The First 50 Years of Electronic Watermarking
© Cox and Miller 2002
Received: 8 October 2001
Published: 14 February 2002
Electronic watermarking can be traced back as far as 1954. The last 10 years has seen considerable interest in digital watermarking, due, in large part, to concerns about illegal piracy of copyrighted content. In this paper, we consider the following questions: is the interest warranted? What are the commercial applications of the technology? What scientific progress has been made in the last 10 years? What are the most exciting areas for research? And where might the next 10 years take us? In our opinion, the interest in watermarking is appropriate. However, we expect that copyright applications will be overshadowed by applications such as broadcast monitoring, authentication, and tracking content distributed within corporations. We further see a variety of applications emerging that add value to media, such as annotation and linking content to the Web. These latter applications may turn out to be the most compelling. Considerable progress has been made toward enabling these applications—perceptual modelling, security threats and countermeasures, and the development of a bag of tricks for efficient implementations. Further progress is needed in methods for handling geometric and temporal distortions. We expect other exciting developments to arise from research in informed watermarking.