Philips designs watermark system to curb video piracy

Dutch electronics manufacturer Philips has developed a new system, based on watermarking technology, to help the movie industry battle video piracy.

Dutch electronics manufacturer Koninklijke Philips Electronics has developed a new system, based on watermarking technology, to help the movie industry battle video piracy.

CineFence embeds watermarks with information about date, time and place into the picture and soundtracks of movies, allowing moviemakers to trace camcorder-captured copies back to the cinema in which the illegal copying took place, Philips said Tuesday. The watermarks are imperceptible to viewers.

Illegal copying is estimated to cost the movie industry more than US$3.5 billion per year, with camcorder recordings made by cinema goers identified as one of the biggest causes of movie piracy, according to Philips.

The forensic watermarks embedded in the picture and sound by CineFence remain detectable even when camcorder recordings are compressed into formats such as BCD, DivX and MPEG4.

The watermarking technology underlying CineFence is an enhanced version of a system used to expose the origin of illegally-copied versions of major motion pictures intended only for film award review prior to their official release.

Philips watermark technology can be used to trace illegal copying in other areas, such as broadcast media and Internet, the company said.

CineFence complies with the forensic marking requirement of the Digital Cinema System Specification V1.0 and is one of several watermarking products available from the Philips Content Identification group.

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John Blau

IDG News Service

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