In a digital world where everything on the internet is assumed free-for-the-taking by a lot of people who ignore copyrights, photographers and other creating digital imagery have a hard time with people just cropping out watermarks put in the image. Until now.
A team of computer scientist in Malaysia have come up with a novel approach to the problem. Embed the image with a watermark based on the solutions for the game Sudoku to evenly distribute the watermark throughout the image to prevent it from being cropped out.
The way it works is that a second image is a created using row and column permutations in a Sudoku solution to create an invisible watermark within the original image that can be detected, and that resists cropping and other noise that could be injected into the image by bots and other tools that mine the internet for images.
The team's test results so far show that using a 9x9 Sudoku solution to embed the watermarks have been successfully able to defeat about 94% of attempts at cropping and they are working on a 16x16 solution that would provide even stronger protection. This approach is unique also, in that it does not require someone checking an image to have the original as the embedded watermark, which could be unique to the copyright holder, can be extracted from any copy of any image.