Automatic Rights Management for Photocopiers


We introduce a system to automatically manage photocopies made from copyrighted printed materials. The system monitors photocopiers to detect the copying of pages from copyrighted publications. Such activity is tallied for billing purposes. Access rights to the materials can be checked to prevent printing. Digital images of the copied pages are checked against a database of copyrighted pages. To preserve the privacy of the copying of non-copyright materials, only digital fingerprints are submitted to the image matching service. A problem with such systems is creation of the database of copyright pages. To facilitate this, our system maintains statistics of clusters of similar unknown page images along with copy sequence. Once such a cluster has grown to a sufficient size, a human inspector can determine whether those page sequences are copyrighted. The system has been tested with 100,000s of pages from conference proceedings and with millions of randomly generated pages. Retrieval accuracy has been around 99% even with copies of copies or double-page copies.