This sort of thing makes it hard for me to take any of the article seriously. The author doesn't seem to know the first thing about either video formats or the authorial role of editing. Things are cut on particular frames for a reason. Also, editors don't deal in milliseconds, they deal in frames. Sound editors work in frames and samples, and while I have no objection to steganography-type adjustments to the final output, the idea of monkeying around with the content of the film, even on the margins, for tracking purposes tells me that the writer shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a post-production facility, for the same reason that most programmers don't want an art director telling them how totheir code would look prettier in a fancy font and in a more earth-toned color scheme.
Honestly, I think HBO is quite well aware of this srot fo thing already, and the 4 episodes were leaked to hook people on the rest of the series. There's already a lot of digital distribution technology involving rock-solid encryption, single-use keys, check ins and outs, and so on. Tweaking things like the length of the end credits (or rather the black frames at the end) are potentially viable but also trivially obvious to any editor. But monkeying with the program material is strictly out of bounds.
Edit: a few things: arguments based on the behavior of "the majority" and arguments founded on the principle that 100% of all people who have ever been Game of Thrones viewers are completely and utterly committed to viewing every single season are rather weak. Viewership of shows changes from season to season. More so, not every TV show viewer is the sort of person who must start a series from the beginning. Pulling in folks who are caught up on Game of Thrones but haven't been hooked on the current season and pulling in folks who will begin mid stream (and then maybe go back and watch from the beginning, or not) adds to their viewership. More viewers means more purchases, more purchases means more dollars.
Not to mention the value of retaining their existing viewership base.
These are all the same reasons why coke continues to dump massive amounts of dollars into advertising despite already being well known and having a huge chunk of the soft drink marketshare. In fact, the returns on investment for advertising already popular products tends to be higher than for products just entering the market, because the numbers are so big. There are millions of Game of Thrones fans. If even a few hundred thousand existing fans who might have held off on watching the new season are kept on the hook and if even a few hundred thousand non-watchers gain interest in the show via starting with the new season and if only a small fraction of those folks end up purchasing the discs, or HBO (in whatever form) then that's a considerable amount of money in HBO's pocket that would have been left on the table.
Which isn't saying it wasn't an accident, but business wise this is still a win for HBO.
I think accident is more likely, but HBO doesn't lose much - anyone who watches these episodes is going to want to watch the rest of the series and is going to pay HBO (or else would never have done so)
"Dear HBO, as a subscriber to HBO since 1983, I am saddened for this leak. As a huge fan of GoT, I am delighted, thank you, I will still watch all episodes in HD and DVR them every Sunday."
HBO should allow for HBO GO users to see the whole season at a time - the same way netflix does.
There is no reason to meter out the story. Netflix dumping a whole season on the wire when it gets released is the best release method ever.
In contrast, after House of Cards s3 was released and we watched a few episodes together, it became a free for all. Having a conversation about the show with anyone is practically impossible unless everyone has seen the entire show.
Entertainment, in such a busy world, should be available at the leisure of the viewer, not some game rigged to keep interest over a time. Personally I'd rather watch the whole GoT season now to avoid seeing spoilers.
I think because of binging, better quality content is being created that is more complete and movie like. This content is meant to be consumed as a whole complete series and written as such, rather than hacked together a few weeks out and more plot holes or unnecessary episodes. Shows are so much better consumed in whole rather than across many many weeks, it leads to a stronger buy into the characters and the writing.
With binging, full availability, people can also easily catch up this way and watch older series more readily together. What we are moving to is a much better system than linear broadcast television which was only that way because there was limited network and resource availability, also it was all about the ads. I am sure there will be more watchers groups setup to binge together because so much more TV is available this way.
Well, it can't be. It has to be made first. No matter what, there will always be some kind of a delay in when you can watch the next X of Y, simply because we haven't invented time travel yet.
And I absolutely agree that the broadcast model -- where you see the thing only if you're at your TV at the right time -- is a thing of the past, but there's no reason that means serialization (which is what I think you mean by linear) should go away.
> I think because of binging, better quality content is being created that is more complete and movie like.
