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digital watermark[‚dij·əd·əl ′wȯd·ər‚märk]
Invisible or inaudible data (a random pattern of bits or noise) permanently embedded in a graphic, video, or audio file for protecting copyright or authenticating data.
digital watermarkA pattern of bits embedded into a file that is used to identify the source of illegal copies. For example, if a digital watermark is placed into a master copy of an audio CD or DVD movie, then all copies of that disc are uniquely identified. If a licensee were to manufacture and distribute them in areas outside of their authorized territories, the watermark provides a trace.
The watermark developer has to find creative ways of altering the file without disturbing it for the user. It is extremely difficult to embed a watermark within an ASCII file, which is just raw text. But it is relatively easy to alter a few bits within audio, video and graphics formats without making a noticeable difference on playback or display.