Apple To Patent Anti Piracy Technology

Melanie Gross
Jun 5, 2011
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Apple, Companies, File Sharing

Have you ever seen people at concerts holding an iPhone up in the air, trying to record the live performance (and probably uploading it somewhere later on as well)? But they usually don’t know that the moment they do that, they are infringing on IP copyright law. Piracy is punishable by law, even if it is sporadically enforced. It hurts the device manufacturers as well whose device is being used in ways they never intended. No one wants to be blamed for what they never did. Camera phones are a huge part of our lives these days and often the most handy way of capturing the precious moments around us. But some people do use the built in camera’s in ways that were not intended by the manufacturers. Apple’s R&D department has made a major break-through in anti-piracy technology and has applied to acquire the patent for that as well.

Apple’s anti-piracy technology is based on a simple but ingenious idea. In movie theaters, they distribute special infrared waves for hearing aid devices. Apple’s new technology will enable the iPhone to detect those infrared signals and the iPhone will sense that you are in a movie theater. Now if you will try to record a scene from Kung Fu Panda 2 with your iPhone this weekend, it will automatically sense that you are in a movie theater trying to record, and will shut off the camera automatically. Another possibility with the same technology can be that the movie/snap you capture will be watermarked with the name of the movie.

The same will be true with music concerts, if you try to take a picture of Lady Gaga, the whole picture could be watermarked with LadyGaga, but for that concert the management will have to bombard infrared waves on the audience.

This technology may have other implications as well, such as in museums and historical places. Here the authorities can set up infrared signals for each place, so that when you point your iPhone towards that, it will catch those signals and then show the detailed info about that on your iPhone screen, replacing the human guide or tour guide headphones.

It may take some time to completely implement this technology, and it may take even longer for us to see the practical implications of this technology. But none the less, even though this technology is simple and ingenious, it will have far reaching effects. Whether people like it or not, the millions of artists worldwide will love it since they lose money from piracy on a daily basis.
At the end of the day, anti-piracy laws will more than likely be something that we become accustomed to with time. However, these new laws will no doubt make big waves at first as people begin to think that their personal freedoms are being limited when they can no longer do what they want to do with the hardware that they have purchased. Fortunately or unfortunately, companies are in the business of making money, and taking the hard line with piracy will benefit their bottom line.

Martin's Take: This patent is about remote controlling functionality on Apple devices. Turning off features on the phone while the guy with his Android phone can still take a picture of his loved one on the concert, may be seen positively by the industry, but certainly not by consumers.

I have not found any limitations to that feature online. Can the technology turn off the complete phone? What if the phone is turned off then and someone needs to call in an emergency?

This new technology is one step closer to 1984 in my opinion, with company's being able to control what you can do with your electronic devices, and what you cannot.


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  1. The Dark Lady said on July 9, 2023 at 11:19 am

    Martin, I would appreciate that you do not censor this post, as it’s informative writing.

    Onur, there is a misleading statement “[…] GIFs are animated images …”. No, obviously you don’t seem to have take much notice of what you were told back in March regarding; Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).

    For example, (if you had read my replies within that thread, you might have learnt something useful). I even mentioned, “GIF intrinsically supports animated images (GIF89a)”.

    You linked to said article, [Related: …] within this article, but have somehow failed to take onboard what support you were given by several more knowledgeable people.

    If you used AI to help write this article, it has failed miserably.

  2. KeZa said on August 17, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    AI is stupid, and it will not get any better if we really know how this all works. Prove me wrong..

  3. Database failure said on August 18, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    Martin, [#comment-4569908] is only meant to be in: []. Whereas it appears duplicated in several recent random low-quality non relevant articles.

    Obviously it [#comment-4569908] was posted: 9 July 2023. Long before this thread even existed… your database is falling over. Those comments are supposed to have unique ID values. It shouldn’t be possible to duplicate the post ID, if the database had referential integrity.

  4. Howard Pearce said on August 25, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    Don’t tell me!

    Ghacks wants the state to step in for STATE-MANDATED associations to save jobs!!!

    Bring in the dictatorship!!!

    And screw Rreedom of Association – too radical for Ghacks maybe

  5. Howard Allan Pearce said on September 7, 2023 at 9:13 am

    GateKeeper ?

    That’s called “appointing” businesses to do the state’s dirty work!!!!!

    But the article says itself that those appointed were not happy – implying they had not choice!!!!!!

  6. owl said on September 7, 2023 at 9:50 am

    @The Dark Lady,
    @Database failure,
    @Howard Pearce,
    @Howard Allan Pearce,

    Note: I replaced the quoted URI scheme: https:// with “>>” and posted.

    The current is owned by “Softonic International S.A.” (sold by Martin in October 2019), and due to the fate of M&A, has changed in quality.
    Many Authors of bloggers and advertisers certified by Softonic have joined the site, and the site is full of articles aimed at advertising and clickbait.
    As it stands, except for articles by Martin Brinkmann, Mike Turcotte, and Ashwin, they are low quality, unhelpful, and even vicious. It is better not to read those articles.
    How to display only articles by a specific author:
    Added line to My filters in uBlock Origin:,.home-posts,.home-category-post:not(:has-text(/Martin Brinkmann|Mike Turcotte|Ashwin/))

    By the way, if you use an RSS reader, you can track exactly where your comments are (I’m an iPad user, so I use “Feedly Classic”, but for Windows I prefer the desktop app “RSS Guard”).
    RSS Guard: Feed reader which supports RSS/ATOM/JSON and many web-based feed services.

  7. Anonymous said on September 14, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    We all live in digital surveillance glass houses under scrutiny of evil people because of people like Musk. It’s only fair that he takes his turn.

  8. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    “Operating systems will be required to let the user choose the browser, virtual assistant and search engine of their choice. Microsoft cannot force users to use Bing or Edge. Apple will have to open up its iOS operating system to allow third-party app stores, aka allow sideloading of apps. Google, on the other hand, will need to provide users with the ability to uninstall preloaded apps (bloatware) from Android devices. Online services will need to allow users to unsubscribe from their platform easily. Gatekeepers need to provide interoperability with third-parties that offer similar services.”

    Wonderful ! Let’s hope they’ll comply with that law more than they are doing with the GDPR.

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