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Case Blurb: YouTube; Court Denies Motion to Compel Production of Source Code for Video ID Program

Posted by rjbiii on August 12, 2008

Plaintiffs also move to compel production of another undisputed trade secret, the computer source code for the newly invented “Video ID” program. Using that program, copyright owners may furnish YouTube with video reference samples, which YouTube will use to search for and locate video clips in its library which have characteristics sufficiently matching those of the samples as to suggest infringement. That program’s source code is the product of “approximately 50,000 man hours of engineering time and millions of dollars of research and development costs”, and maintaining its confidentiality is essential to prevent others from creating competing programs without any equivalent investment, and to bar users who wish to post infringing content onto YouTube.com from learning ways to trick the Video ID program and thus “escape detection.”

Plaintiffs claim that they need production of the Video ID source code to demonstrate what defendants “could be doing — but are not — to control infringement” with the Video ID program. However, plaintiffs can learn how the Video ID program works from use and observation of its operation, and examination of pending patent applications, documentation and white papers regarding Video ID (id.), all of which are available to them. If there is a way to write a program that can identify and thus control infringing videos, plaintiffs are free to demonstrate it, with or without reference to the way the Video ID program works. But the question is what infringement detection operations are possible, not how the Video ID source code makes it operate as it does. The notion that examination of the source code might suggest how to make a better method of infringement detection is speculative. Considered against its value and secrecy, plaintiffs have not made a sufficient showing of need for its disclosure.

Therefore, the motion to compel production of the Video ID code is denied.

Viacom Int’l Inc. v. YouTube Inc., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50614, 11-13 (S.D.N.Y. July 1, 2008 )

Posted in 2nd Circuit, Case Blurbs, Discovery Requests, Duty to Produce, Judge Louis L. Stanton, Objections to Discovery Requests, Relevance, S.D.N.Y, Scope of Discovery, Technology, Tools, Trade Secrets | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Case Blurb: YouTube; Denying Motion Compelling the Production of Source Code to Opponents

Posted by rjbiii on August 12, 2008

Plaintiffs move jointly pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 37 to compel [Defendants] to produce certain electronically stored information and documents, including a critical trade secret: the computer source code which controls both the YouTube.com search function and Google’s internet search tool “Google.com”. [Defendants] cross-move pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(c) for a protective order barring disclosure of that search code, which they contend is responsible for Google’s growth “from its founding in 1998 to a multi-national presence with more than 16,000 employees and a market valuation of roughly $ 150 billion”, and cannot be disclosed without risking the loss of the business. Viacom Int’l Inc. v. YouTube Inc., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50614, 7-8 (S.D.N.Y. July 1, 2008 ) (internal citations removed).

YouTube and Google maintain that “no source code in existence today can distinguish between infringing and non-infringing video clips — certainly not without the active participation of rights holders”, and Google engineer Amitabh Singhal declares under penalty of perjury that:

The search function employed on the YouTube website was not, in any manner, designed or modified to facilitate the location of allegedly infringing materials. The purpose of the YouTube search engine is to allow users to find videos they are looking for by entering text-based search terms. In some instances, the search service suggests search terms when there appears to be a misspelling entered by the user and attempts to distinguish between search terms with multiple meanings. Those functions are automated algorithms that run across Google’s services and were not designed to make allegedly infringing video clips more prominent in search results than non-infringing video clips. Indeed, Google has never sought to increase the rank or visibility of allegedly infringing material over non-infringing material when developing its search services.

Id. at *9-10 (internal citations removed).

Plaintiffs argue that the best way to determine whether those denials are true is to compel production and examination of the search code. Nevertheless, YouTube and Google should not be made to place this vital asset in hazard merely to allay speculation. A plausible showing that YouTube and Google’s denials are false, and that the search function can and has been used to discriminate in favor of infringing content, should be required before disclosure of so valuable and vulnerable an asset is compelled.

Nor do plaintiffs offer evidence supporting their conjecture that the YouTube.com search function might be adaptable into a program which filters out infringing videos. Plaintiffs wish to “demonstrate what Defendants have not done but could have” to prevent infringements, (plaintiffs’ italics), but there may be other ways to show that filtering technology is feasible FN2 and reasonably could have been put in place. Id. at *10 (internal citations removed).

