Application of Error Control Coding for Multimedia Watermarking Technologies

Application of Error Control Coding for Multimedia Watermarking Technologies

Mehul S. Raval (DA-IICT, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2136-7.ch042
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Intellectual property right, copyright, trade mark, digital rights management (DRM) are buzz words heard more often in era of Internet. Along with the uncountable advantages Internet has also brought certain evils. These evils have social, technological, economical and legal impact on our society in general. One of the issues concerning the “content creators” is mass violations of copyrights for their work through illegal distribution via “darknet”. Watermarking is seen as one of the component for DRM systems that can act as a deterrent to content flowing into the darknet. The performance of watermarking schemes can be improved if channel codes are used for encoding the hidden message. The chapter targets applications of Error Control Coding (ECC) to watermarking namely: copyright protection, authentication, forensics and stego watermarking techniques including active steganography. This chapter aims at studying various properties of watermarking systems (depending on application), looking into their specific requirements and then try to search for suitable error control code. This will boost the over all performance of watermarking techniques. This chapter also intends to discuss the state of art research in this direction and then presents a watermarking method based on facts covered in chapter.
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The watermarking has seen a sudden spurt in activities and interest after 1995. This is an era when internet started penetrating globe connectivity. This brought several worrying points including the rising concerns for copyright violations. Watermarking is seen as one of the potential means for preventing content flowing into the darknet. The watermarking has been included as technology into future DRM standards. The goal of the watermarking is to protect the copyright and prove ownership of digital content. There are several applications of watermarking apart from copyright protection. The Table 1 associates the type of watermark with their application and its desirable properties (Ingemar, 2008; Wenjun, 2006). It is presumed that readers are very clear about the basics of each one of these applications and hence they have been described very briefly in Table 1.

Table 1.
Associating watermarking with applications and their desirable properties
TypeApplicationDesirable property
Robust watermarkCopyright protection/Ownership identificationRobustness (Ability to survive)/Security
Fragile watermarkAuthentication/Integrity of the contentSensitivity to changes / Fragility
ForensicFinger printing/ Traitor tracingDetection of tampering/ Localization of changes/ Possible revival of content.
Active steganographyCovert and secure communicationSecurity / Undetectability / Capacity

Summarizing issues that can be handled well by the ECC for watermarking are:

  • Providing reliable transmission of watermark through communication channel (Ingemar Cox, 2008)

  • Improving the payload of watermark by using codes operating near Shannon’s limit (A. Bastug, 2004).

  • Providing authentication and traitor tracing (Kaushal, 2004).

  • Providing the covert and secure communication (Kaushal, 2007).

  • Providing the unauthorized access protection (M. C. Davey, 2001).

However we have to always consider the fact when ECC is applied to watermarking is that, every type of code will perform error correction to its capacity only above minimum SNR level in communication channel. Below this level some of the codes instead of providing a “gain” will introduce a “loss” in terms of increased BER. This increased BER can also attributed be type of decoder and characteristics of errors. If we can keep check on channel input BER than we can use any type of ECC provided output BER drops.

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