Piracy is a Crime!

An avid movie watcher decided to buy a DVD copy of the much acclaimed film at the Oscars, the Departed. He sits in front of his 24 inch plasma TV, excited to watch the movie that had the Academy Awards raving about it in its past annual event of garnering the Oscars. He sits back, and intently anticipates as he watches the introduction of the film with Leonardo di Caprio, Martin Sheen, and Mark Wahlberg exchanging their lines. All of the sudden, the screen flickers in black and white dilemma. The man does not understand what the actors are now saying; all he heard was voices interrupted by sudden muteness.

He stumbles to find the remote, even tapped the television and his DVD player. To no avail, the picture of the movie in the screen now seemed more confused than a little while ago. He gave up, reached for the DVD case, and uttered in sheer regret, its pirated. The world considers piracy as one of its leading problems affecting the economy and society. There are many countries all over the world that hosts the largest pirating manufacturing factories and supplies different areas around the globe with unauthorized and copied materials.

It had also transformed into a societal problem that have grave effects as piracy attacks one of the most profitable and biggest industry in almost all countries, the movie and music industry. Software piracy threatens the whole audio visual industry with great profit and opportunity loss. The advancement in technology society now experience today greatly contributes to the power given to people in terms of creating technology that can benefit or harm the lives of the majority.

With the spread of piracy, many have attempted to break the cycle and start acting on the problem. There are agencies created specifically addressing the issue, there are laws regarding copyright theft and the ongoing pursuit to place behind bars the people responsible for piracy’s global prominence. But as we use technology to our advantage and remedy the situation, there are created technology that can help stop or even just suffice at the moment the intensity of the piracy situation in the world to day.

This is presented in the form of the Digital Watermarking Technology. Digital watermarks are digital data elements that are embedded in actual content to survive analog conversion and standard processing, such as conversion to mP3 formats and file conversions. It is different from pattern-matching and is equivalent to placing valuable information within the content itself, enabling detection of connected applications throughout the distribution channel. Digital watermarks can not be stripped out without proper notification from the host content producers.

It has been under studies starting in the early 90’s and has been used around the world to regulate and oversee broadcast activities, copy protection, copyright notification and forensic tracking applications. In the music industry, digital watermarks have been used to track content production and prior release of the product. It has been beneficial in reducing the number of illegal pre-releases of movies and music. Digital watermarks have provided media serial numbers to content shareholders to protect their rights. (Group, 2005) The benefits of digital watermarking do not end there.

There are other applications that can use the digital watermarking technology. First of which is for rights management. As one of the traditional applications of watermark, copyright protection is the means by which the owner is identified by an invisible mark that is imprinted into the image. This is along with content encryption that provides secure distribution method from content owners and receivers. This allows the owners to trace unauthorized use or duplicates of their product. The digital watermarking technology had provided owners with the rights to extend their control over the contents after it has been released to the user.

Second, it has provided authentication and tamper proofing for content owners. (Kutter, 2000) This provides a method by which authentication and assurance of the integrity of the materials. One example is the tamper-detect watermark which allows no deceptions of an image being copied or altered by someone because digital watermarks includes a sensor to detect alteration. Third is the visible reversible watermarking. A unique form of watermarking technology by IBM ensures content owners to create and embed a visible shape or logo to the image. The watermark is then reversed with an appropriate decryption key and software.

This technology allows the content of the image to be self-protective and allows owners to distribute their products which include open various media or even the Internet. When a user wants to use a clean copy of the image, he shall request and pay for a decryption key and this reduce her risks in security and payment. (Morimoto, 1999) The digital watermarking technology has provided many content owners their rights and privilege in owning what is rightfully theirs. This technology allows them to track their products of unknown and illegal copyright and authentication problems that may arise due to the content’s release in public.

Digital watermarking applications mentioned above are implemented on materials such as online library copies of materials, images, music and movies. The benefits and qualities of the technology can help proper authorities to prosecute the people who violate the lays of authentication and copyright laws. Also consumer rights are protected as they are given with quality of the things they purchase. This results to a strengthened economy and competitive market that is safe and legal. The different audio visual industry and businesses will also benefit from the digital watermarking technology as their rights are protected.

But to further stress the importance to work on the digital watermarking technology, there are four other key areas that proper authorities must address. First is to raise consumer awareness to reject any unauthenticated and illegally copied materials, second is to support the different agencies that governs and acts as the watchdogs in the piracy business, third is the creation and implementation of strong, forceful and concrete laws, and last is the training and information of content owners, retail staff and enforcement agencies of the threat of the situation of rampant piracy in the world.

Digital watermarking is created to help the different industries that piracy is attacking, it is about time we use it to our advantage.

Reference:

GROUP, D. P. P. D. W. W. (2005) DIGITAL WATERMARK TECHNOLOGIES: Applications in P2P Networks. Digital Watermarking Alliance. KUTTER, M. , JORDAN, F. (2000) Digital Watermarking Technology. MORIMOTO, N. (1999) Digital Watermarking Technology with Practical Applications.

Informing Science Special Issue on Multimedia Informing Technologies Part 1, 2, 1-5. MINTZER, F. E. A. (1997) Safeguarding Digital Library Contents and Users. D-Lib Magazine. AWARENESS, I. T. F. I. (2006) DVD piracy - the big picture. Piracy is a Crime. HOTA, H. , HIKIMA, T. (2004) An Overview and Applications of Val-Code®: Digital Watermarking Technology for Printed Documents. Oki Technical Review, 71, 1-4.