educational

Tracing Your Content

Stephen Yagielowicz

Watermarking digital content, such as adding your site’s URL to a photo or video clip, has long been a way to establish “ownership” and to (hopefully) drive traffic via type-ins, but these approaches are in need of an update to keep up with the times.

The challenge of our evolving digital landscape, according to forensic watermarking experts Verimatrix (www.verimatrix.com), is that “Managing digital content throughout an ever more complex — yet increasingly compressed — media lifecycle, while attempting to maximize the associated asset monetization, is presenting rights owners with new opportunities as well as threats.”

A range of vendors offers similar forensic watermarking solutions, while some operators prefer to take a more “in your face” approach to fighting piracy with customized watermarking schemes.

Citing the costly loss of control of recorded music distribution, Verimatrix is poised to offer solutions for the motion picture industry and other content owners severely impacted by piracy.

“Worldwide loss of business for … content owners present significant challenges not only to established distribution channels, but now even more so given that content increasingly finds its way beyond the traditional outlets,” the Verimatrix site states. “The media lifecycle is constantly morphing in often unpredictable ways, raising the bar for rights owners and technology providers alike.”

The company’s discrete forensic fingerprinting technology invisibly adds user-unique identifiers to video content at the time of download or streaming, allowing rights holders to trace the source of any unauthorized content distribution back to its original downloader.

A range of vendors offers similar forensic watermarking solutions, while some operators prefer to take a more “in your face” approach to fighting piracy with customized watermarking schemes.

One such effort involves the use of a visible watermark that randomly repositions itself during the video’s playback; for example, going from the bottom left of the screen to the top right, center and then down again. These constantly moving watermarks are intended to thwart the efforts of pirates using masking software to obfuscate the mark — which in at least one operator’s example, does not include the source website’s URL — but the username and IP address of the member that downloaded the clip.

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