On the Effectiveness of Visible Watermarks

Tali Dekel, Michael Rubinstein, Ce Liu, William T. Freeman; The IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR), 2017, pp. 2146-2154

Abstract


Visible watermarking is a widely-used technique for marking and protecting copyrights of many millions of images on the web, yet it suffers from an inherent security flaw---watermarks are typically added in a consistent manner to many images. We show that this consistency allows to automatically estimate the watermark and recover the original images with high accuracy. Specifically, we present a generalized multi-image matting algorithm that takes a watermarked image collection as input and automatically estimates the "foreground" (watermark), its alpha matte, and the "background" (original) images. Since such an attack relies on the consistency of watermarks across image collection, we explore and evaluate how it is affected by various types of inconsistencies in the watermark embedding that could potentially be used to make watermarking more secured. We demonstrate the algorithm on stock imagery available on the web, and provide extensive quantitative analysis on synthetic watermarked data. A key takeaway message of this paper is that visible watermarks should be designed to not only be robust against removal from a single image, but to be more resistant to mass-scale removal from image collections as well.

Related Material


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[bibtex]
@InProceedings{Dekel_2017_CVPR,
author = {Dekel, Tali and Rubinstein, Michael and Liu, Ce and Freeman, William T.},
title = {On the Effectiveness of Visible Watermarks},
booktitle = {The IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)},
month = {July},
year = {2017}
}