IS&T/SPIE Electronic Imaging 1997
Conference paper

Can invisible watermarks resolve rightful ownerships?

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Digital watermarks have been proposed in recent literature as the means for copyright protection of multimedia data. In this paper we address the capability of invisible watermarking schemes to resolve copyright ownerships. We will show that rightful ownerships cannot be resolved by current watermarking schemes alone. In addition, in the absence of standardization of watermarking procedures, anyone can claim ownership of any watermarked image. Specifically, we provide counterfeit watermarking schemes that can be performed on a watermarked image to allow multiple claims of rightful ownerships. We also propose non-invertible watermarking schemes in this paper and discuss in general the usefulness of digital watermarks in identifying the rightful copyright owners. The results, coupled with the recent attacks on some image watermarks, further imply that we have to carefully re-think our approaches to invisible watermarking of images, and re-evaluate the promises, applications and limitations of such digital means of copyright protection.