Sony Group Corporation (Tokyo) was granted US Patent US2023/0006971 A1 on January 5, “Anti-Piracy Control Based on Blacklisting Function” which determines whether apps being installed by consumers are actually piracy apps, and then interferes with their installation.
According to its abstract, “An electronic device is provided for control of an execution of a third party application based on a blacklisting function. The electronic device includes circuitry that executes a monitor application that is a part of an operating system rooted onto the electronic device. The monitor application has system privileges to examine the code and execution of the third party application installed on the electronic device. … The circuitry extracts … identifiers associated with the network resource … (and … compares monitored identifiers with the blacklist… The circuitry controls … the execution of the third party application based on the comparison.”
But there may be a risk that Google was there before Sony was.
US Patent US9058468B2 was granted to Google Technology Holdings in June 2015. According to the abstract for the patent, it’s “A method for protecting digital media content from unauthorized use on a client, is described. The method comprising the steps of receiving from a server on the client a list of processes, instructions, activity descriptions or data types that must not be active simultaneously with playback of the digital media content (“the blacklist”). The method further comprising checking, on the client, for the presence of any items on the list; and continuing interaction with the server, key management and playback of protected content only if no items on the list are detected on the client. A system is also described.
View the Sony patent, US Patent 2023/0006971 A1 “Anti-Piracy Control Based on Blacklisting Function”
View the Google patent, US Patent US9058468B2, “System and method for preventing unauthorised use of digital media,”
Why it matters
Because Sony doesn’t have to license outside intellectual property to implement such a blacklisting function into its smart TV products, it’s promising. In fact, the patent is careful not to identify the client device by category, so it could conceivably be applied to any kind of device that runs apps.
But one might expect Sony intellectual property experts to have found the Google patent during their due diligence process. Would one?
The Google patent focuses on content, while the Sony patent is about apps. Maybe that’s enough of a separation between the two.