I won't argue, by any stretch, that scripted serialized storytelling (non-film) hasn't gotten markedly better over the last few years, but this kicked off long before Netflix dumped an entire season of HoC into your lap and can largely be credited to the shows that really raised the bar, like The Wire, The Sopranos, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, etc. All of those were serialized. Netflix is a johnny come lately to this trend.
And there is actually value in having time to digest what you just watched. You're more likely to think critically about it and less likely to just swallow it as some giant mass of stuff. The social aspect of being in sync with other people -- even people you just met -- can mean finding new ways to think about the story that you didn't have before.
All the netflix model does is make it so our episodes of TV are impossibly long, and their impact on popular culture much much less. People absolutely talk more about shows they're actively watching during a season.
I don't believe this model will ever go away because of things like live sports. You can't "on demand" a live basketball game and part of the joy is enjoying the results unfold together.
As a father of three small kids, I don't have the luxury of a weekly viewing parties. I find solace in the times when I have several hours to binge watch at my own pace.
I recall the the last episode was postponed one week last year due to some strike or something alike, forcing people to pay an additional month of HBO. I heard a few complaining about this extra cost (and the fact that there was no episode that weekend!).
Syndicated shows on cable like "Friends" on TBS are already being sped up massively in order to fit more ads into a show.
I think we can pause on a Tyrion stare for 1/2 second more without ruining the show. And EVEN IF IT DOES RUIN THE SHOW, it is still very possible that HBO could use this strategy.
Plus there are plenty of least significant bits or even non-significant bits everywhere in a file to implement solid watermarks.
There are even watermarks technologies that are said to be re-encoding resistant.
What the author of the article is proposing is actually a kind of steganography, albeit a rather crude one, and probably rather difficult to implement (since scene timings will be different for each episode, and you'll need to keep a separate log of exactly which timings correspond to each person you've distributed the file to), compared to running a video through a process that embeds a steganographically hidden id pattern at each keyframe.
The minimum difference in scene length allowable would be a single frame.
I wouldn't be surprised if MP4 (or other video formats) provided a mechanism for tweaking the timing of a given frame. Of course, if you're using such a primitive watermark you might as well just add a note in the metadata...
You know how annoying it is when you watch a movie and there's some sort of 2-dimensional 'hacker' character and s/he just says some gobbledegook about 'hacking the password' or whatever, you see something a progress bar briefly on screen, and then the actor says 'we're in!' In short, how stupid movies can be about computer topics? Well that's how it feels when someone who knows nothing about video formats or editing comes up with suggestions about adjusting the length between scenes by a few milliseconds and having it slightly different for every viewer.
It's where you read a page full of comments about something you really and truly deep know something about and see how very, every wrong nearly everyone is...
...then you go on to take every other page pretty seriously without remembering just how far off people were on the topic that you know about. I experienced this the other day when people were talking about beep.js on HN.
Thanks. Now I know the name for this.
Here's an example of a deliverables manual, from Netflix: http://newworlddistro.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/FullTec... You will get something similar from any broadcaster or video distributor. I'm not making careless extrapolations of my knowledge here, but telling you what the industry standards are. I have long involved email conversations about these things with distributors so that stuff I submit to them doesn't get sent back, triggering contractual penalty clauses for late/non-delivery that will make a producer cross with me.
"Huh, this frame is supposed to be delayed by 3ms. Ah, screw it, [checks 'force to 23.97 fps' button]."
not to mention how you would go about defining the ends of scenes...
no standard format that i am aware of has variable framerate. it makes no sense.
Watermarking is a deterrent to the people who upload the content in the first place. The ones who're careless about who they'll share things with. A unique watermark (steganographic or visible) is about finding the source of the leak. In that arms-race the entertainment industry is facing people who can remove a watermark - but we have no idea whether or not they're winning. The fact that torrents exist with watermarks intact makes me think that perhaps they are.
I would have gladly paid them to watch a stream at 8pm last night, yet somehow that still isn't an option in 2015.
Instead I ended up with 4 episodes from a torrent at 8:15. Tell me more about embracing new technology as it comes to market.
HBO Now is Apple TV exclusive for 3 months.
I googled around for about 15 minutes and was only able to find news articles announcing it. I'd be happy to pay them for what i've already watched if anyone could direct me to a sign-up for this elusive streaming service.
