Forensic Digital Watermarks

Watermarking images and videos is probably nothing new to most people these least the ones you can actually see. With the growing trend of on-line delivery of content, producers are seeking "forensic watermarking" technology. By injecting code into either the video stream or audio stream, it becomes possible to track content directly to the source and every hand it has passed through.

What this does is allow say a movie studio to license content to someone like NetFlix. They intern allow you to watch it on-line and inject a code in the stream that includes their license info, and who they allowed to watch it.

Because you are a NetFlix user of course, paying for the service,  you are completely legal in viewing it under there license agreement with the studio. This technology, of course is designed to curb file-sharing and piracy It is also not limited to online content but can also be embedded into DVD's commercially produced.

It would be rather easy for someone like Microsoft to deliver some sort of Windows Update to facilitate this process.  Since they have already patented a watermarking system for audio that is inaudible and undetectable...would you put it past them. Apparently, according to the patent, this can be used on audio that is not even DRM protected.

Because these watermark systems place code in multiple random spots in the A/V stream, hackers will have a hard time eliminating or even detecting the code.

So even casual copying of a DVD and giving it to a friend who in turn shares it, could be spreading your info out. Now logically, stamping each and everybody's info that passes on a video would likely destroy the content at some point. But it wouldn't be hard to reserve a special place...just for you...both on the video or audio file...and the room you get sent to for being bad.