An implementation of a technology is described herein that facilitates rights enforcement of digital goods using watermarks. More particularly, it is a fingerprinting technology for protecting digital goods by detecting collusion as a malicious attack and identifying the participating colluders. If a digital pirate breaks one client and enables this client to avoid watermark detection, all content (both marked/protected an unmarked/free) can be played as unmarked only on that particular client. However, to enable other clients to play content as unmarked, the digital pirate needs to collude the extracted detection keys from many clients in order to create content that can evade watermark detection on all clients. The described implementation significantly improves collusion resistance through a fingerprinting mechanism that can identify the members of a malicious coalition even when their numbers are several orders of magnitude greater than what conventional collusion-protection schemes can accomplish. However, in this scenario each member of the malicious coalition leaves a fingerprint in every digital good from which the estimated watermark is subtracted. Thus, like a burglar without gloves, the digital pirate leaves her fingerprints only when she commits a crime. This abstract itself is not intended to limit the scope of this patent. The scope of the present invention is pointed out in the appending claims.
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