I don't have an iOS device or their specific supported ISP, so I haven't signed up.
The visible fingerprint might just have been there to deter the clueless. In any case even with a fingerprint its hard to proof without a doubt, the individual who actually stole it.
I don't think they need to prove that a certain individual stole it. The party which received the advanced copies likely had to take on liability, so HBO can go after them. Of course, that doesn't mean they won't turn around and lean on the actual culprit, but whether or not they catch someone HBO will have their due.
I've heard of minor reviewers and third party firms getting cut off after a leak is traced to them, but for the most part the back office people simply don't have the power to enforce against anyone of note. Also the evidence just isn't enough for an actual law suit against someone who can hire a lawyer.
In short, don't try to film a movie in a theater; they will find you.
The author jumped to the conclusion that those don't exist, apparently because they aren't visible (but that's the point!) and that there is a visible watermark which the author apparently assumed was the only one (but it almost certainly isn't).
Given a known frame, they could blur the same portion of the same frame on all watermarked copies, and the one with a matching output is your culprit.
Blurring loses information, but is more akin to a hash than a deletion, as it's a deterministic process.
Edit: this sort of thing. http://dheera.net/projects/blur
You can if you have the original file, but then what's the point?
Otherwise, take image a=original+f1, image b=original+f2. Then if you e.g. average them you still have c=original+f1/2+f2/2 -- so both signatures are kept (theoretically if either you have a large number of sources you could average the signals out of existence, or perhaps the system isn't robust and can't detect multiple sigs). This assumes the introduced signatures are indistinguishable from the source (quite reasonable).
...but easy to explain (and sell?) to the entertainment industry, who have shown themselves to be mostly technically illiterate. Some cynical, unscrupulous hacker could probably extract a lot of money from them for such a service...
You can also embed data in the audio channel by alternating between two imperceptible echo kernels for 1/0. This is extremely compression resistant.
Lossy compression: discard all sub-threshold information.
Thus, in the general case it's fundamentally impossible. You can make a scheme that will survive certain known encoders and bitrates, but you can't make one that will survive all lossy compression.
Split & merge frame by frame, in random, from multiple video sources. Visually they will be the same, but steganography has a high chance of been broken.
Disclaimer: I used to work at one of the leading companies in this field.
Could you link to some papers? If you try to encode lots and lots of messages with different keys into the video, does it ruin the quality before ruining previous messages?
Sometimes, it's not about the money.
Pre-release screeners often have big ugly on-screen watermarks. Almost anything is better than a scrolling mid-screen line of text "PROPERTY OF STUDIO NAME DO NOT PIRATE THIS FILM".
Anyway, the horses have bolted and the damage is done.
Either HBO is using these and nobody knows yet; or they had an internal leak prior to their application; or they leaked it themselves. Under no plausible circumstances did they visibly watermark a corner and hope for the best.
The pattern would repeat throughout the song (I think once per minute) such that only a small sample was necessary to recover the pattern. It also had enough check bits that it was impossible to get the wrong code; either you'd get back the right code or nothing. This was all done with COTS software (a command-line executable) that could be licensed for a few hundred dollars.
My client ultimately decided not to add stenography. He believed that his users would be upset with the possibility that there was some quality loss due to the process, as they were paying a lot of money to have high-definition tracks. He thought the losses from the discovery that he was applying stenography would exceed the ongoing loss from piracy.
A very likely correct conclusion, and there an additionally logical error with the assumption that privacy would disappear if they used it. Just because the copyright owner can sue whoever distributed the first copy doesn't mean piracy would stop after that. In order to get any effect at all, they would have to tell every customer about it, and the effect would likely not be 100%. It only take one person who upload the song to make it a permanent resident in torrent swarms.
If someone were to use this, the profit calculation is 1: Can winning lawsuits cover the costs, 2: Can informing (accusing) all your customers be worth the decreased rate of uploads. If neither of those 2 sound attractive to your business model, then spending money/reputation on personalized watermarks is completely pointless.
