Developments in Watermarking by Pira International Ltd

By Pira International Ltd

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There are several digital watermarking software programs available that offer wide-ranging features for embedding data in a digital picture. This is surely of interest to the amateur photographer and artist, and can even be of crucial importance for the geospatial industry. Robustness of the digital watermark is not so important, but invisibility (so the original image will not be distorted) and payload capacity (the maximum amount of data that can be added without degrading picture quality) are.

Artificial paper-based watermarks, which are two-dimensional and one-sided, are much easier to copy. However, they are often layered with other security features (special ink, for instance) that will display the word ‘COPY’ or ‘VOID’ when a copy attempt has been made, thus rendering the copied image worthless. In the digital world, copying is directly associated with the ‘analogue hole’. This term refers to the ability of a would-be infringer to capture content as it is being played (or just before it is being played).

Video watermarking A video watermark is a permanent pattern embedded in video content that is imperceptible to the eye. By embedding a unique watermark into video material at the time of production or broadcasting, content owners can identify copies of their material and even the source of these copies, and whether they are legal or not. Watermarking is ideal for the protection of intellectual property rights, among other uses. In a similar application for films, digital watermarking has been identified by representatives of film studios as dramatically reducing piracy of film in the Academy Award screener programme.

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