FN2: In the Viacom action:

Viacom is currently using fingerprinting technology provided by a company called Auditude in order to identify potentially infringing clips of Viacom’s copyrighted works on the YouTube website. The fingerprinting technology automatically creates digital “fingerprints” of the audio track of videos currently available on the YouTube website and compares those fingerprints against a reference library of digital fingerprints of Viacom’s copyrighted works. As this comparison is made, the fingerprinting technology reports fingerprint matches, which indicate that the YouTube clip potentially infringes one of Viacom’s copyrighted works.

Finally, the protections set forth in the stipulated confidentiality order are careful and extensive, but nevertheless not as safe as nondisclosure. There is no occasion to rely on them, without a preliminary proper showing justifying production of the search code.

Therefore, the cross-motion for a protective order is granted and the motion to compel production of the search code is denied. Id. at *11.

Posted in 2nd Circuit, Case Blurbs, Discovery Requests, Duty to Produce, FRCP 26(c), FRCP 37, Judge Louis L. Stanton, Objections to Discovery Requests, Relevance, S.D.N.Y, Scope of Discovery, Search Engine Technology, Source Code, Technology, Tools, Trade Secrets | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Florida Programmer hacks clients’ web cams to collect photos

Posted by rjbiii on August 7, 2008

Just…wow:

Marisel Garcia is one of eight or nine women in the Gainesville, Florida who is a victim of a Webcam Spy Hacker voyeurism scandal, orchestrated by Craig Feigin.

Craig Feigin, a computer programmer, worked on Marisel Garcia’s computer to fix her laptop. When she got her machine back from Feigin, it had a slew of other problems so she brought it to another area repair man. One of the new problems was that the computer’s built-in camera light came on every time she was near the machine.

When Marisel Garcia got her computer back, she learned that Craig Feigin had installed a program called Webcam Spy Hacker that was using her computer’s camera to take pictures of her and send them to a Web server. Apparently Feigin had 20,000 photos of Garcia and her friends, in some of which Garcia was not fully clothed.

I guess people think they’re never going to caught doing things like this. Truly astonishing.

Posted in Articles, Computer Security, Technology, Tools | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Microsoft Releases Open XML SDK; Announces future support of ODF

Posted by rjbiii on June 16, 2008

According to an article in TechWorld, Microsoft has released a software developer kit (SDK) for manipulating the XML that is under the hood of Office 2007 files.

Open XML SDK 1.0 , available from the company’s website, is designed to allow developers to produce code enabling their applications to create, access and manipulate Open XML documents, Microsoft said.

The SDK includes an application programming interface (API) simplifying the creation of code for searching documents, creating documents, validating document parts, modifying data and other tasks, Microsoft said.

MS has also announced that its Office Suite will support the Open Document Format (ODF) beginning in 2009:

At the same time, Microsoft said last month that it will begin supporting the rival Open Document Format (ODF) in Office 2007 and Office 14, beginning with a service pack set for release in the first half of 2009.

Posted in Articles, File Formats, Tools | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

EDRM Releases its new Standard for Production

Posted by rjbiii on October 24, 2007

The Standards Group for EDRM released a new, xml-based standard designed to ease migration from one litigation platform to another:

“In the past, there hasn’t been a standard way to hand off [information] from one step of e-discovery to the other,” said Leafstrand. “With no validation tools to make sure you have done it right, it’s been a very hit-and-miss, labor-intensive operation.”

Very true. Perhaps the largest part of “manual” labor that goes into the average project centers on “massaging” the data into the a format acceptable to the recipient’s particular system. Although many of these formats have become de facto standards, there are still often nuances and requests that fall outside the norm. This makes a good data integrator nearly invaluable. If some of the more tedious tasks can be eliminated, I’m all for it. I doubt, however, that the standard will be a panacea for the industry. Keep your experienced data integrators happy; you still need them.

Posted in Articles, EDD Industry, EDD Processing, Electronic Discovery Reference Model, Tools, Trends | Leave a Comment »

Wading into the Quagmire of the Logs

Posted by rjbiii on October 24, 2007

SearchSecurity.com has posted a great article on Filtering Log Data:

Where there are logs, there is usually an overwhelming amount of log data. This makes it hard for an organization to spot security problems. How do you find the one packet among millions that indicates someone is sending proprietary information out of the enterprise?

Let’s illustrate how it is possible to drill down and find that single suspect packet through a series of screenshots. As an example interface, we’ll use NetIQ’s Security Manager v 6.0 to demonstrate the filtering process, but other vendors in this market offer similar interfaces and capabilities. Regardless of the product your organization uses, this tip will provide a blueprint for how to drill down and obtain the log information you need.

