Copyright protection and forensics of bootleg museum images

Start date

01 January 2011

End date

30 June 2014


A current threat to the Intellectual Property and Copyrighted Material held by museums is bootleg images, taken by visitors in the museum using standard handheld cameras, and subsequently published on the Internet. With the rapidly increasing quality and storage capacity of consumer-range equipment the impact of the threat is increasing. The legal and moral basis is that a photo taken of a possession (picture or artefact) of the museum is also a possession of the museum. Watermarking is already used on electronic images produced by the museum, but can obviously not be applied on unauthorised photos taken by visitors. Further research is needed to find additional controls.

The aim of the project is to develop robust and efficient feature extraction algorithms for identifying bootlegged museum images put on the internet. The main challenge is that the algorithm should be able to search through a large number of images, which are taken from very different views and in various illumination conditions. Techniques developed in image processing and computational intelligence will be employed to address the challenge.

Funding amount





  • Intellas UK Ltd