You are looking for the perfect image for your presentation or project and to save your time you go to Google, browse for the image with content words, you find exactly the one you were looking for only to find it with the watermarks of Shutterstock! You either skip the photo with a sad heart or download it anyway.
A recent invention by Google shows how the algorithm built by its researchers can automatically strip the watermark of the images of copyright protection.
Whoa! This should destroy the beauty sleep of any emerging photography enthusiast.
But Hakuna Matata! Only a week after Google released its paper detailing how its researchers built an algorithm automatically removing the watermarks from stock photos, Shutterstock has already put together an antidote.
The research by Google was presented at a leading computer vision conference in Hawaii back in July, which is described in detail in a paper titled, “On the Effectiveness of Visible Watermarks.”
According to Dekel and Rubinstein, Google research scientists, the basic trouble with current photo watermarking processes is the high level of consistency which can be used to invert the watermarking process to recover the original, watermark-free image underneath automatically.
Immediately the engineers of Shutterstock built a smart watermark technology that counteracts the algorithm by deliberately inserting minor inconsistencies in the watermark patterns. The website’s new technology introduced several variables to its watermarks structures to make it difficult for programs to identify recurring patterns only to continuously confuse Google’s software.
According to Shutterstock CTO Martin Brodbeck, the challenge was protecting images without degrading the image quality. Changing the opacity and location of a watermark does not make it more secure, however changing the geometry does. Google has already tested the new solution and found it to be functional.
This whole issue bears a message that how vulnerable the technology has made the online industry to copyright thieves. It’s high time we better be prepared with a preventive step to make a smart comeback just the way Shutterstock did!
We are already irritated by the ‘hashtag collected’ posts on Facebook contributing to plagiarism sparing one the legal challenges owing to an exploitation of copyright laws. An app that can automatically remove the watermark should be the last thing to put the growing industry of stock photo vendors under threat. Kudos to the Shutterstock engineers for the smart move!
Watermark is used to protect any image from possible violation of intellectual property rights.