube co-founder Steve Chen warns in a post on the company’s blog that “there’s no guarantee of success.”

YouTube execs had previously said a content ID system would be done by the end of last year, while Google CEO Eric Schmidt said at the NAB confab in April that it would launch publicly “in a few weeks.” The delays have led to much griping by big media companies.

But in Silicon Valley, the important thing — at least for now — seems to be to tell the world that your heart’s in the right place.

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