In search of: An engineering ninja who wants to help keep pirates’ hands off Pirates of the Caribbean.
Motion Pictures Laboratories, Inc. (MovieLabs) is a non-profit startup based in Palo Alto funded by the six major Hollywood studios to advance research in areas the movie industry regards as critical. The model is based on the cable industry’s CableLabs R&D incubator and also counts the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as inspiration.
It’s announced an open challenge offering grant money to people who submit proposed solutions to a number of problems the industry feels need to be addressed. For instance, those pesky hackers at the Doom9 forums have unearthed the latest AACS key yet again. Hence, MovieLabs is looking for “innovative techniques for hiding asymmetric cryptographic keys in software.”
Promising proposals will receive grants anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 to continue research. These are “strictly problems we think smart people want to solve,” CEO Steve Weinstein told me over the phone yesterday. Like CableLabs and DARPA, the only goal is to fund research — they won’t be in the business of bringing the solutions to market, and any successful invention will be the property of the inventor, Weinstein assured.
While there’s no mention of digital rights management on the MovieLabs site, the focus is primarily on anti-piracy efforts, including defeating and detecting camcorders in theaters and identifying copyrighted material , even if it’s been transformed (such as mashups or transcoding into alternate formats).
MovieLabs is also hiring senior engineers focused on security and multimedia networking for full-time positions in either Palo Alto or Los Angeles.
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