Photoshop BS
January 8, 2004 7:23 AM   Subscribe

Photoshop BS - Photoshop CS blocks you from using, opening, or pasting certain images. Namely, this image.
posted by y6y6y6 (134 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I don't really mind it blocking hi-res images of money. Though low-res blocking seems silly.

But I don't have any doubt this will turn into a trend if people don't get pissed and make noise about it. How long will it be before Photoshop refuses to open copyrighted images? Will you need to pay a license fee to Disney before you open a photo you took of Mickey Mouse?

Corporations and government are working together to limit your freedom. Over the last few years our liberty and freedom haven't just been chipped away at, they've been slashed wholesale.

In America, right now:

- Citizens can be held without charge indefinitely and without right to council.
- Federal agents can view your private records without cause or oversight.
- Computer software/hardware is blocking you from exercising fair use.

Five years ago I would have expected this to lead to armed rioting in the streets. Why are we letting the government and corporate interests do this to us? Do we feel safer?
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:25 AM on January 8, 2004


This is very interesting to me. If Photoshop conspires to control what images we use, and/or for what purposes, then it means that there are a lot of people who are going to be looking for a replacement, and not just because they are using Photoshop on "the wrong side of the law".
posted by taz at 7:39 AM on January 8, 2004


I just want to take this opportunity to point out that Slashdot is impossible to read.

It's pretty foolish for Photoshop (Adobe) to go down this path. They are currently the market leader, but if they piss off enough people they open up the top spot to another company that doesn't get into the censorship business.
posted by Outlawyr at 7:40 AM on January 8, 2004


Why are we letting the government and corporate interests do this to us?

Because, as a society, we don't care anymore.

I don't mean to be flip about this, but we are bombarded by appeals every day, appeals to contribute to this cause, to buy this product, to use this service, to support this candidate. We spend our entire day sorting through these messages, and at the end of it, it's just easier to turn on the TV and let someone else make the decisions.

If lots of people are going to get angry about it, it has to be featured prominently and repeatedly in the media, in an easily-digestible format that makes them feel cheated. But it won't be featured that way in the media until lots of people are angry about it. And maybe not even then, since the media have an interest in curtailing this.
posted by rocketman at 7:41 AM on January 8, 2004


Is this confirmed? Or merely speculation?
posted by mischief at 7:44 AM on January 8, 2004


Paint Shop Pro 8 does this too. WTF? Here's the message I got trying to open that jpg file in PSP8:

"[!] This application does not support the unauthorized processing of banknote images. For more information, select the button below for Internet-based information on restrictions for copying and distributing banknote images or go to www.rulesforuse.org."
posted by AstroGuy at 7:48 AM on January 8, 2004


"Is this confirmed? Or merely speculation?"

Yep. Try it yourself if you have CS installed. You can use the linked image. I was going to try degrading the image to see at what level photoshop would stop blocking it. But I had to go to work. I'd love to hear what others are about to do with this.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:49 AM on January 8, 2004


Well, there goes my primary tool for practice in designing new money!
posted by Dick Paris at 7:55 AM on January 8, 2004


The way I feel about it is "there goes my primary tool for just about everything" - by the time it I feel the need to upgrade, I will probably go with the best alternative that is earnestly trying to fill in the space that Photoshop creates as it wanders down the path of serving a political tool instead of an artist's medium.
posted by taz at 8:02 AM on January 8, 2004


Welp... it won't be long before we aren't allow to edit images of homeless pedophiles backdooring little children. You're right y6-cubed... this country is going to hell. I mean how am I supposed to zoom in on that shit without photoshop? CHRIST! And now... NOW I can't even xerox a fuckin' 20? This is ludicrous.
posted by Witty at 8:03 AM on January 8, 2004


"But it won't be featured that way in the media until lots of people are angry about it."

Or just an effective leader takes up the issue. I don't think social movements happen so much because of popular ground swells that take on a life of their own. But rather they happen when an effective leader is able to marshal popular outrage.

But in today's America people are unwilling to step into that leadership role if it involves challenging the government.

