When most of us think of a watermark, the first thing that comes to mind is money. If you hold a newer dollar bill up in the sunlight, you'll see a hidden image that proves the currency is real. These images are almost impossible to forge. In general, a watermark is any symbol or design that's hidden in a document, photo, or even in digital audio. They can be visible or totally invisible, they prevent counterfeiting, and they declare the original owner of a creative work.
How Does a Watermark Work?
Typically, a watermark is hidden in a physical document by manipulating the thickness and density of the paper, in order to create a detailed design. This clever technique can be used to date a particular document, find out where it was produced, and much more. When light is shone through the paper, the thinner sections let more light pass through, while the thicker sections block it. This can be achieved with two main processes: dandy roll, or a complex cylinder mould.
Besides placing text over an image or document to help prevent theft, there are also digital watermarks that use secret data to include copyright information. With this technique, a data pattern is included in a digital photo, audio file, or video clip, which links the file to its original creator. These are designed to be hidden and fully traceable.
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