MEDIA ADVISORY: Digital Watermarking Alliance Reveals Piracy Survey Findings

Deterrence Survey Shows Potential for Sharp Decline in Illegal Downloads

Washington, DC, May 28, 2009 — The Digital Watermarking Alliance (DWA) today announced key findings from a recently commissioned survey on piracy deterrence. The study, conducted by Interpret, aimed to determine whether the inclusion of Digital Serial Numbers (DSNs) in online content would deter illegal file sharing. The results showed that DSNs would deter illegal downloading among 33 percent of the 994-person sample and deter illegal uploading among 52 percent.

DSNs represent a new way to track media content by digitally watermarking audio or video content such as music, movies or TV programming with unique, imperceptible digital identification numbers. Unlike Digital Rights Management, DSNs allow consumers to freely access content and make multiple copies for backup use or for different playing devices. Should the content be used illegally, however, the DSN can be associated back to the original buyer.

Additional findings from the survey:

  • The introduction of DSNs would encourage more legal, paid downloads among consumers;
  • The illegal downloading of music would be impacted the most with the introduction of DSNs, decreasing by approximately 40 percent;
  • DSNs would result in a 45% decrease in the number of P2P users who leave music and video files in shared directories for others to download;
  • The vast majority of consumers who download content find DSN technology “less cumbersome” than DRM and a “better balance between consumer needs and copyright protections”; and
  • Many consumers would buy more CDs and DVDs when introduced to DSNs.

One overarching conclusion from the survey is that consumers would need to be educated on the differences between DSNs and traditional Digital Rights Management, specifically regarding the legal status of content and the risks of uploading.

The findings from the survey are detailed within a new white paper that is now available at

About Digital Watermarking
A MultiMedia Intelligence study identified digital watermarking and fingerprinting as a key growth market that could surpass $500 million by 20121. Digital watermarking is the process by which identifying data is woven into media content, giving it a unique, digital identity. Imperceptible to the human senses yet easily recognized by special software detectors, a digital watermark remains constant even through recording, manipulation and editing, compression and decompression, encryption, decryption and broadcast–without affecting the quality of the content. Digital watermarks can identify copyrighted content and associated rights, during and after distribution, to determine copyright ownership and enable rights management policy while enabling innovative new content distribution and usage models. Today, digital watermarks are broadly deployed with billions of watermarked objects and hundreds of millions of watermark detectors in the market, supporting various commercial and government applications.

About Interpret
Interpret is a leading entertainment, media and technology measurement and market research firm that applies proprietary, cutting edge methodologies and extensive category knowledge to help companies plan, test, and measure their business strategies. As the first research firm to focus on evaluating and measuring the intersections of content, technology, advertising and consumer behavior, Interpret provides clients with premium quality insight across the media and entertainment landscape, including leaders in the home entertainment, video game, new media, mobile content, and theatrical industries. Interpret’s syndicated measurement products and custom market research services continue to address many of the challenges faced by marketers, programmers and technologists in the evolving digital age. Based in Los Angeles with offices worldwide, Interpret’s “on the ground” staff, strategic partnerships and strong vendor relationships in key territories give the company a global reach with services throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

About the Digital Watermarking Alliance
The Digital Watermarking Alliance (DWA) is an international alliance of industry leading companies that deliver valuable digital watermarking technology and solutions to a broad range of customers and markets around the world. Member companies include aquaMobile, Civolution B.V., DataMark Technologies, Digimarc (Nasdaq: DMRC), Gibson, ISAN-IA, MarkAny, Media Sciences International, Streamburst, Thomson (Euronext 18453; NYSE: TMS), Université Catholique de Louvain, Verance, Verimatrix, and Widevine Technologies. For more information, please visit

CONTACT: For media inquiries, please contact Delisa Reavis of RH Strategic (Tel: 202-585-0210; e-mail:

1Beyond Traditional DRM: Moving to Digital Watermarking & Fingerprinting in Media Monetization” published by MultiMedia Intelligence, January, 2008.