(edit) additionally, lets look at a typical scenario. Let say a file is being spread unlawfully and you track down it to customer 40#. The customer is a hardcore fan, studying for a music degree, and has no idea how the song "got out" when confronted. Customer 40# is against piracy, as can be seen by the major library of lawfully bought copies. However, they are also a member of a small fangroup, and did share the song with its 10-20 members. The customer was sure that everyone in that place would never think of uploading it to a public place. The question then becomes, do you continue with the lawsuit and put this student, this great fan in debt for the rest of their life?
I think he might have made the wrong decision in his case, as adding leak penalties to his contracts would have made his users more careful with his files. Since he was in turn licensing some rights from other parties, leaks in the past had caused him some legal trouble and he didn't want to have that happen again. His solution was to add DRM, but it didn't close the analog hole so there's still the potential for leaks. (I haven't talked to him in a few years so I'm not sure if things have improved.)
And in any case - this won't hurt their subscription numbers - if you've wanted to watch the show, you've already subscribed to the first month and it's too late to cancel.
I suspect this is the case. It seems like people are assuming HBO's silence means they didn't use a steganographic watermark. I disagree; I don't see any reason why they would feel the need to tell the world - especially if they plan on pursuing this legally.
"Our experience is that it leads to more paying subs. I think you're right that Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world," he said. "That's better than an Emmy." - Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes
THAT is a step in the right direction.
More generally he could have meant that tracking the leak is a step in the right direction towards HBO having control over when their material is released. Even in a fantasy world where all entertainment is free I think artists should have control over releasing their own work.
In any case, I'm curious as to what the endgame is in the right direction you mentioned.
> Apart from that I think that binge-watching the first
> 4 episodes is a stupid idea that will make you ache
> for a month waiting for the 5th episode ☺.
But more importantly, my online activity means I'll probably be spoiled before the 4th episode airs, not to mention people "predicting" events (read: passing off spoilers as theory) throughout the coming weeks. I'd rather not take that risk, personally, the cost of spoilers far outweighs the costs of waiting for me.
This is flexible, and can fit any schedule! You and friends can watch in whatever pattern you want, and it requires exactly nothing of Netflix! You can deploy this method today!
This would unquestionably satisfy your needs. Why would you need anything other than a dump from Netflix?
There is a massive difference in both quality and activity between /r/HouseOfCards and /r/GameOfThrones. The "season dump" just doesn't work on a scale that exceeds one living room.
Bluntly, you're not making a compelling argument for taking flexibility away from the silent majority that watches and doesn't aggressively engage in public discussion. You're arguing from a position where the putative needs of that minority is the only thing that matters.
At the end of the day, television is just entertainment. And I get a lot more entertainment from being able to discuss drip-rate shows with friends.
Do you think there is a "need" missing in the larger TV watching community that must be addressed regarding the pace of releases? Should there be a vote after each TV show on how many days people need to think about the episode before the next one comes out?
I guess I'm a sucker for the never-ending suspense...best show on tv.
As a result you've got to focus a little bit on each person and in a 55 minute show that means 5-10 minutes per story arc per episode. This only gets worse as more characters become important. It's somewhat balanced by other characters being killed off, mind!
I love watching GoT due to the high-quality production mixed with nudity and occasional awesome scenes. But I've given up on really enjoying much of the plot progress.
My time is precious to me, I stopped watching TV. Everything comes out of mplayer now, and if I cant fast forward whenever I want I simply dont touch that content.
That touchy feely 2 minute character building all talk no action scene between two insignificant parts in Walking Dead? Two clicks and its gone.
I also agree with the spoilers. The cat is out of the bag and I'm not going to potentially ruin the show by waiting for each to air (and seeing spoilers or "theories") especially after waiting this long for the new season.
"Seems like a simple idea would simply be to change just the spelling of one seemingly insignificant name near the end of each version of the credits and then by actually watching the credits you'd know the leaker straight away."
"Of course, you'd leave the watermark on there so the leaker doesn't know how you caught them and thinks that the watermark is still the tracking mechanism."
I liken it to the Simpsons or Futurama in the sense that things subtly change (e.g. locations which are destroyed in the show, are destroyed in the opening, and such).
I think you can tell I'm a fan!
You want to make it so that the entire binary content of the film looks different for each person, so there can be no point of reference apart from what it looks like (which is the same).