You might already have a glimmer as to why the subject is on-topic here, but in case you feel the need to question my judgment:

[Reporting capabilities of these applications] are useful when you know ahead of time what to look for, such as providing evidence for an electronic discovery request or other external reasons.

The article comes complete with screen shots and is very well written. I highly recommend it.

Posted in Articles, Data Management, Tools | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Where do Deleted Files go?

Posted by rjbiii on October 17, 2007

Most of us know the answer to this: they don’t go anywhere until overwritten. Yahoo! Tech has posted a basic primer going over the process again, but it also discusses tools for retrieving deleting files, and for “permanently” deleting files (so that they can’t be recovered).

These deleted files aren’t accessible via Windows, but data recovery software like File Scavenger can quickly recover most recently-deleted data from your PC as if it had never been deleted at all. If you’re sure you want to delete those files for good so programs like this won’t work, there’s plenty of software for that too.

Interesting piece with a few nice links to tools you might like to have in your arsenal.

Posted in Articles, Tools | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Kroll Ontrack has new tool for erasing data

Posted by rjbiii on October 16, 2007

Kroll Ontrack has issued a press release saying that the company has developed a new, “enterprise-wide erasing” product.

Helping companies protect against security breaches and comply with laws and regulations regarding data retention and privacy, Ontrack Eraser deletes all traces of information stored on targeted media, making recovery impossible.

If it does all the press release claims, it will be a highly useful tool.

Posted in Articles, Data Management, Document Retention, Tools | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Speech Recognition, Cheap and Easy

Posted by rjbiii on October 3, 2007

Web Worker Daily gives us the scoop:

Speech recognition has been positioned as the holy grail of computing for decades, but many people have found the off-the-shelf software solutions too prone to inaccuracies. That’s really changed with some of the newer products, though, and I’m now regularly using a digital voice recorder and Dragon Naturally Speaking software to do very accurate transcriptions of interviews and even television and radio segments, videocast segments and podcasts. If you spend a fair amount of time writing—even just writing e-mails—it’s worth looking into how accurate speech recognition is now.

Much of article, and the comments, focused on the promise of “faster than realtime” processing.

A comment made by one reader was intriguing:

Within 12 months, Dr. Rob A. Rutenbar, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University believes he will have a system that can recognise 5,000 to 10,000 words in five to 10 times faster than real time… cool!

Posted in Articles, Tools, Trends | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

One school district’s e-discovery challenge

Posted by rjbiii on September 14, 2007

Education Week has an article detailing one school district’s response to the challenges posed by law suits and data management:

[The district’s network manager] spent his days putting an electronic archiving system in place in response to revised rules from the U.S. Supreme Court regarding federal lawsuits. The rules, updated in December 2006, require companies, government agencies, school districts, and generally any organization that might be sued in federal court to have systems for retrieving electronic data such as e-mail correspondence if it is needed as evidence in a federal case.

That means districts need to develop policies and software systems for the storage of e-mail, instant messages, word processing documents, PowerPoint presentations, and any type of electronic file on a computer system. The new requirements have caught many districts by surprise, and school officials are now playing catch-up to adopt policies and make sure they have the needed software.

One driving force behind the district’s move was to “avoid an IT nightmare”:

“If you’re called upon to produce information on backup tapes, and you have to restore every set of backup tapes, that’s an IT nightmare,” says Michael Ivanov, the senior director of archiving at CommVault, an Oceanport, N.J.-based information-management company that provides e-mail archiving services, and whose clients include the Middletown district and the 20,000-student Moore, Okla., schools.

One Miami-based lawyer warns those districts who have not moved to shore up their own procedures and IT infrastructure:

While some districts, particularly smaller ones, may believe they don’t need to worry about the new rules that pertain to federal lawsuits, Lindsay, the Miami-based lawyer, says they should think again because state procedures typically take their cues from the federal courts. It’s only a matter of time, he says, before states begin adopting similar requirements regarding electronic content and lawsuits.

“The states haven’t adopted similar rules regarding electronic discovery yet, but they will,” he warns. “They all will.”

Changes to the FRCP were made to reflect changes in society, so state laws, if they haven’t already, will have to do likewise. These rules may not be identical to the Federal rules, but no court is going accept excuses in the place of competent execution of policies and implementation of appropriate technology.

Posted in Best Practices, Data Management, Discovery, Document Retention, Tools, Trends | Leave a Comment »