IBM-NEC digital watermark standard allows one private copy

Subject: IBM-NEC digital watermark standard allows one private copy
From: Emanuella Giavarra (
Date: ke 22 heinä  1998 - 13:33:41 EEST

Financial Times 21 July 1998 by Paul Taylor

IBM of the US and Japan's NEC have agreed on a digital watermark
standard which could help electronically protect the copyright of
digital content such as DVD video discs.

The two companies, both leaders in electronic watermark research, plan
to integrate their technologies and offer them as a single standard to
the Copyright Technical Working Group for adoption.

The US-based, multi-industry Copyright group, which includes
representatives from the film and consumer electronics industries,
promotes technology to prevent illegal copying of copyrighted materials.

Conventional watermarks - nearly-invisable images embedded within paper
- have been used to protect and authenticate currencies and important
documents for hundreds of years.

Similar, electronic watermarks can authenticate electronic images by
embedding hidden data pattern within the video signal. Like,
conventional watermarks, electronic ones are normally invisible and do
not affect the quality of the image, but can be detected with special
chips and made visible to determine wheter an image is an authentic

IBM and NEC believe their technology is well suited to the emerging DVD
market, which allowes full-length films to be stored on a disc about the
same size as a conventional compact disc.

Because they are in digital format, virtually perfect copies can be made
- a serious concern for the film industry, which has therefore made
technical measures to combat pirate copies an urgent priority.

Most DVD systems use a range of technologies to prevent illegal copying,
including the "content scrambling system" and another technology called
the "analogue protection system", which prevent copying by generating
interference of "noise" on illegal copies.

The technology developed by IBM and NEC is seen as a supplement to these
conventional techniques. Once a DVD video has been encoded with a
digital watermark, a chip inside a DVD video player or DVD drive on a
personal computer would prevent the content being copied and make it
impossible to play back.

To encourage adoption of recordable DVD's, the proposed digital
watermark standard would enable users to make a single copy, allowing
them to record a television programme, for instance.

IBM and NEC want to incorporate their technology in DVD discs and
equipment in the next 18 months. They also plan to promote the
technology for other applications, including digital satellite
broadcasts and digital video cassette tapes.


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