Alibaba creates 'video fingerprints' to tackle piracy

China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba has created a project for “video fingerprints,” a technology that gives each original video a unique online identity, to fight piracy on its e-commerce platforms.

Alibaba creates 'video fingerprints' to tackle piracy

Short videos have become a popular form of advertisement for sellers on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms Taobao and Tmall. But the frequently updated videos are often left unpatented due to a long application process of 10 to 30 days, facing increasing risks of being used by other sellers.

To curb the new type of piracy, Alibaba’s security lab has created “fingerprints” for all original videos on Taobao and Tmall based on the characteristics such as coding and compression of each frame, said He Yuan, a senior algorithm expert at the lab.

The fingerprints can be used to identify the video even if it is trimmed or its images are modified, He said.

Businesses participating in the project can upload their videos and have “fingerprints” generated automatically. The fingerprints are then compared against the database with hundreds of millions of videos on the platforms to determine if it was original.

Once qualified as an original video, any other videos with high similarity will be reported to the business owner.

After being online for about a month, more than 7,000 businesses have signed up to participate in the project. More than a million short videos lasting 20 to 30 seconds can be examined each day, according to Alibaba.