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USER-FRIENDLY RIGHTS MANAGEMENT
SYSTEMS AND METHODS
RELATED APPLICATION DATA
The present application is a continuation in part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/017,679, filed Dec. 13, 2001 (published as US 2003-0056103 Al) now abandoned. The 10/017,679 application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Nos. 60/256,628, filed Dec. 18, 2000 and 10 60/336,209, filed Oct. 30, 2001. The present application also claims the benefit of U.S. patent application Nos. 60/285, 514, filed Apr. 20, 2001 and 60/315,569, filedAug. 28, 2001. Each of the above-mentioned patent applications is herein incorporated by reference. 15
The present invention relates to integrating identified content with digital rights management systems. The present 20 invention also relates to multimedia signal processing, such as steganographically encoding auxiliary information into media signals, and decoding the auxiliary information from the media signals.
BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE
As digital content continues to proliferate, management of digital assets becomes an increasingly difficult challenge. 30 The term "content" is broadly defined herein and may include audio, video, images, electronic data, biometric information, graphics and designs, electronic documents, copyrighted materials, software, multimedia content, etc., etc. Sometimes we interchangeably use the term "media" 35 instead of content in this document. Enhancements in computer networking and database technology allow companies to manage large content collections and to make the content available to third parties. While network communication provides a powerful tool to enable a database manager to 40 share content with others, it makes it more difficult to control and track how the content is being used.
For example, some companies maintain extensive content databases to promote their products. Customers or service providers such as advertising and marketing firms can access 45 this content remotely via an internet, extranet, web site, intranet, LAN, WAN, wireless network or file transfer transactions. Although computer networking telecommunication technology facilitates access, it makes it difficult to ensure that customers and services providers are getting the 50 latest content, and that they are getting accurate and helpful information relating to the content.
There is a need to enable digital rights management systems to reliably link content with additional, related data—including related content. The terms "link" and "link- 55 ing" are defined broadly herein to include associating, pointing to, facilitating the access of, linking, connecting or connecting to, revealing a storage address of, and/or facilitating database interrogation, etc. There is also a need for a digital rights management system to reliably link content 60 with related usage billing information. One way to associate content with information about the content is to place the information in a file header or footer. This approach is not terribly attractive because the added information often does not survive file format changes, conversion to the analog 65 domain, and is susceptible to being stripped away, etc. We believe that an improved approach to associate content with
related data is to steganographically hide identifying information within the content. One example of steganography is digital watermarking.
Digital watermarking is the science of encoding physical and electronic objects with plural-bit digital data, in such a manner that the data is essentially hidden from human perception, yet can be recovered by computer analysis. Most commonly, digital watermarking is applied to media such as images, audio signals, and video signals. However, it may also be applied to other types of data, including documents (e.g., through line, word or character shifting), software, multi-dimensional graphics models, and surface textures of objects. In physical objects, the data may be encoded in the form of surface texturing, or printing. Such marking can be detected from optical scan data, e.g., from a scanner, optical reader, input device, digital camera, or web cam. In electronic media (e.g., digital audio or imagery—including video), the data may be encoded as slight variations in sample values. Or if the media is represented in a so-called orthogonal domain (also termed "non-perceptual," e.g., MPEG, DCT, wavelet, etc.), the data may be encoded as slight variations in quantization values or levels. The assignee's U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,862,260 and 6,122,403, and U.S. application Ser. No. 09/503,881, filed Feb. 14, 2000 (now U.S. Pat. No. 6,614,914), are illustrative of certain digital watermarking technologies. Each of these U.S. patent documents is herein incorporated by reference. A great many other approaches are familiar to those skilled in the art. The artisan is presumed to be familiar with the full range of literature about steganography, data hiding and digital watermarking.
Digital watermarking systems typically have two primary components: an encoder that embeds the watermark in a host media signal, and a decoder that detects and reads the embedded watermark from a signal suspected of containing a watermark (e.g., a suspect signal). The encoder embeds a watermark by altering the host media signal. For example, the encoder (or embedder) component embeds a watermark by altering data samples of the media content in the spatial, temporal or some other transform domain (e.g., Fourier, Discrete Cosine, Wavelet Transform domains). The decoder component analyzes a suspect signal to detect whether a watermark is present. In applications where the watermark encodes information, the decoder extracts this information from the detected watermark.
The analysis of the detected data can be accomplished in various known ways. Presently, most steganographic decoding relies on general-purpose microprocessors that are programmed by suitable software instructions to perform the necessary analysis. Other arrangements, such as using dedicated hardware, reprogrammable gate arrays, or other techniques, can of course be used.
According to one aspect of our invention, a digital watermarking system includes (or communicates with) a secondary component—a database. Such a database preferably includes data related to content. The related data may include, e.g., content owner or copyright information, metadata, usage rights, enhanced or interactive content, and billing information, etc. This related data is preferably organized or linked according to respective content identifiers. For example, if the content includes a song and the related data includes usage rules, then the usage rules can be associated with the song via a content identifier that is unique to the song or to a class of related songs. The database can be stored locally, remotely, or both. The database can also be distributed, with different databases stored in different networks or locations, such as a complete