Monday, August 26, 2019
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Forensic Watermarking and Digital Rights Management

Forensic watermarking is one of the most effective ways for content creators/owners to detect misuse of their content and respond appropriately. Read this post to understand forensic watermarking and how it can complement DRM.

Thanks to the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, Pandora, and many more, we are now living in a golden age of entertainment. But while the consumers are now spoilt for choices, the content creators, owners, and distributors continue to struggle with piracy. To keep their content protected, industry bodies and studios all over the world now deploy a host of DRM technologies.

But while DRM can help prevent unauthorised downloading or sharing of copyrighted work, it cannot prevent all the piracy attempts. So, to add an additional layer of security, content creators now make use of forensic watermarking.

What is Forensic Watermarking?

With the help of authentication procedures and encryption, the DRM systems ensure that a consumer is not able to further distribute a content which he/she might have purchased from the content creator. But while encryption can keep the digital content protected during its transmission between multiple digital devices, ultimately, the content needs to be provided in a decrypted format to the consumers.

Once such decrypted signals reach the consumer, they are highly prone to illegal redistribution and copying. With the help of forensic watermarking, the content owner can detect such misuse of the content. It does so by embedding the host signal with an information signal.

Working of Forensic Watermarking

There are many different types of forensic watermarks, and each has its own working and benefits. But at the basic level, a forensic watermark embeds identity of the recipient into the copy of content when it is transmitted or produced. Advanced watermarking solutions can also embed several situational metadata like received format, IP address of the recipient, and transmission time.

When illegal distribution or leak is suspected or detected, the watermark in the leaked copy provides evidence and can be used for identifying the original recipient. From implementing contractual provisions to criminal action, the content owner/distributor can then initiate a host of actions based on the watermark evidence.

Common Application Areas of Forensic Watermarking

Forensic watermarking is now very commonly used along with Digital Rights Management (DRM) for premium video content in areas like-

  • OTT Platforms- Most of the popular OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, etc. now make use of a subscriber mark for tracking illegal leakage of their content.
  • OTT Live Content- Even the live content available on such platforms now carries a subscriber mark to prevent the illegal recording of the content.
  • Video Pre-Release- Even during the pre-release phase of a video, it passes multiple times between the internal and external stakeholders. Such pre-release prints now feature an operator mark.
  • Digital Cinemas- Even the movies that you watch at theatres carry an invisible watermark to prevent illegal recording.

SaaS-Based Forensic Watermarking

If you are a content creator looking for a way to embed premium forensic watermarks in your content, SaaS-based forensic watermarking service can be an ideal option. It allows you to quickly adapt watermarking and embed, mix, and detect watermarks in real-time.

Such services generally support premium 4K/UHD content and come with a pay-as-you-go pricing model for enhanced convenience and affordability.

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