This is the chilling effect of the Patriot Act. When we know people are being secretly jailed without charge, how likely are we to mess with the Secret Service? I think we care, but our fear counters that and we decide it's best to not cause problems.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:03 AM on January 8, 2004


There are hundreds of legitimate reasons a person might want to use a picture of a banknote, and there are dozens of other pieces of software they could use if they want to counterfeit one. This is a bizarre move by Adobe. I can't see any benefit to them at all.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 8:09 AM on January 8, 2004


sigh. im hoping there maybe some sort of crack that can override this? as for now most of us are still using old software anyway since the price is ungodly but, it all strikes me as funny as just a few days ago my boyfriend sat up all night constructing origami out of oversized global currency patterned paper that he made (yep) by scanning hi-res and printing from photoshop. it was for an annual report, as far as i know, not illegal. soon we will not be able to scan political leaders in fear of ugly parody or something. and honestly, if that new 20 is so irreproducible all with its special glowy ink and the like, isnt it now the vendor or banks own problems if they cant tell the difference from that and a photoshop printout?
posted by c at 8:11 AM on January 8, 2004


This is really lame and does make me wonder what's next. Since both photoshop and paintshop pro now do this, I'm guessing this was done at the request of the treasury department or other gov't entity. I can see this being considered an anti-terrorism measure because it prevents the counterfeiting of money, but this prevent fair use for parody.

There will be no more joke 3 dollar bills with Bill Clinton on the note, and fun pages like this will be impossible from now on.

Also, don't use Photoshop 7 anymore, only terrorists use Photoshop 7 since that seems to work fine.
posted by mathowie at 8:14 AM on January 8, 2004


Wouldn't it be very easy to circumvent this kind of thing by taking screenshots in a browser with the image partially obstructed, then stiching it back together in Photoshop?
posted by friedrice at 8:17 AM on January 8, 2004


Witty, this is exactly the point that I was trying to make earlier; one needn't be engaged in horrible practices in order to need certain editing or image access requirements; the image editing equivalent of a "Net-Nanny" is going to be chilling for almost every serious artist, and a whole lot of the rest of us. The serious people will be moving in hordes, I think, and right away; many if the rest of us will be following soon after.
posted by taz at 8:20 AM on January 8, 2004


"taking screenshots in a browser with the image partially obstructed, then stitching it back together in Photoshop?"

Apparently that gets blocked as well. You don't even need the whole bill for Photoshop to block it. That's one of the tests I'll be running on my lunch break - How much of the bill can try and paste in before Photoshop decides you might be a threat to the nation's money supply?
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:26 AM on January 8, 2004


I wonder what kind of algorithm Adobe uses to determine you are editing currency. If it's at all sophisticated it'd take an enormous amount of bloat to accomplish - pattern matching takes a lot of CPU power and there'd have to be an enormous database of potential images to match if it'd work on international currency. I'll stick to 7, thank you very much.
posted by TimeFactor at 8:26 AM on January 8, 2004


So, anyone have an idea how this works?

Does the program check every image you open to see if color, height, width, and pattern are within certain preset parameters of what appears to be currency? That's a big waste of computing power and probably prone to quite a bit of error.
posted by tippiedog at 8:28 AM on January 8, 2004


I opened the file in PS7, hid the layer, and it opened in CS just fine.

That's the quick-fix for rap album cover designers
posted by derbs at 8:28 AM on January 8, 2004


I open jpgs in ImageReady. So I downloaded the image, and it opened without comment in IR CS. Then I jumped from within IR to PS CS and it opened fine. Then I closed everything and opened the file from PS and only then did I get the message.
posted by sageleaf at 8:29 AM on January 8, 2004


Adobe fell off my list with the ebook affair. I've switched to the Gimp at home and relentless try to have my employer switch over too.

AFAIK, printing copies of bills is legal in the US as long as:

1. They're one-sided

2. Their size is either bellow 75% or above 150% the original.

But in this day and age it is best to simply screw the customer. Fair use your say? Follow me to the rectal probe room, sir.

posted by magullo at 8:32 AM on January 8, 2004


See here for the U.S. restrictions on use of images of currency.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:33 AM on January 8, 2004


man, how am i supposed to make rap CD covers now?!
seriously, what about ads for casinos? lottery games? car dealerships, banks, check-cashing stores, pawn shops...?

