Audio watermarking technique could locate movie pirates

posted by Michael Zoldessy on March 3, 2009 at 7:43 am

With new audio watermarking technology, pirated movies will be traceable.

In an attempt to deter camcorder piracy, researchers have been developing watermarking techniques that embed a secret message into a movie indicating when and where the movie was shown. Once the movie is posted on the Internet, this secret message can be extracted to reveal the movie theater and showtime, and the theater can implement additional surveillance to deter piracy. However, these watermarking techniques cannot identify the recording location in the theater.

How much affect will it have?

Read more at Physorg.

Comments (15)

moviebuff82 on March 3, 2009 at 10:03 am

This is very similar to the light brown dots on a 35mm film print that occasionally shows up every few minutes.

DonSolosan on March 3, 2009 at 3:20 pm

That’s just what I was thinking, Justin. I thought they had this covered with those dots. Does this mean that they’ve been annoying me for no good reason?

MPol on March 3, 2009 at 3:23 pm

I don’t claim to be an expert at this stuff, and therefore, I don’t really have a dog in this discussion, but I’ll say this: It’s disgusting that people can and do get away with this kind of illegal pirating of movies, and it would be wonderful if a stop could be put to that once and for all, first because copyright infringement issues ARE involved here, and, secondly because this kind of illegal movie piracy really HAS helped to all but kill off the movie and movie theatre business.

DonSolosan on March 3, 2009 at 3:37 pm

If you’re going to blame piracy for keeping people out of the theaters, then you also have to blame VHS, DVDs, Blu-Ray, cable, satellite TV, and paid downloads. All of this legal stuff is competing with theaters for customers' dollars too.

As for the death of movies and the movie theater business, paid attendances were up last year. One article I read put the figure at 16% above the previous year. How does that square with your image of kids with camcorders destroying an industry?

moviebuff82 on March 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Youtube is also a good and easy example of showing full length movies, as several studios such as MGM offer movies such as Koyanniqatsi for free viewing on a small video screen for computer viewing.

KingBiscuits on March 3, 2009 at 5:48 pm

I believe that the only way that piracy will be solved is if they put computers behind the screens that could shoot lasers at the pirates, killing them instantly.

But since that is a little too radical and too expensive, piracy will end up continuing no matter how hard people try.

DonSolosan on March 3, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Yes, KingBiscuits, but we’re talking about movie theaters where the projection booths are run by high school kids. Who do you think would crew those computers and lasers? Video game geeks. Every time you went to a movie, you’d risk becoming “collateral damage.”

KingBiscuits on March 4, 2009 at 4:38 am

Keep in mind that I’m only being half-serious. The computer thing is serious, but the lasers were only a joke.

William on March 4, 2009 at 6:40 am

This will work on Digital type presentations, but on a 35mm print thats another story.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 4, 2009 at 8:57 am

Since this technology has been in place for over three years now, it will have little effect.

KenLayton on March 4, 2009 at 9:30 am

The fact of the matter is the piracy is not coming from in-theater recording, but rather from studio screeners and other sources within the studio!

MPol on March 4, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Don S., I think the combination of movie piracy, coupled by VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray, as well as cam-corders all helped to undermine the movie business. I think that illegal piracy of movies started this trend, and, in the early 1980’s, the United States Supreme Court voted…by ONE vote, to allow movies to be made into videos to be played on VCR’s, which in turn led to DVD’s and, ultimately, Blu-Ray.

DonSolosan on March 4, 2009 at 11:18 pm

MPol, which ultimately turned into a huge cash cow for the studios. Irregardless of its effect on the theater business, would you have denied them that?

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 5, 2009 at 5:54 am

VHS saved a dieing industry by providing a new audience for ailing franchises and allowing for sequel after sequel of hit movies and discovery of new stars by older home viewers. It may have created an artistic vacuum but it allowed for the economic windfall which increased the product flow that also allowed multiplexes to blossom.

There are even some indications that piracy may help sequels such as when modest VHS hit “FIRST BLOOD” lead to blockbuster world wide openings for its sequel “RAMBO”.

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