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Digital network-based video tagging with tag filtering

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20120308206 patent thumbnailZoom

Digital network-based video tagging with tag filtering

A method modifies a tag to be displayed during playback of a video distributed over a computer network. The method may be performed by a server computer on the computer network. The server computer may be part of or operate in conjunction with a social networking site. According to one example, the method compares content of the tag against a database of one or more keywords, such as, for example, profanity; detects at least one matching word in both the content of the tag and the one or more keywords; and performs a modification to data associated with the tag in response to detecting the at least one matching word. The modification may comprise removing a matching word from the content of the tag so that the tag is displayed in a modified form without the matching word during playback of the video.

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Inventor: Charles J. Kulas
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120308206 - Class: 386244 (USPTO) - 12/06/12 - Class 386 

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120308206, Digital network-based video tagging with tag filtering.

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This application is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/868,522 filed on Oct. 7, 2007, entitled “DIGITAL NETWORK-BASED VIDEO TAGGING SYSTEM,” the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.


Playback of video on digital networks such as the Internet is becoming more prevalent. In addition to viewing digital video, some sites allow users to post comments about the video in a bulletin board, “blog,” chat, email or other web page-based format. For example, social networking sites typically allow viewers of a video to post their comments on a web page from which the video can also be viewed. The comments can be displayed in reverse chronological order (most recent first) in a list below the video. Once a viewer has watched the video the viewer can then read the comments and add a new comment, if desired.

Commercial sponsors or other third parties may have a desire to advertise or otherwise provide information in association with a video. Such ads typically include text or images placed near the video such as commercial text, banner ads, images, etc. In some cases, the advertisements may appear for a short time before the video is allowed to play. Or the advertisements may be placed in a small region along the bottom of the video or adjacent to the video while the video is playing. Typically, these advertisements are created by an ad agency and integrated with the video or with a web page that hosts playback of the video.

Although these approaches allow some user and third-party participation to communicate about, or in association with, video content, such communication is limited.


FIG. 1 illustrates a first example video-tag-handling system based on a social networking site.

FIG. 2 illustrates a second example video-tag-handling system.

FIG. 3 illustrates a third example video-tag-handling system.

FIG. 4 illustrates a first example video-playback interface suitable for use with the video-tag-handling systems of FIGS. 1-3.

FIG. 5 illustrates a first example video-tag authoring interface that may be activated via the video-playback interface of FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 illustrates a first example video-tag animation interface that may be activated via the video-tag authoring interface of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 illustrates a second video-tag authoring interface, which is suitable for use with the video-tag-handling systems of FIGS. 1-3, and enables users to author, edit, and animate video tags.

FIG. 8 illustrates a third video-tag authoring interface, interface, which is suitable for use with the video-tag-handling systems of FIGS. 1-3, and is adapted for use with blogging applications.

FIG. 9 is a flow diagram of a first method suitable for use with the video-tag-handling systems and interfaces of FIGS. 1-8.

FIG. 10 is a flow diagram of a second method suitable for use with the video-tag-handling systems and interfaces of FIGS. 1-8.

FIG. 11 is a flow diagram of a third method suitable for use with the video-tag-handling systems and interfaces of FIGS. 1-8.

FIG. 12 illustrates a system for associating a tag dataset to a video and for synchronizing additional content included in the tag dataset with playback of the video.

FIG. 13 illustrates an example tag dataset format.



A preferred embodiment of the invention allows additional information to be presented in synchronization with playback of a video. Tag information includes visual information such as text, images, symbols, etc., and other types of information such as animation or behavior, audio, links to network locations or objects, etc., that is not included in an original video to which the tags are applied. The tag information can be synchronized to appear at specified times and places in the video and exhibit predetermined behavior when the video is presented to a user. For example, one type of tag can identify items in a video scene, as described in the related patent applications referenced above. Tag datasets are associated with a video by an identification process and can be created, edited and maintained separately from associated videos. A synchronization process maintains the desired tag presentation when playback of a video is modified with standard video transport controls.

