sonymusicWith DRM on the way out for music, watermarking could be The Next Big Thing for content providers. Check out the Wired story, and share your own thoughts on the pros and cons. Is there any way at all that this could work for e-books as an alternative to DRM—flawed, but better than the present mess? Right now the big four recording labels are not watermarking at the individual level. But some Internet advocates fear that watermarking could provide ammo to use against Net companies to require massive screening for copyrighted material.

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  1. What is the problem with watermarking? It seems ideal: it gives a way of identifying a copyrighted property, while not restricting legitimate replication.

    Whether it would be effective for e-books is another question, given the nature of text; it would be too easy to identify and discard the watermark. For music or video, the watermark can be woven into the “noise” (with techniques possible to make it difficult to remove, even given multiple copies of the same item with different watermarks).

    If watermarking could be done for e-books, as a substitute for DRM, then it’s probably the best compromise possible to keep the copyright owners/licensees happy.

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