Music Publishing and Licensing Blog

Delivery of watermarked master files

As mentioned in the first article on this series about watermarked music files, Activated Content, one of the inaudible, undetectable and indelible watermarking services (recommended by LicenseQuote) provides an online marking and delivery service by Activated Content.  This makes it possible for copyright owners (i.e. publishers) to deliver unique transaction-registered master files to their end-user licensing clients.

Watermark includes end-user license and registration identity

The identity included on the registered watermark includes the name of the publisher, track name, buyers name and email, and a description field which can include additional info such as license Inquiry ID and any related data. This is used to cross-reference a unique master file delivery with a client’s specific license purchase contract terms.

Copyright and license infringement responsibility placed on end-user licensee

In essence this places the copyright ingringement responsiblity on the end-user licensee (license buyer), as it makes them accountable for any unauthorized copying or file sharing of the licensed master files. This also makes it possible for the publishers to monitor time limits (1 year, 3 years, etc.) or other usage scope or limits applied to the license terms.

Workflow of watermarked file delivery

The workflow to complete this watermarked transaction delivery is only a few steps as follows:
1. From the publisher’s store, client selects track, license usage and makes payment.  If paying with credit card, PayPal or on pre-approved account, this will be instant.
2. An automated notification is sent to the Publisher about the license purchase transaction which includes the Inquiry ID, track name, brand/artist name, buyer and company name, phone number and email address.
3. Publishers uses this information to select the purchased track master file in their Ruby account, selects the correct client from the contact (email) list, enters a short description message (e.g. the Inqiury ID), and clicks the Send button.
4. Within a few moments, usually about 2 – 3 minutes, the licensing client recives a message in their inbox with the track’s download link. Client simply clicks the download link which opens their download manager so they can save the licensed Master file on their computer hard drive or other storage device.

Process can be completed within hours or a few minutes

This whole process can happen within a few minutes, and unless the publisher is busy (eating or sleeping), can be completed within a reasonable time, for example, on same day or within less than a few hours.  While the client is waiting to recieve access to the delivered master file, he/she will have access to a high-quality temp dub, usually an MP3, or they can use the Free Evaluation (preview) file they already downloaded before the purchase.

Options for managing store based master files

Options for publishers linking to the Master files within their LicenseQuote account includes:
a) Using a short MP3 file with voiceover message thanking the client for their license purchase and giving them instructions to expect a download link to be delivered to their inbox within “x” amount of time.
b) Offer an MP3 temp dub (evaluation) file to be used temporarily (usually less than 1 business day) until they’ve recieved final delivery of their watermarked master file, usually in WAV or AIF/AIFF format.

Scanning files to detect registration identity

The Ruby account also offers an easy “scan” of files to check whom it was registered to, for example, if any unauthorized copying or file sharing is suspected or has been discovered across any medium including TV, radio, film or any kind of internet post or distributed usage. When any infringement is discovered, the indelible watermark provides positive proof of the registered end-user identity, terms of license and applicable usage restrictions.

Practice compares with software license registration

In practice this is the same concept, for example, as software companies protecting their products by embedding unique end-user registration marks on unique sales of copies to their clients. Hence, this kind of copyright security is now available to music industry copyright owners who until now have only been able to depend on the “honor system” which made it difficult to find errors or prove unauthorized copying and inappropriate license usage.


All around, this combination of the LicenseQuote music licensing service
combined with the online Ruby registration watermarking service, provides an excellent state-of-the-art solution for music licensing sales, copyright protection, delivery and management. When further combined with the use of audio watermarked preview files, it can literally solve all the current known problems of copyright infringement due to unauthorized copying and file sharing of the music sound recordings across virtually all digital formats.

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