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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Low-complexity methods for image and video watermarking Coria Mendoza, Lino Evgueni


For digital media, the risk of piracy is aggravated by the ease to copy and distribute the content. Watermarking has become the technology of choice for discouraging people from creating illegal copies of digital content. Watermarking is the practice of imperceptibly altering the media content by embedding a message, which can be used to identify the owner of that content. A watermark message can also be a set of instructions for the display equipment, providing information about the content’s usage restrictions. Several applications are considered and three watermarking solutions are provided. First, applications such as owner identification, proof of ownership, and digital fingerprinting are considered and a fast content-dependent image watermarking method is proposed. The scheme offers a high degree of robustness against distortions, mainly additive noise, scaling, low-pass filtering, and lossy compression. This method also requires a small amount of computations. The method generates a set of evenly distributed codewords that are constructed via an iterative algorithm. Every message bit is represented by one of these codewords and is then embedded in one of the image’s 8 × 8 pixel blocks. The information in that particular block is used in the embedding so as to ensure robustness and image fidelity. Two watermarking schemes designed to prevent theatre camcorder piracy are also presented. In these methods, the video is watermarked so that its display is not permitted if a compliant video player detects the watermark. A watermark that is robust to geometric distortions (rotation, scaling, cropping) and lossy compression is required in order to block access to media content that has been recorded with a camera inside a movie theatre. The proposed algorithms take advantage of the properties of the dual-tree complex wavelet transform (DT CWT). This transform offers the advantages of both the regular and the complex wavelets (perfect reconstruction, approximate shift invariance and good directional selectivity). Our methods use these characteristics to create watermarks that are robust to geometric distortions and lossy compression. The proposed schemes are simple to implement and outperform comparable methods when tested against geometric distortions.

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