Re:story on plagarism on NPR

Regarding information in digital form,

> On Tue, 21 Jan 1997, Christopher Gwyn wrote:

> yup, the trick is to figure out ways of handleing it so that
> stealing is the least desirable method of acquisition - without being
> draconian, intrusive, or restricting the spread and use of information.

I think we're beginning to see some attempts at doing this.  The latest
version of Photoshop (version 4.0) includes a watermark feature that
enables you to put a watermark into images you create.  I've read about
some minor problems with it, but it's a start.

IBM is also looking at watermarking images:


This page describes two types of watermarks: a visible watermark that can
show the owning organization's identifying information (seal, logo,
copyright info) within an image (which is somewhat intrusive, as far as the
image goes), and an invisible watermark, which is invisible but detectable
if you suspect wrong-doing and analyze the image.

I would think you could adapt this same technology to watermark those PDF
dissertations that are so easy to download, and maybe even Postscript files
(I'm not as sure about that).

When you create RealAudio sound files, you can enter copyright information
that's displayed in the RealAudio player when someone plays the sound.
This isn't really a strong preventative measure right now, because I think
it would be pretty easy to take an audio file and recreate it with your own
copyright information, but it at least makes an attempt to associate the
information with the copyright holder.

These are very basic solutions to the problem of how to prevent plagiarism
of digital information, but I hope the solutions continue along this line,
because unlike other potential solutions, they don't interfer with your
ability to access and use information, they just make it more difficult to
take someone else's information and claim it as your own.