Watermarking for DRM? Maybe one day

  2005-05-14

Watermarking for DRM? Maybe one day

  21:16, by Hagai Bar-El   , 228 words
Categories: Security Engineering

One of the biggest hurdles of DRM results is that content can somehow be leaked by a few skilled individuals and then find itself on the peer-to-peer networks again. The only way to mitigate this threat is by embedding a watermark on the plain content data that will be used either by the playback devices to recognize pirated content or for identifying the source of leaked content on the network.

That's nice, but for this we need a watermarking scheme that can be detected by a non-secret mechanism (called Public Watermarking) and for this mechanism to be such that makes it impossible, or at least very difficult, to peel the mark off. Unfortunately, these two requirements are known to be contradicting. The schemes being public implies that anyone can form an oracle that will tell him as soon as the mark was rendered useless. Once such an oracle is available there is a simple iterative process to be followed by which changes are introduced to and removed from the original content until the result is another piece of content that on one hard is not too different from the original and on the other hand does not contain a usable mark.

This is not to say that watermarking for DRM is doomed to failure - this is just to say that a breakthrough is needed to make it happen.

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