But yes, once it was discovered that information was being embedded in the credits, those would be cut.
But in this wide world there are fans who painstakingly go through the credit and put the text online. Sometimes even special thanks. So a fake name could be detected, and once the m.o. is detected, in this networked age, everyone would know it and people will start looking for it.
It's also only the first four episodes: enough to get you hooked enough to want to see the end. Of course, torrents are always an option, but at some point $15/mo is worth less than the hassle of downloading the show on a weekly basis.
I'm not suggesting that's not accurate, but I'd love to better understand your sources for that, as my single point of anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise.
About six or seven years ago we torrented a single episode of an HBO series (I forget which—we were cable-cutters and it wasn't available to rent online at the time) and while we knew it was wrong, it was convenient and it worked.
However, we were surprised when, two days later, I received an email from Comcast saying HBO had reported that our IP address had pirated copyrighted material, and that if we did it again our service would be shut off and we'd possibly face civil charges. That actually shocked me into avoiding bittorrent altogether, which was undoubtedly their goal.
Empty threats or not, I hardly walked away feeling that HBO was "remarkably progressive on the piracy front".
Maybe things have changed?
(Note, I'm not actually pro-piracy, since I do think that copyright holders deserve a right to monetize their work as they see fit, within bounds. I just wish more of them had a more sophisticated view on how to make their content more broadly and conveniently available.)
It's not "sure, go ahead and pirate our shows!" but more of "People pirate our shows, so we look at piracy for trends to see what countries/audiences have a large, underserved viewer base for our shows." Some people pirate because shows are unavailable, so you can sell to them and make money. People who pirate because they're cheap and don't want to pay aren't HBO's target customers (and they probably don't have enough money to be worth suing anyway).
And it's actually pretty easy, just using my phone. I go to a torrent site, search. Longpress the Magnet URI. Open with Put.io App. Switch to Put.io (transfers are instantly done for popular files). Turn on Chromecast and hit play.
1) Prevent copies from being leaked
2) Trace leaks if they happen
Watermarks are actually great for the first goal. They are big, ugly, and obvious. This discourages people from leaking. If they do leak it's crystal clear they're taking a huge risk. This is also why the DVD screener is low-res SD.
HBO already tracked down where the leak came from. Whatever methods they have in place to do so were successful. Thus any complains about watermarks being ineffective at goal #2 are irrelevant.
>This is a stupid blog post.
Have you seen the topic discussed on the Internet? I looked for it and I haven't, so I simply started it. Given the score of the submission and the number of comments, that goal is reached. I learned a lot from other comments and I'm happy.
> HBO already tracked down where the leak came from.
“Sadly, it seems the leaked four episodes of the upcoming season of Game of Thrones originated from within a group approved by HBO to receive them,” the spokesperson said. “We’re actively assessing how this breach occurred.”
They've at least narrowed the leak down to be from inside HBO. They may not have it down to an individual just yet. Their internal process may need some work.
About the article: that's not what I understand...
> a group approved by HBO to receive [the episodes]
What I understand is that the leak did not come from HBO but from one of their service providers or journalists or anything like that. Am I missing something?
HBO has had DVD screener leaks before. If they all have the same watermark and the watermark is the only tracking info they have then, for all the reasons you put out, that'd just be silly.
But it could be even easier. Why not put the watermark in a different location for every copy you distribute?
And as per your parent's remark, most math is there "for fun" as written in the article.
Anyone who remembers the first GoT streaming premieres, they were largely catastrophic on the the servers. Last night appears to have gone well. I'm beginning to think HBO leaked it themselves.
The best way to deal with piracy is by offering a better experience to customers than to pirates. Here, that would be HD + not having to look for a torrent server that isn't currently blocked in your country. Just as people rarely try to evade paying their train/tube tickets unless they're broke: their time and convenience isn't worth that sort of hassle.
Had it been a leak of one episode hours before it aired, it wouldn't have been detrimental to HBO. But 4 episodes at once mean pirates can get one month worth of binge watching, which is _the_ thing people want and TV channels can't offer. That means many paying HBO customers will watch the pirated version and ask themselves why they keep paying their subscription. Even those who choose not to watch the leaked versions, will no doubt experience some amount of frustration due to having to make that choice. And their are other minor inconveniences, such as having to avoid spoilers on forums.
