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Most search engines, including some of the more popular ones like Alta Vista, Hotbot, Infoseek and Google, search for text only on the Internet. The search engines claim to search for images but find them only if a text word or phrase is associated with that image. But what if you are trying to find a picture of an individual or an image of a logo? There are several promising dot-coms that have created a new generation of multimedia search tools that recognize patterns and images. One of the most promising technologies comes from three former mathematicians who claim to have developed software that can “see.” Their company, Cobion, searches 50 million images a day. Their clients employ them to locate illegally used logos and other intellectual property. The problem of online sales using counterfeit logos is huge, costing companies $25 billion annually worldwide, according to the International Chamber of Commerce. This is roughly the size of the legitimate online retail sales in the United States. Industry experts estimate that as much as 9 percent of all products sold worldwide are counterfeit. Two industries, sports-attire manufacturers and pharmaceuticals, are keenly interested in protecting their brands from being forged on the Internet. Sponsors of the last Olympic Games hired Cobion to search for illegal use of their logos. Pharmaceutical companies are interested in protecting their products from becoming “forged medication” sold on the Internet. With this technology, it is possible to spot an illegally used logo on, for example, the office softball team T-shirts when pictures of the team’s victories are posted on the company’s Web site. Other fascinating uses of this technology have already been put to use in Germany, the country of Cobion’s origin. The German police identified 50,000 swastikas on the Internet � a feat that assisted with inquiries into neo-Nazi organizations. Picture research can also be extremely useful in tracking down missing children who have ended up in the hands of online pedophiles. Learn more about products and services that search for images and logos on the Internet: � Ditto.com This site was originally started as a stand-alone image search engine, but it recently partnered with NBCi and Go2Net’s MetaCrawler and Dogpile meta-search engines. � Ereo This company will power Excite’s Web-wide multimedia search engine. It will come online in the first quarter of this year. � LookThatUp.com In addition to offering an image search tool, LookThatUp.com allows you to upload an image and then click on that image to see similar images. � ImageLock By fingerprinting a client’s content, this software spiders across the Web for any unauthorized use. It is similar to the Cobion technology. � Berkeley Digital Library Image Finder This site hosts collections of searchable images from a variety of sources: NASA, the Library of Congress, the Library of Virginia and the National Library of Australia. Bobbi Cross ([email protected]) is the director of research and information resources at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis. Michelle Ayers ([email protected]) is the library director at Duane Morris & Heckscher. Both are members of the Greater Philadelphia Law Library Association.

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