A patent describing a “method for validating legitimate media products” attributed to Sony Computer Entertainment America surfaced earlier this week. Originally filed in August 2011, the patent elaborates on a process by a which a piece of media could be detected as legitimate (not pirated) by comparing two load times against a benchmark for the media.
As seen in the flow chart above, the patent also describes a secondary validation stage in which a serial number and “user identification information” are checked against “reliable data, such as that sourced from the manufacturer or developer of the media title.” Examples of the user information could include account names, location, IP addresses, the speed of the user’s connection and product license numbers.
The secondary validation cycle would account for load time errors due to hardware issues, but would also be skipped entirely if the first cycle (the load time benchmark comparisons) checks out. Whether the “load time” method for combating piracy is used in future hardware efforts by Sony is unknown.