Warner Bros. Fights Piracy with an Army of Bots that Mimic Humans

By Adam Clark Estes on at

Thanks to an $80 million lawsuit between Hotfile and the MPAA, a judge ordered Warner Brothers to unseal records that explained the inner workings of their super-secretive system to take down pirated content. Now, the secret's out, and the secret is "robots".

Court filings reveal that Warner Bros. employs an army of "robots" not only to hunt down pirated content on the internet, but to mimic human behaviour as they do it. Basically, these 'bots act like a movie-stealing internet user and search a list of 200 sites known to host pirated content. If they find a suspicious link—not necessarily a guilty link—they fire off a takedown notice. The most unsettling part of the process? There are no humans involved. Ever.

"Its search process relied on computer automation to execute programs and did not involve human review of the file titles, page names or other overt characteristics before issuing a takedown notice," reads the court order. "And because the files were not reviewed, neither Warner's robots nor its employees made a determination whether there were legal uses for the files."

So it sounds like Hollywood's heavy hitters are getting more efficient than ever at spotting and squashing content. They're not even bothering double checking the work of robots! But they're still going to have a hard time keeping up with the torrent of content being uploaded to file sharing sites every day. They're going to have an even harder time taking down the file-sharing sites themselves. Technology is a hard thing to fight. [Torrent Freak]

Image via WB