Public Policy

The Digital Watermarking Alliance advocates for digital watermarking solutions that support regulatory and legislative initiatives and policies to protect and identify content while enabling the freedom and mobility that is expected by today’s consumer.

The Digital Watermarking Alliance is dedicated to the following principles:

  1. Advocate for a regulatory, policy, and market environment that protects fair competition, maintains a level playing field, and allows innovations in digital watermarking to thrive.
  2. Empower consumers to have the freedom to legally access any kind of legitimate digital or analog content (audio, video & print), anywhere, over any device using innovative applications of digital watermarking, while also protecting any right to privacy they may have.
  3. Enable fair compensation to the owners of content for use of their content, and hinder theft of their property, through innovative applications of digital watermarking.
  4. Support a regulatory, policy, and market environment that enables companies to create solutions for participants in the content distribution chain that benefit from the development and marketing of innovative applications of digital watermarking.
  5. Advocate for use of digital watermarking technologies to enhance the security of people, their information and their systems.

Key Policies Supported by Digital Watermarking

  • In 2005, the U.S. Copyright Office embarked on a study of the issues raised by "orphan works" — copyrighted works whose owners may be impossible to identify and locate. Typically, such works are excerpts or newly digitized versions of books, movies, photos, and music whose ownership information has been stripped away or lost during distribution, re-formatting or editing. A digital watermark embedded within a piece of content can carry a persistent copyright owner identifier that can be linked to information about the content owner and copyright information in an associated database or to appropriate usage rules and billing information.
  • Congress's "analog hole" legislation is also known as the Digital Transition Content Security Act of 2005. This legislation is designed to plug the "analog hole," the problem whereby the rights associated with creative works such as movies or TV shows are lost or removed during analog-to-digital conversion or consumption of that content. The bill effectively proposes the rights assertion mark (a form of digital watermarking) be used as a form of content protection.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios v. Grokster identified digital watermarking as a technology that can be used by rights holders and file-sharing networks to deter piracy and illegal use of copyrighted entertainment content.
  • Distributed Computing Industry Association's (DCIA) P2P Digital Watermarking Working Group was recently formed to advocate for the use digital watermarking as an effective tool for identifying copyrighted entertainment content, including music, movies and images, for the purpose of deterring copyright infringement.