It is a powerful anti-piracy technology that detects an undetectable audio watermark embedded in the soundtrack and prevents any unauthorised content from playing back. Thus, audio watermarking has become a powerful weapon against pirates’ D/A and A/D attacks on premium video content at will.

The rise of OTT platforms and premium content delivery networks, as well as changes in how movies are served and played in theatres, has necessitated the use of audio watermarking as a defence against premium video content piracy. The watermark should be able to withstand attacks like cropping, as well as more advanced audio processing operations like time-scaling.

When a signal is transmitted over a public announcement system with a microphone tapping on it, premium content with audio watermarking – which is used in conjunction with video watermarking – becomes useless. Spread spectrum watermarking (SSW) is one of the most common methods for implementing such schemes. So that the signal energy is undetectable at any frequency, it requires sending a narrow-band signal across a wide bandwidth. Watermark removal requires the addition of significant amounts of noise across all frequency bands, which effectively renders the accompanying premium video content inoperable.

An additional layer of security on DRM protected content and robustness has become a requirement with the rapid growth of OTT and VoD services, making audio watermarking a requirement for all devices. A/D or D/A attacks can be thwarted by using this technology, which provides end-to-end content security and complements video watermarking.

It’s essential that audio watermarking solutions balance process robustness with tolerable acoustic perceptibility thresholds. This new technology has made it possible to track any irregularities in theatrical releases throughout the movie distribution chain.

In order to prevent the illegal copying and distribution of premium content, AACS is a standard for the use of DRM and content distribution. Legitimate copies of theatrical releases can be distinguished from illegal ones by the presence of a watermark or AACS key that matches the original.

For copyright protection and ownership verification, audio watermarking technology is the answer. So it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most extensively researched and rapidly evolving technological spaces to assist Hollywood studios in protecting their theatrical releases from pirates.