digital watermark

n.A pattern of bits, hidden in a digital file, that can be used to provide protection of intellectual property rights.


A digital watermark is designed to be imperceptible in ordinary use; they are invisible in images and inaudible in sound recordings. At most, they appear as slight noise in the signal. They are designed so that they cannot be identified or manipulated without special software.


Digimarc 2003, p. 3 One of the most promising technologies to help protect digitized copyrighted content, in conjunction with legal remedies, is digital watermarking. Digital watermarks are digital data embedded within the content, where the digital data can be read by machines but is not noticeable by people viewing or listening to the content. Digital watermarks provide a critical and economically feasible content identification and security layer that enables copyright holders to protect and track distribution and use of their content.