Your point would have been completely valid, had GoT been produced by a binge-friendly media such as Netflix, though.
Do Comcast/TWC/DirecTV/Echostar feel that way? If even one person that was planning to subscribe to HBO over cable/satellite to watch this season decided to bail and watch the torrent instead, then the leak has economic impact. DVRs are irrelevant.
Someone who figures out how to get these episodes very well might just cancel HBO and get them all that way.
Though, a fairly credible rumor said that Showtime did strategic bittorent leaks. For a while almost every single season had the first two episodes leaked in high quality. Of course, it could have been one leaker just doing it each time.
I think it is pretty incredible that these leaks are not more common.
This is my central question that has not been answered. How is deliberately leaking GoT not beneficial to HBO? How does the company generate revenue from everyone watching it on their service at once (remember, HBO themselves mentioned that they don't mind piracy and the old joke is that for every one subscriber to HBO GO there are dozens of other, non-related people using those credentials)
The watermark which has been blurred is a just a visual warning to the original receiver of the file to remind them that they have a special copy, it's not meant to act as a form of identification.
HBO will definitely know who they sent the episodes to, but that doesn't necessarily mean they know who leaked them.
I mean this could be a good addition to the current tech used in something like Cinavia, which is the most robust system I have seen and if not already doing it could easily identify individual sources. But the inaudible audio and steganography used in that system just seem much more of a pain to circumvent than using lengths of scenes as a serial number of sorts.
For that to work obviously you need the player to implement the feature but this isn't about disabling playback but simply tracking a leak. Just tweak it audio on each early release copy and you are good to go.
The really interesting thing about Cinavia is that it survives even an audio transcode/re-encode so even converting 5.1 DTS to MP3 or similar won't kill it. It is extremely robust in that sense.
the same ideas apply to frames, if you drop one from a scene you'd have to add it back elsewhere.
it just means comparing two copies would be easier to check for this technique than with a ms-based approach.
i think it also reduces your problem space as cutting a scene by over a few frames would be extremely obvious in most shows with competent editors.
About the futility of so called "social DRM", see also http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/columns-and-blog...
I think illegal filesharing threatens the industry primarily not because it's free, but because it offers a lot of features and convenience which the content providers refuse to grant their customers willingly.
It's a bit of a cycle isn't it? The reason they refuse to grant the convenience is because it enables illegal filesharing. Works the other way too.
Illegal filesharing doesn't need to be enabled, it's already happening regardless.
Incidentally, the argument that people would simply re-share illegally what they bought had been used against getting rid of DRM in audio files for a long time. Today the major music stores provide DRM-free music by default. Yes, these files can be shared, but considering the fact that they were already out there, the impact was minimal.
The only material difference between me using Napster in the nineties and me using iTunes right now is the fact that they're actually allowing me to pay for my music.
RED GREEN BLUE
11111111 00000000 00000000
But a change in the least significant bit(s) is barely noticeable. You probably wouldn't notice the difference between 11111111 and 11111110, especially as you don't experience individual colour channels, you see a blended colour. And when you're looking at something with thousands of pixels you simply won't spot it.
So, stick your secret message in the low bits:
RED GREEN BLUE
11111XXX 00000XXX 00000XXX
Techniques like this were used on 4chan to hide child porn in high-resolution photographs. This the "mods are asleep, post hi-res" meme.
Turns out that the least significant bits of a pixel are not uniformly distributed. The obvious example of failure is that you expect more pixels with value 255 than 254, since any overexposure will be stuck at 255. The rest is obvious when you look at a histogram of pixel values; as the number of LSBs used increases you see the curve become stepped.
LSB replacement steganography is easily detectable at about a ratio of about 0.01 bits per pixel. The smarter plan is to add or subtract 1 randomly (or do nothing) in order to match the LSB to what you want; this symmetry is harder to detect (but still very possible, the methods are just more complicated).
