All your copyright problems regarding the images are going to be over as a group of researchers at Google have designed an algorithm to remove watermarks from pictures automatically.
Watermarks have been a pain for the photography and stock image community. These watermarks are used to protect the copyrights of photographs by adding a logo or pattern over images.
Keeping all this in mind, researchers developed an algorithm that can easily bypass this ‘additional security’ by removing it completely. This will give users access to clean images without the worries of being claimed for copyright. Recently in a blog post, Google said:
“As often done with vulnerabilities discovered in operating systems, applications or protocols, we want to disclose this vulnerability and propose solutions in order to help the photography and stock image communities adapt and better protect its copyrighted content and creations”
Anyone can use it
The task of removing a watermark from a picture is quite time-consuming even with the help of advanced tools such as Photoshop. Even with a tool like Photoshop, a lot of skill is required just to remove a watermark from the image. It takes a real expert of the software to carry out such a task. However, with the arrival of Google’s algorithm, removing watermarks will become easy and convenient for everyone.
According to researchers, watermarks added to pictures are typically added in a certain pattern. Keeping that pattern in front, researches can use it to invert the process of watermarking. Subsequently, watermarks can be removed by examining its shape and opacity and simply removing that and hence, producing a watermark-free image. They said:
“This can all be done automatically, without any user intervention or prior information about the watermark and by only observing watermarked image collections publicly available online”
In addition, they also stated:
“The algorithm produces very accurate estimations of the watermark components already from hundreds of images; and can deal with most watermarks used in practice, including ones containing thin structures, shadows or color gradients. Moreover, the vulnerability of current watermarking techniques lies in the consistency in watermarks across image collections”
This vulnerability can be easily removed by introducing random geometric symbols inside the watermarks and attaching them to the image. In this way the watermark can be easily removed no matter how complex it is. However, the only question that remains is that will this leave visual traces of the removal on the actual image or not.