The Phillips Collection, Watermarking using Digimarc


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Presentation at Museum Computer Network, 10.28.2010, re: using Digimarc in digitization process at The Phillips Collection.

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The Phillips Collection, Watermarking using Digimarc

  1. 1. D I G I T I Z A T I O N P R O C E S S = = = = = = = = = W A T E R M A R K I N G W I T H D I G I M A R C THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION
  2. 2. First Steps  We began the process of digitizing our collection of approximately 3000 objects in 2002.  We selected our scanning vendor, Luna Imaging, CA, after asking 5 vendors to create sample high-resolution scans from our transparencies. We coded these submissions to make a vendor-blind decision, and selected Luna Imaging based upon the quality of their scans.  We began photographing objects to create 2x4 transparencies which are sent to Luna to create a cropped and uncropped tiff and derivative Jpeg sets.  We began to investigate watermarking options (there were few). We found only Digimarc to be solvent over a period of time (companies would be on the radar for awhile then go out of business).
  3. 3. We’re an educational institution  The majority of works in the Phillips Collection are still under copyright. As digitization of the collection was getting underway, staff explored various methods for protecting the copyrights of its rights owners, while also strongly affirming fair use.* _______________________________  *Unless otherwise noted, users who wish to download or print text, audio, video, image and other files from The Phillips Collection’s Web site for such uses are welcome to do so without The Phillips Collection’s express permission.” From The Phillips Collection's "Terms of Use and Privacy Policy,"
  4. 4. Why did we choose to watermark?  We have a Visual Resources dept. that manages formal requests for image use. (Formally requested images are distributed without watermark.)  Staff were very conscious that The Phillips Collection is an educational institutional and not in the business of rights enforcement. Although we could assemble the necessary paperwork to back up any charge of rights infringement, we needed some mechanism for assuring other rights owners (especially rights organizations still nervous about posting works online) that works would be actively protected online.
  5. 5. Extra assurance  We wondered, in this day and age when anyone can borrow and alter images, what if an image from our collection was used in a compromising way that could potentially embarrass the institution and image rights owners?  We wanted extra assurance that we could easily demonstrate that we were not culpable for any rights violations, that we did not alter the image, and that it was utilized without gaining appropriate permission.
  6. 6. Hidden watermarks  Our curators were very concerned when we mentioned watermarking images that we would be altering the images we place on the web. They thought we meant using a visible watermark.
  7. 7. Embeds an electronic signature  The watermark is embedded into content in a way that is imperceptible to the human eye.  Once woven into a digital picture, illustration or artwork, the digital watermark provides a pervasive, persistent, machine-readable documentation of ownership.  Unique digital identity remains with the image as it is distributed, copied, manipulated or converted to other formats. This identity allows its usage to be tracked on the web.
  8. 8. How does it work?  Is the watermark expensive to add? In the general scheme of things, no. We have an enterprise license for a relatively small collection. We pay our license fees annually.  Is it difficult to add? No. On the contrary. While it does add another layer to our process--we add the watermark to our jpegs for web use--it is very easy to apply using the Adobe creative suite software.
  9. 9. How do you embed the watermark?  Digimarc digital watermarking was added to Adobe® Photoshop® in 1996 as the only third- party software plug-in bundled with Adobe image- editing products. You open the image in Adobe Photoshop, select Digimarc under filters and that’s it.  Digimarc also provides a script on its web site for automating the watermarking of large numbers of images in sequence. This utility has proved a great time-saver for us.
  10. 10. Adobe’s Digimarc Plug-in
  11. 11. Adobe’s Digimarc Plug-in
  12. 12. Follows your images anywhere  Provides an easy, reliable way to protect valuable photos and image assets
  13. 13. Reports demonstrate image usage  We started to use Digimarc to watermark the jpegs we post to the web in 2004.  We have access to a reporting system hosted by Digimarc that provides data on specific images used at identified URLs.
  14. 14. Easy Report Generation
  15. 15. Typical Digimarc Report
  16. 16. Outcomes  Have we ever needed to utilize the watermarking process to prove ownership of an image? No, not yet.  Are we wasting time and money using watermarks? That’s arguable. However we believe that we have simplified the process which would be required to identify the origination source of an image should it be necessary.
  17. 17. Contact information Darci Vanderhoff, CIO The Phillips Collection 1600 21st St., NW Washington, DC 20009 202-387-2151 ext. 237