Shama B’cast to digitally watermark movies

MUMBAI: In a pact to thwart pirates in one of the world’s largest piracy markets, USA Video Interactive Corp. has inked an memorandum of understanding with India’s Shama Broadcast Contents & Services.


As per the MoU, Shama will digitally watermark motion pictures for Ethnic Communications, Inc. Shama will watermark Ethnic’s films with USVO’s SmartMark prior to Internet distribution using USVO’s MediaSentinel workstation. The formal agreement between the two will be signed within the next 60 days.


India is one of the hottest spots in the world for video piracy. Ethnic has acquired a sizeable library of 600 Indian feature films that they will be distributing over the Internet. Pirates have sophisticated methods that enable them to download these digital, high-quality classics by paying for them once, make copies, and begin distributing the films themselves.


To thwart such piracy, Ethnic has instructed its vendor, Shama, to watermark each film with USVO’s SmartMarks prior to Internet distribution. Embedding SmartMarks — invisible forensic information in every frame of video content — provides proof the courts need to protect intellectual property rights, indicting and convicting the individuals who steal the original material.


Ethnic is aiming at providing video content to the 25+ million people of Indian origin living outside India. Ethnic’s library of digitized feature movies will be made available to subscribers through video-on-demand, pay-per-view and data streaming platforms over the Internet.


Ethnic’s promoters are pioneers in Internet-based content delivery having launched India’s first Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) platform through another company, India Broadcast Live, Inc. to the over 25 million PIOs and potentially the hundreds of millions of others who live in India and should soon be able to access broadband Internet.


“We spent significant dollars purchasing this vast library of motion pictures and creating a robust delivery platform for them. We must protect our property so that we and the distributors/owners can make use of this product for a long period of time. It is very important to us that our content be SmartMarked to counter pirates who see the value of these films in the home video market. We will state on our website that our content is SmartMarked, and we’ll have the ability to trace and police the films,” said Ethnic and IBL president Munish Gupta.


“Hollywood has been trying to prevent piracy by using Digital Rights Management (DRM). However, as has been written in the news over the past months, pirates have consistently shown they have the ability to hack the various DRM methods Hollywood uses. It now appears Hollywood, and India’s equivalent, Bollywood, are preparing to embrace digital watermarking technology to help them securely sell their movies and television shows over the Internet. We see this agreement with Shama for SmartMarking Ethnic’s video content as a major step in that direction,” said USVO CEO Edwin Molina.

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