17th Annual Computer Security Applications Conference
December 10-14, 2001
New Orleans, Louisiana

Enabling Hierarchical and Bulk-Distribution for Watermarked Content

Germano Caronni
Sun Microsystems Laboratories

Christoph Schuba
Sun Microsystems

One of the solutions to deter copyright violations consists of embedding hard to detect watermarks in digital media. Current developments have focused on how to embed watermarks, and on one-to-one exchanges on how to securely convey tagged data to the end consumer. Assuming a large customer base or predistributed media, it may become prohibitively expensive or time consuming to tag each separate copy of data individually before it is delivered to the customer.

We present two mechanisms that allow the preparation and distribution of tagged data in a more scalable way than existing approaches. The first one, called hierarchical tagging, is preferable for on-line multi-level distribution, where producer and consumer are not in direct contact, but intermediate agents provide distribution channels and sales platforms. The second method is well suited to pre-produced bulk-media distribution (such as through CDROMs or DVDs), with only small amounts of on-line information being transferred to each consumer. We call it bulk-tagging.

Keywords: watermarking, hierarchical tagging, bulk-tagging

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