personally, i'd be happy to see the overuse of US currency (and the flag...) in advertising come to an end... but not because of this. this is just stupid.
posted by bhayes82 at 8:35 AM on January 8, 2004


taz and Pretty_Generic make an important point: that scanning currency at high resolution need not be for criminal purposes. It's really dangerous to go down the road of banning whole capabilities or processes simply because they could be misused. And several people have made the point that if our software can legitimately be engineered to prevent access to one type of image that might be used illegally, how many other types of images could it soon block by the same logic? - copyrighted images, pornographic images, etc. Yeah, this is Adobe trying to play the role of law enforcement by casting a very wide net. Quite unsettling. Okay, I haven't said anything that hasn't already been said in this thread, so...good job, mefi!
posted by Dasein at 8:36 AM on January 8, 2004


Thank goodness there are no old copies of Photoshop floating around!
posted by thirteen at 8:39 AM on January 8, 2004


Um, has anyone tried actually scanning a $20, or is everyone just opening that file? Because if it's just that you can't open that sample image, that's different. Also, has anyone tried scanning the other side of a bill?
posted by me3dia at 8:41 AM on January 8, 2004


I don't have either of the applications. Could somebody try inverting the colours of the image, inverting the image horizontally etc?
posted by substrate at 8:44 AM on January 8, 2004


Does Elements do this as well? I've been considering a purchase.
posted by Vidiot at 8:48 AM on January 8, 2004


from the Slashdot thread:
How it works (Score:5, Interesting)
by artemis67 (93453) on Thursday January 08, @09:28AM (#7914236)
(http://slashdot.org/)

This is a copy of a post on the Adobe forum, which is now slashdotted:
---
Markus G. Kuhn - 03:45am Jan 8, 2004 Pacific(#106 of 110)

How it works:

For those of you curious about how this algorithm detects a banknote, here is a slide of a short talk that I gave to our local research group soon after I discovered the "EURion Constellation" two years ago while experimenting with a new Xerox color photocopier and a 10 euro note:

http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/eurion.pdf [cam.ac.uk]

The algorithm looks in the blue channel of a color image for little circles and most likely examines the distance distribution encountered. I have discovered a small constellation of just five circles (a bit like Orion with the belt starts merged) that will be rejected by a Xerox color photocopier installed next door from here as a banknote. Black on white circles do not work.

These little yellow, green or orange 1 mm large circles have been on European banknotes for many years. I found them on German marks, British pounds and the euro notes. In the US, they showed up only very recently on the new 20$ bill. On some notes like the euro, the circles are blatantly obvious, whereas on others the artists carefully integrated them into their design. On the 20 pound note, they appear as "notes" in an unlikely short music score, in the old German 50 mark note, they are neatly embedded into the background pattern, and in the new 20 dollar bill, they are used as the 0 of all the yellow 20 number printed across the note. The constellation are probably detected by the fact that the squares of the distances of the circles are integer multiples of the smallest one.

I have later been told that this scheme was invented by Omron and that the circle patter also encodes the issuing bank.
posted by gwint at 8:53 AM on January 8, 2004


Wow, gwint, nice find. Scary/fascinating.
posted by Vidiot at 8:59 AM on January 8, 2004


Gwint, interesting and useful, thanks. So it isn't a brute force algorithm, which alleviates some of my concerns. I'm still sticking with 7 though.
posted by TimeFactor at 9:19 AM on January 8, 2004


This is what you get for using non-open source software.

Stick with the GIMP. It will *never* have problems like this, *ever*. And if it does, for less than the cost of photoshop (any version), you can pay a "hacker" to fix it.

Just stop using proprietary software. You really do get what you pay for (just inversely).

(Oh, BTW, the image edits just fine on Corel PhotoPaint 6. But then again, idiots from the graphics industry say that Corel doesn't "exist" as far as they're concerned [The idea "regular" joes could make a passable job with it scares them, I think]. They're wrong because I have proof it does [all the local media outlets, including newspapers and the phone book, provide support for exported corel draw files].)
posted by shepd at 9:21 AM on January 8, 2004


They're just making sure people don't take matters into their own hands.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:37 AM on January 8, 2004


How do they do this? [pdf]
posted by Fupped Duck at 9:38 AM on January 8, 2004


I see the pattern on the new Canadian ten dollar bill and was unable to scan one into CS.
posted by xiffix at 10:17 AM on January 8, 2004


Telling people to "stick with" GIMP when nobody is really using to begin with is a bit disingenuous. When GIMP gets an actual UI and professional-level features, then and only then will professionals consider it. Last time I checked, the program had no concept of spot colors, image resolution, color profiles, out-of-gamut detection, or even a CMYK mode. Not to mention the many kinds of layers and layer modes supported by Photoshop, multiple undo with history, and so on.

