[tig] Anti-Piracy Coding

john.pytlak at kodak.com john.pytlak
Thu Nov 13 20:47:24 GMT 2003

Here's a summary of my CML postings about anti-piracy codes :

Kodak developed the original Coded Anti-Piracy (CAP) code for the MPAA in
the early 1980's. I was a member of the Kodak team that developed CAP
Code. The first picture that used CAP code to trace sources of piracy was
Disney's "Night Crossing" in 1982. Since then, many HUNDREDS of features
have had CAP code printed on release prints to help track piracy to its
source. Most large release print labs can print CAP Code, which is
requested and paid for by the distributor.

The original Kodak-developed CAP code uses a matrix of tiny dots, printed
randomly through the feature and repeated hundreds of times so it could
not be easily edited out or digitally erased. Each print has a unique
code. Recently, some labs are using additional types of coding methods,
usually proprietary to the lab. Some of these newer codes may be more
visible on the screen.

Over the years, the MPAA and distributors have publicized the existence of
an anti-piracy code on prints, but details of the coding method were
deliberately not provided. There were articles in Variety (July 1, 1981 ,
December 12, 1984), Time Magazine (June 6, 1983), Hollywood Reporter (May
15, 1984, May 16, 1984, June 25, 1984), Los Angeles Harold Examiner
(February 8, 1985), Newsweek (July 27, 1987), Show Daily, and the Film
Journal. Even my brief description above deliberately leaves out some
details of the method, so as not to help would-be pirates.

Kodak is a leader in developing sophisticated "watermarking" technology
that goes well beyond the CAP code it developed over twenty years ago:

In over twenty years of use, very few people ever noticed the original CAP
Code that Kodak developed, even though it was repeated hundreds of times
during the movie. The small size of the dots and the randomness of the
positioning were features deliberately built into the coding method so it
would be harder for the audience to see, or the pirate to completely

Kodak developed the original CAP code system in 1982, and helped set up
labs to print it. CAP Code can provide tracking information from illegal
video copies, even those made by simply using a camcorder in a theatre.
Additional tracking methods are now offered by some labs, which may
sometimes be more visible than the original Kodak CAP Code.

The MPAA coordinates CAP Code use and tracking. SOME prosecution
statistics are published on the MPAA website, but they deliberately do not
publicize details of how evidence was gathered. Piracy has increased
because of the greatly increased availability of digital capture,
mastering, duplication, and Internet distribution tools to the pirates,
and the illegal profits to be made. Prosecution has also increased
because of the increased use of tools like anti-piracy watermarks to track
sources of piracy.


(signed by:)
John P. Pytlak
Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, New York 14650-1922  USA
Telephone: +1 585 477 5325
Cell: +1 585 781 4036
Fax: +1 585 722 7243
e-mail: john.pytlak at kodak.com
website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion

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