The reason you encrypt the data is not just for data security, it is so that the embedder does not have to worry about the data that they are embedding screwing everything up.
tl;dr LSB steganography does not give you any plausible deniability because it's really easy to detect in any type of image at very low embedding levels due to inherent limitations of the process. If you want to use it, you'd be safe with a single message at perhaps a level of 0.005 bits per pixel, but then in a ten megapixel image you'd get 150kB of data which hardly seems worth it when you have to transmit losslessly. Even then, you'd still be screwed at a theoretical level with Ker's square root law.
Still, I think LSB replacement steganography is useful if only to provide an example of how it steganography can be done, even if it's not particularly sophisticated.
You could number 65k unique distributions that way and the overall length would rarely be affected by more than a frame or two.
It could be implemented with a pretty easy python script.
Much better to adjust coloring slightly in central but low entropy parts of occasional, appropriate frames, sort of like Omron rings, but designed specifically to be visually inconspicuous while surviving encoding.
The newish CineFence supposedly does something like this. In any case it wouldn't be hard to improve on the horrible Deluxe code.
Get two leaked copies, and mix them up. Use the credits from copy A, or hell, even chop off 11 milliseconds from them. Then mix and match scenes... even chop off a few ms from some randomly selected scenes.
I bet you wouldn't even need the two copies.
Disclaimer: I used to work for one of the companies providing these systems.
Maybe something like Cinavia could be used instead? It's an analog watermarking system for detecting pirated copies and refusing to play them if player detects such copy is played on something else than bluray disc. Apparently this survives transcoding, and was/is major pain for people ripping their discs for various reasons and trying to play the files on certified players.
Step 2: Run the whole thing through an optimizer seeking to minimize error while not being detected.
Step 3: Wait a few hours.
Obviously I can come up with anything and you would be able to present a strategy how to beat it. But that's not the point.
If this kind of various copyright protections become norm, people might actually be afraid to leak stuff, because you will never know how safe it is and what kind of protection you might run into. Even after analyzing spectrogram and generally watching the media multiple times, trying to find anything weird.
Well, obviously when you grab infinite number of watermarked copies, you might be able see where the irregularities are. But that's not how leaks happen.
They could change the opening credits by 2ms. Or a specific scene.
They could even add a single extra sword 'clang' noise in part of the audio track on one single scene.
There are so many options.
this should be the biggest obstacle.
Or maybe it's a trial run for HBO to gauge what viewers think of binge watching.
If they only had the one obvious watermark, I think HBO was hoping that maybe the people getting the screeners would think that there is more than one way they had the video tracked. Either the person who uploaded didn't care, or didn't think about it.
Its worth noting HBO has been on a path to make content available on the internet even without Cable (HBO now). probably a good long term strategy. There are always people who want it sooner, and free!
This is why we can't have nice things..
Past that, I've seen a small amount of time shifting take place during a not-so-careful re-encode. At 1 ms precision, even this would be enough to throw off such a tracking system.
I imagine those who watched it early told all of their friends about the show, making them watch it too when it came out on TV.
 - http://arxiv.org/abs/1006.2356
It has the potential side-effect of the watermark getting blurred out by the leaker, but leaving other tracking pieces intact.
(You're probably thinking of the one party vs two party consent issue: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_recording_laws)
If I were to somehow create a Game of Thrones video file that "phones home", yes that would need to be disclosed.
If I want to add an invisible watermark to a video file and note who got the video with that watermark, that is legal.
Also, editors would cringe at "varying the length of scenes".
There are a heap of image based ways to encode data. Kerning on the credits, Position of titling. Minor brightness colour tweaks.
The thing that springs to mind the most. THERE'S A FULLSCREEN WHITE NOISE EFFECT AT THE START OF THE SHOW. You could stick whatever you want in there.
It took me ~20 minutes to realize it was gone, you probably tried to hit the page during that time frame.
Also, the author seems to know nothing of steganography so HBO haven't had anything of consequence discovered by them.
When I download a video from the Google Play Store I can only watch it for 24 hours or so. I thought there was already a highly protected digital signature/encryption system involved. Why is that not used for reporter previews?
The play store can stop you watching the content after 24 hours on the play store. It cannot possibly stop you recording your screen while it's playing and saving it forever
Preventing leaks is basically impossible, but making them traceable is possible using watermarks