It is telling that the first actual instruction on how to use the program in the GIMP Official User's Handbook describes the program's default key bindings! The author things this is literally the first thing you should know about the program itself. Whaaa?

GIMP is currently about where Photoshop was in version 1.0. Give it another fifteen years or so, as Photoshop has had, and it may mature well enough to be useful. Of course, by that time, Photoshop will be fifteen years ahead of where it is now. And it will have been constantly developed by professionals who are good enough to be highly paid for their work, rather than by hobbyists and students who write code in their spare time. There's nothing wrong with being a hobbyist or a student, but let's get serious. Photoshop has a 15-year lead and is still being aggressively developed by Adobe, for whom it is bread and butter. You have no chance to survive make your time.
posted by kindall at 10:19 AM on January 8, 2004


I tried it out in Photoshop Elements 2.0 (the affordable version for mere mortals) and the image opens just fine.

I'm sure glad that the counterfeiters only use the most expensive programs on the market in their nefarious schemes.
posted by Argyle at 10:26 AM on January 8, 2004


here's a question:

How do crime movie folks handle making big ol' suitcases of money for movies?

I suppose they could just be stacks of paper with one real bill on top.. but.. hmm..
posted by twiggy at 10:35 AM on January 8, 2004


Has Adobe addressed this? Corel? Just curious and way too lazy to search.
posted by damnitkage at 10:42 AM on January 8, 2004


Paint Shop Pro does the same thing. Jasc has reportedly said that the "feature" was added at government request. Certain copiers have the same sort of algorithm as well.
posted by dejah420 at 11:06 AM on January 8, 2004


Open in Image Ready.

Import to PhotoShop.

Voici.
posted by the fire you left me at 11:31 AM on January 8, 2004


opened fine in photoshop elements on the mac.
posted by advil at 11:36 AM on January 8, 2004


Maybe if people would stop counterfeiting money, the gov't wouldn't have to resort to these tactics.
posted by drobot at 11:37 AM on January 8, 2004


i don't blame the government for the creation of this "feature"...instead i think is the fault of the american people and their blame game.

it's all about the blame, right? guns kill people, mcdonalds makes you fat, grand theft auto makes me steal cars, quake iii make the columbine kids go postal, eminem tells me to hate gays, and christina aguilera made me have sex before i was ready and now, photoshop breaks copyright law. i don't don't condone the government regulating my artistic freedom, but they're just following suit.

people need to take responsibility for their own actions.
posted by brock at 11:42 AM on January 8, 2004


These two pictures (1, 2) show the smallest chunks from these areas of the bill I could paste into Photoshop. Sections even a quarter inch larger would pop up the error warning.

An enlarged view of the corner section doesn't show the "constellation" of circles. Clearly the front doesn't look for the same pattern as the back (where the circles are). But I can't see anything else in there that it might be using for the match.

And since Photoshop 7 still open and prints the image fine, this entire countermeasure is pointless and stupid.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:10 PM on January 8, 2004


kindall: And it will have been constantly developed by professionals who are good enough to be highly paid for their work, rather than by hobbyists and students who write code in their spare time. There's nothing wrong with being a hobbyist or a student, but let's get serious.

Yeah, because those open source/free software/whatever you want to call them freaks never made anything worth using.

Good enough to get paid for their work, indeed. No need to get into the usual open vs. proprietary tiff here, though. Let's just all note that there's good stuff on both sides of the fence. Photoshop beats the GIMP, Apache beats IIS, and so on.

On preview: how is the government responsible for this feature? Obviously that's where the pressure is coming from, but shouldn't we be pissed at Adobe?
posted by amery at 12:16 PM on January 8, 2004


people need to take responsibility for their own actions.

