Why Forensic Watermarking is so popular with Hollywood studios

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A large part of the success of over-the-top (OTT) portals like Netflix and Amazon Prime can be attributed to the widespread availability of fast internet and mobile devices. However, video piracy has exacerbated their difficulties. Since their inception, over-the-top (OTT) services have relied on digital rights management (DRM) technology to prevent the piracy of paid content. These are advanced technologies that rely on always-on internet devices, and allow OTT service providers to manage users, apply AES encryption to their video assets, and break video files into smaller content blocks to avoid piracy. This is an advanced technology.

Piracy has evolved and become more sophisticated over time, but some premium HD content is still leaked for unauthorised use, despite the best efforts.

In an OTT system where DRM protected content is transmitted using digital-analog duality, particularly at the client end, where each piece of video content must be decrypted and delivered as an analogue signal for viewing, pirates take advantage. The OTT server’s video stream is continuously intercepted by sophisticated programmes used by the pirates.

 

They worry about this leakage because they could lose a lot of money from their premium content. DRM and content production industries have tried to fill this gap by adding video watermarking to their arsenal of security measures. This is a more advanced function that embeds non-obtrusive text or codes in video frames that aren’t obvious to the human eye or easily identifiable by recording software, and in this sense, it stands at odds with visible watermarks that can spoil the user experience.

In general, there are four stages in the forensic watermarking process. Copyright or ownership data encoded in the host signal or video frame is used in conjunction with a secret watermarking key to create the (d) watermarked video frame, which is used to protect the copyright or ownership of the content. It is important that the copyright message remains intact during any and all stages of the video frame’s lifespan, regardless of whether it is resized, recoded, copied, or otherwise distributed. An unprotected watermark cannot be referred to as reliable.

To combat piracy, Hollywood studios expect OTT platforms to implement not only multi-DRM measures, but also a powerful forensic-watermarking option, enabling their anti-piracy teams to quickly discover how and from which users their premium content is pirated. Service providers that offer both services can be found in SaaS providers that also maintain a database of watermarks.

It is possible to embed the DRM licence into an offline file or to obtain it online. The video file can be licenced and used in offline mode on a domain-bound desktop. The embedded licence allows the user to decrypt and play the video even if the desktop does not have access to the licencing server. When a media library is transferred to a new device, the embedded licence is no longer functional. If this occurs, a new licence must be obtained.

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