US TV network NBC, which makes top torrent totty like, er, America's Got Talent and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, has applied for a patent that appears to offer a means to track down and remove torrents the very minute they go live and start attracting the content leeches.
The actual patent says it's an early detection system that looks for "high volume swarms in a peer-to-peer network" that are the telltale signs that a torrent file's about to do the business, raising an alarm and allowing an eager-to-please ISP to block traffic and report the users ASAP. The patent explains the problems faced by rights holders with: "...there is typically a delay of several days between when piracy is detected and a notice can be dispatched to commence the cessation of a particular peer. There are large amounts of piracy on the Internet and the time span of established processes to counter P2P piracy takes several days or longer of data gathering and processing. Consequently, anti-piracy measures tend to be reactive and results in an inefficient allocation of resources."
But not if NBC and its parent company Comcast gets their way. Although with the patent originally filed in 2009, it doesn't appear keen to actually pursue this and put it into practise, what with crackdowns on internet traffic not exactly winning any fans. [TorrentFreak via TNW]