Digital Watermark

Also referred to as simply watermarking, a pattern of bits inserted into a digital image, audio or video file that identifies the file’s copyright information (author, rights, etc.). The name comes from the faintly visible watermarks imprinted on stationery that identify the manufacturer of the stationery. The purpose of digital watermarks is to provide copyright protection for intellectual property that’s in digital format.

Unlike printed watermarks, which are intended to be somewhat visible, digital watermarks are designed to be completely invisible, or in the case of audio clips, inaudible. Moreover, the actual bits representing the watermark must be scattered throughout the file in such a way that they cannot be identified and manipulated. And finally, the digital watermark must be robust enough so that it can withstand normal changes to the file, such as reductions from lossy compression algorithms.

Satisfying all these requirements is no easy feat, but there are a number of companies offering competing technologies. All of them work by making the watermark appear as noise – that is, random data that exists in most digital files anyway. To view a watermark, you need a special program that knows how to extract the watermark data.

Watermarking is also called data embedding and information hiding.

See also Graphics Software Terminology in Webopedia’s Quick Reference Area.

Top Articles

Huge List Of Texting and Online Chat Abbreviations

From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 text message and online chat abbreviations to help you translate and understand today's texting lingo. Includes Top...

How To Create A Desktop Shortcut To A Website

This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a desktop shortcut to a website using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer (IE). Creating a desktop...

The History Of Windows Operating Systems

Microsoft Windows is a family of operating systems. We look at the history of Microsoft's Windows operating systems (Windows OS) from 1985 to present...

Hotmail [Outlook] Email Accounts

  By Vangie Beal Hotmail is one of the first public webmail services that can be accessed from any web browser. Prior to Hotmail and its...

Abacus Definition & Meaning

An abacus, also known as a counting frame, is a mechanical device used...

Legacy Code Definition &...

Legacy code refers to source code that has been inherited from a previous...

Unregulated Power Supply Definition...

An unregulated power supply is a system that transforms input voltage into direct...