Digital content continues to proliferate as today’s consumers seek information and entertainment on their computers, mobile phones and other digital devices. In our cyber culture, digital has become a primary means of communication and expression. The combination of access and new tools enables digital content to travel faster and further than ever before as it is uploaded, dispersed, viewed, downloaded, modified and repurposed at breathtaking speed. Whether you are a global media corporation or a freelance photographer, the ability to communicate your copyright ownership and usage rights is essential.


Digital watermarking is the process of embedding a persistent digital identity into all forms of media content, providing the means for effective management and tracking of digital assets on the Web. Digital watermarks contain imperceptible digital data that can convey anything the owner chooses, including ownership information, contact details, and usage rights. Watermarks stay with content as it is forwarded and travels across the internet and can be detected at any point to determine the content’s unique identity. Watermarks also survive many different file manipulations and transformations, unlike standard metadata that is often lost leaving the content “orphaned.”

Effective copyright communication helps content owners…

  • Ensure their ownership and contact information stays permanently attached to their content wherever it may travel and be accessed on the web or packaged media
  • Monetize their content, with opportunities to add automated licensing to increase revenues
  • Better manage content through a range of automated remedies when unauthorized use is discovered, including device enforcement messages of copyright policies, take down notices or providing permission with proper attribution
  • Protect their content from being an “orphaned work” whose origin is unknown

For content owners looking to efficiently monitor, manage and monetize their digital assets, digital watermarking is an effective, proven technology widely used today to communicate copyright and ownership information to those desiring to purchase or use the content for their own purposes.

Copyright Ownership Watermarking Example Workflow

Example of Watermark Embeds in Common Owned Media

Learn More

  • Download “Managing Valuable Image Assets — Using Digital Watermarking for Copyright Communication and Image Search” White Paper (PDF, 230kb)
  • Read the DWA Response to the FCC’s Filing of the Child Safe Viewing Act (PDF, 55kb)
  • View a Video on Content Tracking and Automated Remedies
  • DWA White Papers

Member companies who offer, “Communication of Ownership & Copyright Watermark,” solutions: