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Appeared on: Wednesday, March 29, 2006
New Technology to Track Pirated Material

A German research institute has developed a watermark technology to fight hackers that is quietly gaining traction in the European audio sector.

MusicTrace, a technolgy developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, has delivered watermark technology to Optimal Media Production for a new service aimed at curbing online music piracy, MusicTrace Managing Director Christian Neubauer said Tuesday.

The Fraunhofer Institute was the creator of the MPEG-1 Layer 3 algorithm, later shortened to MP3.

"Optimal Media plans a service that will allow music studios to use watermark technology to protect the music they typically provide on CDs to broadcasters, critics and others for review before commercial distribution," Neubauer said. "Music companies are very concerned about music landing on the Internet and being copied illegally. Our technology is designed to track pirated copies."

MusicTrace technology embeds a watermark in music stored on CDs. The technology makes slight changes to sound data; for instance, the change could be a higher volume intensity in a tiny part of a song.

The technology is already being used by the Austrian subsidiary of Sony, which operates the German-language, audio-book Web site claudio.de, according to Neubauer.

MusicTrace was issued a patent for its watermark technology in 1996, he said.

Another Fraunhofer group, the Fraunhofer Integrated Publication and Information Systems Institute (IPSI), one of 58 institutes within the huge applied research group, have successfully tested a software system, based on their own digital watermarking technology, for tracking pirated audio files in P2P file-sharing networks. previous article.


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