Watermarking and perceptual hashes are currently being proposed in a number of contexts as an enhancement to the delivery of multimedia content. In particular, in the context of Digital Rights Management (DRM), persistent identification (MPEG-21) and information retrieval, high hopes have been placed on these technologies.
However, in practice the adoption of these technologies is still minimal. To a great degree this slow acceptance is caused by the (assumed) immaturity of watermarking and perceptual hashing. It is the goal of WAVILA to bring watermarking and perceptual hashing to a higher degree of maturity such that when they are applied in "real" applications, there is a clear idea of what these technologies can and, maybe equally important, cannot do.
If WAVILA is successful, it can have a large impact on the methods and business models for electronic delivery of multimedia content. The results of WAVILA will be applicable to DRM systems as an enhancement to existing cryptographic approaches, allowing the consumption of digital content in a consumer-friendly manner, without compromising the right of the content owners. Current trends in the decline of CD sales, the proliferation of file-sharing protocols and the introduction of large levies on blank media, indicate that changes are imminent in this area, which is an opportunity that WAVILA will exploit.
The results of WAVILA will also improve the manner in which multimedia content will be searched and organized. As a result, it may open new business opportunities in ways that are currently too cumbersome or even impossible. The current practices of unauthorized content sharing might be turned around into new opportunities, changing current practices in the content industry towards a better end-user experience and maybe even to more profitable business models.
WAVILA will act as a center of expertise on watermarking and perceptual hashing for the benefit of European industry (SMEs, content owners, consumer industries, national & private archives and others) as well as for educational institutes and cultural heritage organizations.
The Watermarking Virtual Lab is organised into four working groups.
Please check the upcoming events of the WAVILA virtual lab.