Disney wins Mickey Mouse patent for torrent-excluding search engine

'Authenticity weight' will mean search results bin out sites with little gravitas

Bambi and Thumper

Disney has been awarded a patent for an “Online content ranking system based on authenticity metric values for web elements.”

The patent will interest many because Disney says “Embodiments … enable the filtering of undesirable search results, such as results referencing piracy websites, child pornography websites, and/or the like.”

The patent makes that kind of outcome possible by giving web pages an “authenticity weight” that may be assigned by a neural network or could be user-generated.

However the authenticity of a page is determined, Disney thinks there are a few ways it is useful. One is better search results. A second is screening out nasties. A third is combating not just piracy, but ads for potentially-pirated product. As the patent explains “ an online advertisement associated with a web page selling pirated copies of motion picture films may be associated with a very low authenticity weight. As a result, the online advertisement may be altogether excluded from a set of online advertisements.”

That's a capability that will be music to the ears of Big Content, which has complained long and loud that Google does not do enough to stop results for pirated material appearing in its search results. News Ltd, owner of 20th Century Fox, is particularly vocal on this topic.

What pity for News' CEO Rupert Murdoch that Disney is also a bitter rival in a great many fields: this patent sounds like just the kind of thing he's wanted for ages. Perhaps he'll need to check out Disney's most recent mega-hit, Frozen, and just Let It Go. ®

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