A forensic watermark is used to embed imperceptible information or code in the video content. In case of content piracy or video leakage, a watermark detector can be used to detect the watermark and identify the source of leakage. Once a content owner identifies the source of leakage, they can take anti-piracy measures to prevent such occurrences in the future or initiate legal action against the source of piracy.
The content owner follows the following steps after watermark extraction in a video asset:
- Intelligence gathering: Once a leakage has been identified, the content owner must record information about timing, frequency, location, etc., which helps their decisions on future content releases. The information can also be used by lawmakers to improve anti-piracy regulations. This data can further be correlated with other records, such as from billing systems to identify patterns and associated suspicious transactions.
- Service limitations: The operator can immediately take down the infringing stream and impose restrictions on the users suspected of piracy. This includes limited access to content, such as longer delay windows or suspension of their use-accounts.
- Legal actions: The evidence gathered from the video watermarking extraction process can be used as proof to initiate actions against illegal content usage. The measures can be directed towards both the pirate sites and end users and are typically taken by content owners to deter widespread piracy.
Content owners also use manual identification or fingerprinting techniques to identify copyright-infringing content on the internet. They can then use automatic take-down tools or send take-down notices to the relevant parties, including ISPs and CDNs. However, in case of session-based watermarking, a stream point should not be shut down before gathering enough information to extract the complete watermark payload.
Although the pirate viewing experience will be affected, the content can again be streamed from an alternate distribution point. Hence, the identification of the source of leakage is essential to take any concrete measures against the pirates. This is also true for the protection of live DRM protected content where the leaking source must be quickly identified to disable the stream. The watermark in this case needs to survive degradation with the additional requirement of fast extraction with a short content duration.