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Appeared on: Monday, October 15, 2001
Philips Licenses Digimarc Video Watermarking Patents

Philips Digital Networks, an entity of Royal Philips Electronics, and Digimarc Corp. announced Sept. 18 the extension of licensing of Digimarc's patents to support new applications for the Philips WaterCast video watermarking system.

Digimarc's patents cover a broad range of watermarking technologies that can be used to support applications for audio and video. The Philips WaterCast system includes video watermarking embedders and detectors that add identifying data to the video signal prior to distribution in DVDs or transmission by terrestrial, cable and satellite broadcasters. These identifiers are purportedly imperceptible and survive all common video-processing operations. The watermark identifiers can support a variety of applications including:

o Copyright communication: Adding copyright identifiers or notices to broadcast material, videotape or DVDs at post-production mastering oForensic tracking: Using the watermark to identify and trace the source of illegal copies or where the content may have left the distribution chain oAsset management: Using the watermark as a persistent identifier within the content enabling the content to be associated with particular owners, databases and its metadata.

Digimarc has previously licensed its patents to Philips to support broadcast monitoring applications, and the two companies are now extending the licenses to cover copyright communication, forensic tracking, asset management and remote triggering using the Philips WaterCast system. "The WaterCast system is the first commercial video watermarking offering that can support the broad variety of applications needed by broadcasters and content owners," said Jan Eveleens, Philips Digital Networks general manager of the CryptoTec business line. "WaterCast adds imperceptible identifiers into digital and analog video. This enables the tracing of pirated material, adding metadata to support asset management, providing copyright notices, or triggering of downstream headend or transmission tower activity as video flows through the distribution channel."

The Philips WaterCast range comprises an embedder, which adds a program or (news) clip-specific identifier (ID) to the video signal at the time of production or transmission, and detectors that have access to the right "key" and can detect the ID from the video signal, according to the two companies. The WaterCast real-time embedder ensures fully transparent watermarking with no loss of video quality. The embedder supports both 50 Hz/625 line and 60 Hz/525 line transmission and a data rate up to 72 bps. Digimarc said the new licenses, and the video applications to be supported by the Philips WaterCast system, reflect Digimarc's commitment to extending digital watermarking technology into all types of media content and to enabling all content with an inherent, persistent digital identity that is available on demand, is perceptually transparent, and is capable of interfacing with a variety of networks and databases.

Philips and Digimarc are also working on additional digital watermarking applications for audio and video, including video copy prevention and play control solutions for digital recording devices as part of the Video Watermarking Group, which includes Digimarc, Hitachi, Macrovision, NEC, Philips, Pioneer and Sony.


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