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MPEG-4 Intellectual Property Rights by Adducing and Ordering

Objective

Main Objective
MIRADOR will define, develop and promote an extensive framework for copyright protection, compliant with the MPEG-4 Intellectual Property Rights group specifications, and covering still pictures, video and audio. MIRADOR's main objectives consist of:

- delivering an MPEG-4 compliant watermarking suitable for audio, still picture and video objects;
- integrating these technologies with MPEG-4 codecs;
- pushing forward the technology so that rights holders obtain a better understanding of watermarking technology;
- creating the first watermarked MPEG-4 production acting as a shop-window for the project. The problem of copyright protection for MPEG-2 signals through watermarking technologies is a growing one in Europe. Through ACTS projects, European companies now lead the world in the video protection domain. Furthermore, significant efforts were devoted to the protection of audio signals. MIRADOR will consolidate and reinforce this position through the integration of these technologies to offer an extensive framework for protecting MPEG-4 digital works.
A major improvement of MPEG-4, compared with MPEG-2, is the increased possibility of multiplexing various bitstreams corresponding to different types of information. Not only can sound and fixed format video signals be encoded, as with H263 or MPEG-1 and -2 encoders, but the MPEG 4 standard can also encode and organise scenes separated into Video Object Layers, scalable images and other objects, including multiplexed ones. These improvements will lead to the proliferation of numerous and varied new multimedia applications, developed within the framework of MPEG-4. These new capabilities present new Intellectual Property Rights protection problems. Rights holders' representatives in MPEG-4 have specified these problems, which require a significant enhancement of existing watermarking technologies. MIRADOR aims at designing and developing new solutions, based upon MPEG-4 end-users requirements, which rely on existing tools coming from related ACTS projects: TALISMAN, regarding watermarking technologies, and MOMUSYS, regarding MPEG-4 tools.

Technical Approach
Major steps

- analyse the different and specific sides to be covered by MPEG-4 protection when compared with MPEG-2;
- integrate existing, MPEG-2-dedicated watermarking technologies into the MOMUSYS platform;
- assess the technologies' behaviour for audio, video and still pictures in this new environment; upgrade algorithms to MPEG-4 new constraints;
- participate actively in the MPEG-4 Intellectual Property Management and Protection (IPMP ) subgroup and push forward the technologies;
- integrate technologies within an authoring tool and end up with a complete, watermarked, MPEG-4 multimedia title.

Participation to MPEG-4
IPR management requirements specifications in MPEG-4 are being defined by representatives of rights holders within the MPEG-4 IPMP working group. MIRADOR associates are involved in this group, drawing together the views of many individuals, organisations and societies into a coherent vision for intellectual property rights protection. This ensures that their needs will be met within MIRADOR and that the project results are taken into account. This analysis will also benefit from the background of TALISMAN (AC019) and OCTALIS (AC242) on the topic. This will be upgraded to take into account new MPEG-4 requirements.

Copyright protection technologies in the context of MPEG-4
A technique called Watermarking will be used to provide copyright protection. Watermarking consists of embedding hidden secret information into still picture, video or audio objects and is robust towards MPEG-4 compression. This information is only accessible by authorised people in charge of protecting the object's copyright.

Integration of the copyright protection technologies in MPEG-4
Copyright protection technologies will be integrated into an MPEG-4 software environment. This means integrating audio and video watermarking algorithms into the MPEG-4 software encoders as well as integrating retrieval watermarking algorithms into the MPEG-4 decoders. The European Platform for MPEG-4 work (MOMUSYS AC098) will be used for the work. This integration will be made early in the project in order to evaluate technologies in the MPEG-4 real environment.

Summary of Trial
MIRADOR will demonstrate a prototype copyright protection system for MPEG-4 contents at TELECOM'99, showing the availability and the efficiency of the integrated protection tools. This demonstration will operate on an MPEG-4 creative work developed by MEDIAfile, a SME specialised in contents creation for advertising and education.
Key Issues

- technologies robustness towards MPEG-4 compression
- technologies invisibility/in-audibility
- strong involvement with standardisation bodies (ISO)

Expected Achievements
MIRADOR should provide and demonstrate a technical answer to the problem of the copyright protection in the MPEG-4 environment and provide an extensive framework for copyright protection, including still pictures, video and audio objects.

Expected Impact
MIRADOR will have an impact on the relevant standardisation body (ISO) and will answer the needs of authors' societies for copyright protection within the context of a fully multimedia world, by integrating a copyright protection system into MPEG-4 technology. This will enable works to be protected at the earliest possible stage of content creation. MIRADOR will prove to rights holders that watermarking is now a mature technology capable of protecting their interests.

Main contributions to the programme objectives:
Main deliverables
Visual and Audio watermarking technology responding to new requirements of the new MPEG4 standard.
Contribution to the programme
Re-enforced European position in the field of IPR protection for interactive multimedia applications.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

THOMSON-CSF COMMUNICATIONS
Address
66 Rue Du Fossé Blanc
92231 Gennevilliers
France

Participants (6)

CRL
United Kingdom
Centro Studi e Laboratori Telecomunicazioni SpA
Italy
Address
Via G. Reiss Romoli, 274
10148 Torino
MCPS
United Kingdom
MediaFile
Belgium
Thomson CSF
France
UCL
Belgium