Permlight, Osram use IR LEDs to stop movie piracy

March 17, 2005
Permlight Products is using infrared LEDs from Osram Opto Semiconductors in a new LED system that prevents the use of digital camcorders in cinemas.
Permlight's Enbryten Piracy line of anti-piracy products uses Osram's recently introduced thin-film infrared power LED technology to transmit a harmless signal which is invisible to humans. The signal is directed towards movie audiences in cinema theaters, and will wash out any silicon-CCD-based digital camcorders, preventing signals from being recorded.

Manuel Lynch, Permlight's CEO, told LEDs Magazine that the system works by saturating the IR response of the camcorder detector array, in combination with emitting visible light at a variable frequency, above the human eye response but at levels the camcorders pick up.

The line of proprietary and patent pending anti-piracy technology uses a randomly generated pulsing algorithm that powers up to one hundred Osram Infrared Dragon LEDs. The Enbryten Piracy system does not affect infrared-based video surveillance or hearing-impaired audio systems.

The Enbryten Piracy system sells for between $1200-$5000, depending on the size of the screen. Each system consists of multiple nodes which use their own randomly generated signal - each and every system is unique and different, making it impossible for piraters to thwart. Coupled together with Permlight-recommended installation techniques, which range from shutting down projectors to sending warning messages to theaters managers in the event of tampering, a fault tolerant system can be established.

Estimates claim that the movie industry is losing $4 billion in lost revenues to piracy annually. Piraters videotape new releases and then mass produce low-cost DVDs which are sold on the black market. The US Federal Government has now made it a felony to record copyright-protected movies in cinemas.

"Technologies from digital projectors to watermarking have been pursued to track down the origins of pirated films," commented Manuel Lynch, president and CEO of Permlight Products. "None of these systems renders video cameras useless, nor can they compete with the cost effectiveness and simplicity of the Enbryten Piracy system."

"When I first saw this system I believed that it held potential to be nominated for a technical academy award," commented Karl Leahy, Marketing Manager of Osram's Infrared Technology. "Permlight's use of Osram's Infrared thin film technology is truly innovative and novel and shows the vast potential of this Infrared Dragon technology." Introduced in the fall of 2004, Osram's large format infrared technology has potential applications ranging from traditional data transmission and golf club swing analysis to covert security monitoring applications.

The final product, scheduled for introduction in April 2005, will include TIR lensing and Kinoform diffusers to create a vast array of different signal intensities and patterns. The system is patent-pending.