Oh OK, you broke me down. It's my fault. But everybody else was counterfeiting!! (seriously brock, what are you saying? Your post is nonsensical.)
posted by jalexei at 12:18 PM on January 8, 2004


Yes, but does it recognize SCANNED IN COINS? a Loophole!

on the [nerd] note, there hasnt been any significant or neccessary improvement to photoshop since layers, history and the ability to type and edit fonts - and given the needs of anyone working in flat images, it's unlikely photoshop will ever be improved beyond that - so 5.5 is about as far as you need.

this is a hassle for working in OSX but you can always run classic and it should be fine.

Really, with the advent of layers in 2.0 (3.0?) photoshop became almost an unimprovable program. Everything else added on is just trim and neon - it's the basic development tools (sharpen, blur, dodge, burn) the really fantastic stuff (magic stamp, finger smudge, paths, halftone screens) - and history, type handling and layers that matter. All they've done since 5.0 is really move around the interface, like put the brushes in a different place. "Save for Web" was probably their last real improvement and that's almost five years old.

About the only improvement i can see photoshop improving on with future releases would be scaling of low-res images. if it could increase a low-res image to print quality size (without any image loss or pixelation) then it would be wonderful - and I think would be an amazing upgrade. To that point, i can understand the need to recognize money, even lo-res sizes, since you could just blow up a low-res file. i'm not for or against Adobe protecting itself and the world's economy here on that front. But if you're against their censor, you should be fine with a mac running 9.2 with photoshop 5.5 ... heck you could get a nice funny money machine out of a version as early as 3.0, really (especially with the gaussian blur and unsharp mask feature to undo moiree from scanning <- woo!, illegal tip!)

[/nerd]
posted by Peter H at 12:25 PM on January 8, 2004


Peter,

You forget the (near) infinite history mode. Photoshop's the only thing I know that lets you "rewind" with such flexibility. Even things like Office w/ their undo histories don't actually describe the inversions they're willing to create.
posted by effugas at 12:33 PM on January 8, 2004


The problem with gimp is that only programmers had anything to do with it. I doubt many artists and graphic designers had any input.

Programmers have little idea about what artists actually want. They usually hold them in contempt.
posted by nyxxxx at 12:41 PM on January 8, 2004


I am *really* surprised that this is the first discussions about this. I checked the forums at Adobe and I find Jan 3,
http://www.adobeforums.com/cgi-bin/webx?13@137.Bb1fbcakT1V.5@.2ccf29b6/0

This discussion mentions this article,
http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=CT&p_theme=ct&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_text_search-0=%22Computer%20AND%20technology%20AND%20spurs%20AND%20counterfeiting%20AND%20on%20AND%20Cape%22&s_dispstring=%22Computer%20technology%20spurs%20counterfeiting%20on%20Cape%22%20AND%20date(last%2030%20days)&p_field_date-0=YMD_date&p_params_date-0=date:B,E&p_text_date-0=-30qzD&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&xcal_useweights=no
I didn't want to pay $2.95, so that's as far as I got.

This is such a sneaky move by Adobe. Cripple the software for what? Counterfiters could use an old version and they will find a way around it. They probably pirate the software anyway. The end result is that legitimate users are penalized. I only see this as a knee jerk move by Adobe.

Maybe this is the crack in the dam that will open the gates for a completive software solution?
posted by xtian at 12:48 PM on January 8, 2004


effugas - not sure, but hasn't History been around since 5.0? I'm not aware of that feature being improved beyond that, but if it has that's very cool - i'll look into that. I think the main argument is "will future versions allow you to make better images" - and the answer is, in my opinion, other than improving scaled images, "nope" - ya know?

Photoshop is actually a very 'for the people' program, in terms of distributing it to people (or organizations, etc) who can't afford copies. Old versions run clean, all versions save out a universal "psd" file that can usually be read backwards-and-forwards compatible, and there arent any 'dongles' or whatever you call those to installing stolen copies.

