This paper demonstrates how channel coding can improve the robustness of spatial image watermarks against signal distortion caused by lossy data compression such as the JPEG scheme by taking advantage of the properties of Gray code. Two error-correction coding (ECC) schemes are used here: One scheme, referred to as the vertical ECC (VECC), is to encode information bits in a pixel by error-correction coding where the Gray code is used to improve the performance. The other scheme, referred to as the horizontal ECC (HECC), is to encode information bits in an image plane. In watermarking, HECC generates a codeword representing watermark bits, and each bit of the codeword is encoded by VECC. Simple single-error-correcting block codes are used in VECC and HECC. Several experiments of these schemes were conducted on test images. The result demonstrates that the error-correcting performance of HECC just depends on that of VECC, and accordingly, HECC enhances the capability of VECC. Consequently, HECC with appropriate codes can achieve stronger robustness to JPEG—caused distortions than non-channel-coding watermarking schemes.
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