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10.1186_s13635-019-0094-2.pdf (2.07 MB)

Fine-grain watermarking for intellectual property protection

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journal contribution
submitted on 2024-05-26, 11:15 and posted on 2024-05-26, 11:16 authored by Stefano Giovanni Rizzo, Flavio Bertini, Danilo Montesi

The current online digital world, consisting of thousands of newspapers, blogs, social media, and cloud file sharing services, is providing easy and unlimited access to a large treasure of text contents. Making copies of these text contents is simple and virtually costless. As a result, producers and owners of text content are interested in the protection of their intellectual property (IP) rights. Digital watermarking has become crucially important in the protection of digital contents. Out of all, text watermarking poses many challenges, since text is characterized by a low capacity to embed a watermark and allows only a restricted number of alternative syntactic and semantic permutations. This becomes even harder when authors want to protect not just a whole book or article, but each single sentence or paragraph, a problem well known to copyright law. In this paper, we present a fine-grain text watermarking method that protects even small portions of the digital content. The core method is based on homoglyph characters substitution for latin symbols and whitespaces. It allows to produce a watermarked version of the original text, preserving the anonymity of the users according to the right to privacy. In particular, the embedding and extraction algorithms allow to continuously protect the watermark through the whole document in a fine-grain fashion. It ensures visual indistinguishability and length preservation, meaning that it does not cause overhead to the original document, and it is robust to the copy and past of small excerpts of the text. We use a real dataset of 1.8 million New York articles to evaluate our method. We evaluate and compare the robustness against common attacks, and we propose a new measure for partial copy and paste robustness. The results show the effectiveness of our approach providing an average length of 101 characters needed to embed the watermark and allowing to protect paragraph-long excerpt or smaller the 94.5% of the times.

Other Information

Published in: EURASIP Journal on Information Security
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English


Springer Nature

Publication Year

  • 2019

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • Qatar Computing Research Institute - HBKU

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