In an example embodiment, a tag controller manages tag datasets that can be modified by one or more users. Users can create, delete or modify tags and specify how the tags are synchronized to a video. The tag controller\'s functions can include, for example, prohibiting or filtering information, replacing or adding information, or otherwise modifying the user-created information. The tag controller can perform such functions to ensure that undesirable user-generated content is not provided to other users. The tag controller can also allow third-party information to be included in addition to or in place of user content where it is determined appropriate, or merely desirable, to include such third-party information. In a particular embodiment, network linking to objects or locations (i.e., “hyper-linking”) passes through a central controller so that user behavior (e.g., clicking on a link, visiting a website, making a purchase etc.) can be monitored or controlled and used for further purposes.

Various embodiments are described including a web-based social network. The social network website embodiment allows a community of users to generate and modify tags on selected videos for purposes of providing user discussion; commercial or informational speech; educational or entertaining dialogue, etc.

Associating a Tag Dataset with a Video

FIG. 12 illustrates a system for associating a tag dataset to a video and for synchronizing additional content included in the tag dataset with playback of the video. A particular video source can be selected from a collection of multiple video sources 420. One or more tag datasets from tag dataset collection 430 is identified for association with the selected video. The tag dataset includes additional content for presentation in synchronization with the video playback to user 402 via playback engine 440, also referred to as processing system 440, or simply process 440.

FIG. 12 shows user 402 provided with output devices such as display 404 and speaker 406. Display 404 and speaker 406 are used to present image and audio information to the user 402 as, for example, during the presentation of digital video content. The digital video content may be any sequence of images displayed to a viewer to create movement or motion as is known in the art. Any video, movie or animation format (e.g., Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG), Audio Video Interleave (AVI), Adobe video formats such as FLV, motion JPEG, etc.) can be employed. Any type of suitable delivery method may be used such as playing back from a local or remote file, file streaming, etc. Although embodiments of the invention are discussed primarily with respect to digital video formats and delivery, other formats or approaches for displaying information may also benefit from embodiments discussed and claimed herein such as analog transmissions, computer rendered (so-called “machinima”) content, animation formats such as Adobe Flash™ SWF file formats, Microsoft™ Sparkle and Silverlight formats, etc.

User 402 is also provided with one or more user input devices 414 such as keyboard 408, mouse 410, remote control 412, etc. In general, any suitable type of user input mechanism may be employed unless otherwise noted. User input signals and presentation output signals are controlled by control 442 within playback engine 440. Functions performed by playback engine 440 may be, for example, performed by processes within a device such as a personal computer, personal digital assistant (PDA), a cell phone, email device, music player, or other presently known or future-developed processing device with sufficient presentation (e.g., display, audio) and user input (if needed) capabilities. Playback engine functionality can also be provided in other ways such as within or in cooperation with a web page browser, provided by a remote device or process via a network, etc.

In some embodiments, presentation of audio information alone, without visual tag content, may benefit from features of the invention. In applications where visual display is used, any type of display mechanism may be used. For example, display goggles, projected images, multiple display screens, television screens, or other displays may be employed.

Processing system 440 can include typical processing components (not shown) such as a processor, memory, stored instructions, network interface, internal bus, etc. Processing system 440 includes synchronization function 444 which synchronizes tag data such as tag dataset 434 with a video source such as video source 422.

A video source such as video source 422 may be one of many video sources 420 such as a video file stored locally (e.g., on a user\'s device) or stored remotely, such as on a server or other computer system connected to process 440 via a digital network such as the Internet. The video source can be controlled by another entity such as an individual or corporate owner or other or managing entity. Intermediaries may be involved in providing the video content to process 440. For example, an Internet Service Provider (ISP), web hosting company, database manager, etc., may be included in the control or transfer of video information. Some example embodiments that discuss specific entities and transfers are described in more detail, below.

A video source can be selected by user 402 via a user input control or devices 414. Or the video source can be provided automatically. Once selected or provided, synchronize process 444 identifies the video source or content. Several methods of identification are possible and are discussed below.

A first identification method uses an identification (ID) value. A video source (e.g., video file, stream, channel, torrent, etc.) can include an ID value as part of its file contents. In FIG. 12, video source 422 is shown having ID value 424. The ID value 424 is then used by synchronize function 444 to generate request 446 to a system such as tag server 430. Tag identification function 432 within tag server 430 identifies tag dataset 434 as being associated with video source 422. This can be by using ID value matching via a table, index, pointer, another ID value in tag dataset 434, or by using any other suitable association mechanism to identify tag dataset 434 as being associated with ID 424 and, hence, video source 422.

