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Digital tracking to protect on-demand TV

Widevine Technologies, based in Seattle, WA, has developed invisible marks that trace illegal copies of television shows and movies available on-demand across the country. This is the first time digital watermarking has been used to track such programs.

The company said its invisible digital markers would be inserted into programs distributed to cable companies served by TVN Entertainment, a Burbank, CA-based company. Among TVN’s cable customers are: Comcast, Cox Communications, Charter Communications and Adelphia Communications.

Digital watermarks are not visible to the naked eye, but contain information about the origin of the program. They remain even after the program is copied several times, allowing law enforcement to tell where illegal copies were obtained. TVN provides movies, concerts and other programs to cable operators and telecommunication companies, who then offer them to consumers for a pay-per-view fee.

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