Microsoft Licenses Its Audio Watermarking Tools to Activated Content

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2007-08-15 Print this article Print

Microsoft's tools will let Activated Content insert and extract non-secure data into audio files.

Microsoft is licensing the audio watermarking technology developed in its research labs to Activated Content, a digital technology and application services company. Microsofts audio watermarking technology consists of digital audio software tools that will enable Activated Content to insert and extract non-secure data into audio files that they can use to offer additional services to users.
As such, Active Content, based in Seattle, plans to expand its current audio watermarking offerings within the entertainment, advertising and telephony industries.
The company already has its own patented watermarking solution for encoding identifiable, robust, inaudible and unique codes into digital audio. Its technology has been deployed by major and independent record labels, recording studios, mastering studios, duplication houses, cable television channels and online content distribution services worldwide. Click here to read more about how the ACID engine scans the Web for pirated multimedia. But the agreement with Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., now lets Activated Content offer its customers interoperability, since its technology will now be available to both traditional content owners and those creating user-generated content. Prior to this agreement, Activated Contents products were based on its own proprietary technology, CEO Eric Silberstein said, adding that the collaboration with Microsoft will allow the company to rapidly deploy innovative solutions and create new applications for the audio watermarking market. "Being able to combine our existing assets with Microsofts innovative technologies and vast intellectual property portfolio was a unique opportunity for us … Activated Content can now be in the forefront, providing a digital link in the multibillion dollar mobile advertising marketplace and enabling aggregators to link advertising and consumers with user generated content," he said. For his part, Louis Carbonneau, general manager for Microsofts Intellectual Property Licensing Group, said Activated Content was uniquely positioned to extend the audio watermarking technology developed by Microsoft Research to emerging applications, "and we feel great about supporting the development of a company based in our own backyard." Microsoft was committed to licensing its intellectual property portfolio in a way that would benefit both customers and the IT ecosystem as a whole, he said, adding that these types of agreements allow companies to access its patent and research and development portfolios to create cutting edge technologies that enhance their value proposition to customers. Microsoft has claimed that free and open-source software violates 235 of its patents. Click here to read more. Microsoft has been moving aggressively to license its intellectual property and patent portfolios to both proprietary and open-source companies, including Novell, JBoss, XenSource, Linspire, Samsung, Xandros, Zend and Fuji-Xerox. But the wave of recent open-source patent indemnity deals has been controversial, with Ubuntu leader and Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth saying recently that Microsoft has succeeded in fracturing the Linux and open-source community with those deals. Microsoft has signed more than 200 licensing agreements since launching its IP licensing program in December 2003, which was developed to open up access to its significant research and development investments and growing patent and IP portfolios.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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