The format and type of ID value 424 and manner of association with the video source 422 can vary in other embodiments. A simple numeric or alphanumeric value can be used or the value can include a symbol, uniform resource locator (URL) or other address value, index, variable, array, object, structure, etc. The ID can be attached to or embedded within a video file, stream, channel or other video source, such as by including it in a header, layer, metadata, etc. In other embodiments, an ID can be associated with a video source such as via an external table, database or other construct that associates an ID with a video source. Other approaches are possible.

A second identification does not require that a predetermined ID value be used but, instead of or in cooperation with an ID, if present, derives identification information from existing video source information. For example, a name for a video file or stream can be used as an identifier. The name can be a plain text name that is used as a listing in a directory structure used by humans or automated processes, or it can be an encoded or digital binary or other symbolic identifier such as an index or ID generated by other processes for other purposes such as where a web site hosts many different video clips and uses an identification scheme to track each hosted video clip.

Another way to derive identification information is to use file content or video content values as identifiers. In one embodiment, one or more values used by or associated with a video source for any other purpose such as a sequence number, author or originator information, checksum, video pixel values, etc. can be used to help identify the video. Two or more values can be combined to derive a hash or identification value. In a particular embodiment a size of a video file is used to determine multiple video content values to combine to derive an ID. A predetermined number of video content values are obtained starting from the start of the video source contents (i.e., beginning of compressed pixel value data). For example, the 0th, 1024th, 2048th, and so on up to a sample number of word values of video content are used where each sample value is separated by an adjacent sample value by a separation interval of 1024. Each sample value can be added to the running total to derive the hash value. Other ways to obtain a hash value using one or more sample values (e.g., hash table, hash function, etc.) are possible. Another embodiment uses a separation interval that is based on the total video file size, or total video content information size in order to generate a hash that traverses essentially all of the video file or content.

Depending upon the embodiment it may be useful to generate an ID based on less than all of the video file or content as, for example, where a tag dataset may be desired to be used for a video that varies slightly from an original video to which the tag dataset belongs. Different manual or automated processing may change a video\'s content information or file information slightly. For example, header information may be changed by processes when the video is stored at a specific location, transferred in a peer-to-peer network, etc. A human may make edits to a video such as to remove frames from the video, add an effect or credit, change the audio, etc. The edited video may still be suitable for use with the original tag dataset depending upon the degree of change. In order to accommodate slight variances, a video source identification can be statistical rather than determinative. For example, by requiring that only a threshold number (e.g., 80%) of the sample values match with expected values in order to make the video file association a tag dataset that might not otherwise match could still provide suitable useful in a presentation.

A third identification method allows a user or process to select a tag dataset to be used with a particular video source. For example, a user can be asked to enter a name of a tag dataset to use, or to select a tag dataset from a list. In this manner a user can force use of a particular tag dataset in connection with playback of an arbitrary video. This may be useful where a video is similar to another video but different enough that an automated correlation is difficult. Or it may be useful to have a tag dataset\'s information displayed without requiring a specific correlation between the tag dataset and the video. For example, a process may use a default tag dataset, or a user may wish to view an arbitrary tag dataset with a specific video. A default tag dataset can inform the viewer that a correlating tag dataset was not discovered for the video. Additional information such as how to locate a corresponding dataset, or how to locate a better version of the video, can be provided, along with ads, user instructions or other information.

Once a tag dataset has been provided to synchronize function 444 the tags defined by the dataset are displayed in synchronism with video playback. Control function 442 can include standard video transport functions such as Play, Pause, Stop, Rewind, Move to Frame, etc., as desired. Synchronize function 444 acts to maintain predetermined tag display, animation and behavior with video playback.

Although specific devices and architectures for performing functions according to embodiments of the invention are described, in general, the functions may be performed by any device or process at any location or time, as desired, unless otherwise noted. For example, the functions of playback engine 440 may be performed by an end-user device such as a computer or cell phone. However, in other embodiments, either or both of the synchronize and/or control functions can be performed by a remote device (e.g., a server, peer or host computer) over a network. Tag identification can be performed in whole or in part on a user\'s device or on a different local or remote device. Unless otherwise stated, any suitable hardware and/or software can be used to implement the functions described herein. Functions can be performed in parallel or serial, processed in real time or non-real time by hardware, software or a combination of both, as desired.

