Designing protection

A NEWS.COM infographic on the process of creating a digital watermark.

CNET News staff
Digital watermarking is a popular new way to protect copyrighted images. Here's how it works:

Step 1:

The image creator "stamps" the image with a digital watermark that can only be viewed with special software. The watermark takes advantage of the variation between pixels to remain all but invisible in the finished product.

The watermark can still be detected with the special software even after the image is printed and rescanned.

Step 2:
Watermark detected
Image editors such as Photoshop 4.0 are equipped with the special software. The application can detect the subtle pixel variation and interprets it as a watermark, alerting the viewer that the image has been copyrighted.
Step 3:
Artist identified
In addition to marking the image as a copyrighted work, the watermark contains information on how to contact the artist.
Source: PictureMarc Software