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Groups Merge Digital Watermarking Efforts

Two groups of companies that had been working on digital video copy protection watermarking solutions for DVDs and potentially DTV signals signed a binding letter of intent to combine forces as the VWM (Video Watermarking) Group.

The new group plans to have a new watermarking proposal to submit to the DVD Copy Control Association this month. The DVD CCA plans to finalize selection of a system in September.

The seven members of the VWM Group are Hitachi, NEC, Pioneer, Sony, Digimarc, Macrovision and Philips. As part of the agreement the VWM Group selected Macrovision as the exclusive worldwide licensing agent for the VWM technology.

Video watermarking is considered a critical component of copy protection systems intended to prevent unauthorized digital copying and in providing recording and playback control for digital recording and playback devices.

Watermarking places invisible marks in a film or video that can be read by detector circuits to determine whether or not a digital video recorder or playback device is authorized to play a copyrighted program.