Digimarc and DataTrails join forces to provide proof of digital content authenticity

Digimarc and DataTrails have partnered to deliver a fully integrated content protection solution to fortify digital content using advanced digital watermarks in tandem with cryptographic proofs, or fingerprints.

Combined with provenance metadata, these technologies create a multi-layered toolset to provide proof of digital content authenticity — protecting content creators, businesses, and consumers from the threat of fake data and misinformation.

GenAI has changed the rules in content protection. Today, provenance metadata can easily be stripped from a digital asset intentionally or unintentionally when content is distributed or published. For instance, common workflows like uploading an image to a social network, sending a photo via an instant messaging application, or editing an image with a mobile phone app can strip metadata.

Without provenance metadata, it is very difficult to prove content authenticity. The partnership between Digimarc and DataTrails addresses this challenge head-on.

“In an era of GenAI, tools like robust digital watermarks and cryptographic proofs can transform our current digital ecosystem – removing uncertainty and suspicion to create greater authenticity and trust in digital content,” said Digimarc CPO Ken Sickles.

“This capability is especially relevant and critical in an election year. Today, provenance metadata can be stripped or swapped from digital assets, creating a situation where false certainty is often worse than uncertainty. The solution we are introducing today changes this paradigm. When embedded in a digital asset, digital watermarks act as a tether to retrieve a digital asset’s correct and unaltered metadata or Content Provenance and Authenticity (C2PA) manifest to prove content authenticity,” added Sickles.

Solving the content protection challenge

Committed to collaboration across industries and the public and private sectors, the Digimarc-DataTrails partnership follows the multi-layered approach to conveying digital media transparency set forth in Partnership on AI’s (PAI) Synthetic Media Framework, a Framework for the ethical and responsible development, creation, and sharing of synthetic media.

PAI is a global non-profit organization that brings together communities from across sectors and industries to advance AI solutions that benefit people and society. One increasingly important leg of the organization’s mission is ensuring the transparency of synthetic and non-synthetic media in an era of GenAI.

PAI’s Framework identifies common technical methods for conveying whether a digital asset is AI-generated or AI-modified, based on information about the digital content’s origin or provenance.

“Relying exclusively on metadata attached to content to prove content authenticity is risky at best and creates an illusion of trust in today’s environment because metadata is easily stripped, shredded or misappropriated without the proper tools and technology to help keep it in place. Protecting, monitoring, and authenticating digital content requires a multi-layered approach that sees beyond individual files,” said DataTrails CEO, Rusty Cumpston. “Our collaboration with Digimarc delivers an industry-first solution that provides irrefutable proof of digital content authenticity and provenance through a revolutionary multi-layered approach.”

Partnering to deliver a multi-layered solution

Creating an immutable audit trail to track the provenance of digital assets in a tamper-evident distributed ledger ensures content creators and businesses can prove content ownership and authenticity while allowing content consumers to detect fake data. DataTrails’ transparency and explainability platform supports trustworthy data distribution, and resolves contested data authenticity scenarios.

Specifically, the DataTrails platform applies cryptographic proofs to trace digital content, providing transparent proof of who did what and when. Digimarc digital watermarks add another layer of digital asset protection communicating content provenance, authenticity, and copyright information about synthetic and non-synthetic digital assets in a way that is both secure and bound to the asset itself.

An imperceptible digital watermark embedded in an image, video, or audio track creates a more persistent link between the asset and its manifest and helps recover it should it become detached.

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