[C&C for Human Potential / NEC Corporation]

Press Release
           NEC Corporation              NEC USA 
           Aston Bridgman (Tokyo)       Lourdes Cogswell (New York)
           TEL     : 81-3-3798-6511     TEL : 1-516-753-7045
           FAX     : 81-3-3457-7249     FAX : 1-516-753-7434
           E-mail  : Aston_Bridgman@HO-PRD.ccgw.nec.co.jp
           E-mail  : cogswell@ccgate.ml.nec.com

*****For immediate use April 28, 1997

NEC establishes high technology venture startup, SignafyTM , Inc., to market digital watermarking security solutions for multimedia and DVD

NEC Corporation (NEC) will be the first major Japanese corporation to establish a high technology style venture startup company in the US when Signafy(tm), Inc. is opened on May 2. The new venture company will develop and market digital watermarking technology, an extremely robust and secure solution for use in protecting the copyrights of multimedia and DVD (digital versatile disk) content.

NEC's digital watermarking, also referred to as digital fingerprinting, technology enables a user to permanently imbed an invisible identification code in multimedia works. Use of this breakthrough technology is expected to deter copyright piracy of still image, video and audio data. The technology can be used in transmission across the Internet, intranets, digital satellite and digital cable.

"NEC is one of the pioneers in the development of digital watermarking technology, and Signafy intends to be the market leader in multimedia content security solutions," stated Dr. James Philbin, NEC Research Institute Director of Advanced Computing Projects, and acting Signafy president and CEO.

Signafy will operate as a venture start up where management and employees will have significant equity in the company. An intensive search for a CEO with high visibility and a strong track record at a successful startup, is already underway. The new company will aggressively ramp up its engineering, sales and marketing activities in advance of several significant product introductions and partnership announcements over the next six months. NEC Corporation, has proposed its digital watermarking technology to the Copy Protection Technical Working Group (CPTWG) for use with DVD, and the two companies will closely collaborate on DVD and other activities to promote the new technology.


The increasing use of multimedia data across the Internet and other digital media, has led to very serious concerns about copyright protection. Conventional cryptographic systems offer no way to track reproduction of data, and therefore provide insufficient protection against data piracy. This can result in significant losses for multimedia-based businesses, and has become a considerable impediment to the development of this new market.

Digital watermarking, an invisible identification code, that is permanently embedded in digital image, video and audio data, is a highly effective means of protecting such copyrights. Recent technological advancements, have made a method of protecting the ownership rights of multimedia information a practical necessity.

The NEC Research Institute developed a robust digital watermarking technique in 1996, that places a watermark in perceptually significant components of an image signal. This technique makes the removal of the watermark virtually impossible. Furthermore, because the watermark is inserted into the spectral components of the data, there is no perceptual degradation or distortion of the signal during various transformations including: digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital conversions, resampling, requantization such as printing and compression, rotation, translation, cropping and scaling. The technology avoids these distortions, by using techniques analogous to spread spectrum communications.

Because Signafy's technology can be applied to all three media (audio, still image and video) with only minor modifications, it is especially appropriate for multimedia products. With its robustness and suitability for multimedia applications, Signafy will develop this technology as a standard for MPEG watermarking, for application in such areas as software and digital movies, and for digital satellite and digital cable transmissions.

By initiating the commercialization of this multimedia communications security technology through Signafy, NEC aims to overcome data piracy concerns in order to expand the multimedia information services industry and support its development. NEC is firmly committed to promoting this field and to being the industry leader by the year 2000 when it plans to take Signafy public.

For the Profile of Signafy(tm) , Inc., please see the attached sheet.


Signafy(tm) is a trademark of Signafy, Inc.

[Copyright(C) NEC Corporation 1997. NEC and C&C are trademarks of NEC Corporation.]