Multi-User Networked Embodiment with Centralized Control

Multiple users can make modifications to a tag dataset that is associated with a particular video. The modified tag dataset can then remain associated with the particular video so that when the particular video is selected the modified tag dataset is used to provide tag information for synchronized display. For example, a first user can view a particular video that is associated with an original tag dataset that includes tags that are displayed during playback of the particular video. A tag authoring system can be used so that the first user can add, delete or otherwise modify tag information in the original tag dataset. The original tag dataset is then modified accordingly to include the first user\'s modifications to produce a modified tag dataset.

A second user can then choose to view the particular video. The second user is provided (via a system as described, e.g., in FIG. 12) with the modified tag dataset. The second user can perform additional tag modifications to the modified tag dataset to produce an additionally modified tag dataset that can be stored and provided to subsequent viewers of the particular video.

Modifications to the tag dataset can be performed in real time so that shortly after a user posts a new tag onto a video that new tag appears when another user views the video at about the same time in the video where the tag was posted. Alternatively, updates to a tag dataset can be performed at a scheduled time, or after the tag modifications have undergone review or approval by a controlling entity such as an entity managing tag dataset collection 430. In a preferred embodiment, a user who is authoring changes to a tag dataset can view the changes and then decide to publish the changes so that the changes become available to other users. A tag dataset controlling entity or system (i.e., “tag controller”) can determine whether to allow one or more of the changes or to perform substitutions or additional modifications, filtering, adjustment, tracking or other manipulations in response to the user\'s changes. For example, a tag controller can provide sponsored ads or other third party information based on knowledge obtained from user-generated tag information. Details of controller actions are described below.

FIG. 1 illustrates an example video-tag-handling system 10 in a specific application that uses a social networking site and a controlling entity for authoring, animating, playing, publishing, and tracking video tags 12. The video tag design and behavior are defined by one or more tag datasets that are used in the playback of an associated video. The video-tag-handling system 10 includes a tag-authoring computer 14 in communication with a first server 16, a second server 22, and a social-networking website 18. The social-networking website 18 further communicates with various Web-user systems 20 and the first server 16. The first server 16 performs the functions of the tag controller. The first server 16 may be employed by a controlling entity to implement one or more controller methods to control or track tag information for commercial, educational, entertainment or other purposes.

For clarity, various well-known components, such as power supplies, computer networking cards, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), firewalls, anti-hacking tools, and so on, have been omitted from the figures. In addition, various conventional controls, such as controls for closing interface screens, minimizing windows, and so on, are omitted. However, those skilled in the art with access to the present teachings will know which components and features to implement and how to implement them to meet the needs of a given application. Furthermore, the figures are not necessarily drawn to scale.

The tag-authoring computer 14 includes an authoring controller 24 in communication with a user interface 26, an authoring module 28, an animation module 30, a playback module 32, a publishing module 34, and a local memory 36.

The authoring controller 24 communicates with a tag controller 38 running on the tag server 16, i.e., the second server 16. The tag server 16 further includes an administrator interface 40, a URL routing module 42, a video-tag filtering module 44, a video-tag re-editing module 46, an additional-video-tag generating module 48, a video-tag usage database 50, and an e-commerce engine 52, which all communicate with the tag controller 38. Search engine 54 is shown communicating with the video-tag usage database 50 and can be used to quickly obtain usage data according to criteria such as conditions specified by a relational search query.

In the present specific embodiment, the tag controller 38 further communicates with a video-tag module 56 running on the social-networking site 18. The social-networking website 18 can be a site where videos are accessed by multiple users, such as,, or For the purposes of the present discussion, a social-networking site or website may be any website adapted to enable users to interact or communicate with each other. It should be apparent that other types of websites, applications or other hosts can be provided with video tagging functionality described herein.

For illustrative purposes, the social-networking website 18 is shown maintaining video information 58, including video content 60 to be published. Publishing of the video content 60 by the social-networking website 18 enables access to the video content 60 by the Web-user systems 20. The video information 58 further includes video identification information (video ID) 62 and the video-tag module 56. The video-tag module 56 may include computer code for selectively retrieving video-tag information from the tag server 16, as discussed more fully below. An additional Web-video playback module 64 facilitates user access to the video-content 60 by the Web-user systems 20.

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