Even if Photoshop changes this flexibility in future releases, the tens of millions of copies of other photoshop versions will still be on the planet, making their rounds. And it really doesn't matter what version you have beyond 2.0, yip!
posted by Peter H at 12:48 PM on January 8, 2004


"there hasn't been any significant or necessary improvement to photoshop since layers"

This isn't even close to being true. The additions in CS alone were huge for me. Being able to do 16 bit masks, and the highlights dialog have vastly changed my workflow. If the new features from 4 to 8 haven't had an impact on the way you create and manage bitmap graphics then that means *you* don't need Photoshop. Which has nothing to do with whether there have been significant improvements. However, I do need Photoshop and the new features have made my life much easier.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:52 PM on January 8, 2004


Two easy solutions to solve the problem ... don't upgrade beyond PS6 (had no problem opening it with that one) or Paintshop Pro 7 ... or even better, save the image to your computer as a bmp rather than jpg. Had no problems opening it in PSP or PS that way.
posted by Orb at 12:54 PM on January 8, 2004


You'll note, amery, that the examples you linked to are all server-type and development-type things geeks want for themselves. They don't need to worry about UI on these types of things since they are their own market. Open source works great for duplicating these sorts of programs. (And that's what they're doing -- none of the flagship open-source programs are anything but derivative of other software.) However, as a development methodology, it falls flat when the developers and the end users are not the same group, as it is developer-driven rather than end-user driven.

One of the funniest things I ever saw was Eric Raymond standing in front of a room full of Mac developers and suggesting they use The GIMP instead of Photoshop. Everyone in the room laughed at him. Everyone. Then they took up a collection to buy him an iBook, so he could see what UI was really about. He later reported this as "they liked me so much, they bought me an iBook." Oblivious.

Back to the topic at hand, it seems that this behavior applies only to the new bill designs that have the protection watermark. You can thus use the old bill designs in Photoshop to your heart's content. These are still recognizably money for purposes of advertising or whatever. Admittedly, this is more of a problem with the Euro, which is a new currency that had the protection from the beginning.

BTW, after I mentioned to my fellow geeks that our fancy color copier probably couldn't copy the new bills, they insisted on trying it. Our machine (a Savin) did copy the bills, but with a yellow background that made them obvious copies.

The protection watermark can't be that complicated if Photoshop is checking for it every time you open a file or paste into a document. I predict people are going to start randomly putting it in images that aren't currency just to futz with Photoshop users.
posted by kindall at 12:56 PM on January 8, 2004


true enough y6y6y6 - i mean less about workflow, and more about the creation of images. was really my point. (enjoying this thread, btw, nerd up!)

i have an ongoing debate with people that computer programs will eventually be like sound equipment or automobiles. some people prefer old to new, and feel they run better, in fact. with adobe products, photoshop and illustrator are like that. i'm sure people will refer to the late 90s versions of these programs with the same regard people give analog synthesizers to digital, and such. there's just a quality to those versions, in a way. uncluttered, especially Illustrator.

not trying to argue, tho. but truthfully, in terms of making an image, there's nothing you can do with new photoshop that you can't with earlier ones. different workflow? yes. but compared to other programs that change dramatically (flash, after effects, etc) photoshop doesnt change much. was all my point. power to the people! go! make your money!! bling!
posted by Peter H at 1:01 PM on January 8, 2004


"shouldn't we be pissed at Adobe?"

What we should be pissed about is that Adobe is so cosy with thew FBI. With this and the eBook fiasco (perhaps the first prosecution under the DMCA) we're seeing that Adobe sees it's customers as part of the problem rather than part of the community. These instances make Adobe look very much like a stooge of the justice department.

A precedent has been set. Now we just need to see which freedom Adobe will be undermining next.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:09 PM on January 8, 2004


jalexei,

i am just pointing out that this a society wide issue. the beginning of this discussion blames the patriot act, etc. i am just trying to say that i think we as a REACTIONARY people have bigger problems. blaming the government is another symptom. make sense now?
posted by brock at 1:11 PM on January 8, 2004


incidentally, i'd just like to add the ugly gradient on the new U.S. currency looks like it was done with Kai's Power Tools.
posted by Peter H at 1:13 PM on January 8, 2004


"I predict people are going to start randomly putting it in images that aren't currency just to futz with Photoshop users."

Holy shit.......... That's one I hadn't thought of.

Once the pattern match is figured out you'll be able to that pattern in any image and Photoshop won't be able to open it. And not a section of the bill, just the pattern itself. if this is really as simple as having a certain arrangement of circles, then it would be easy to create that on a layer and hide it in just about anything.

What Adobe has effectively done is prevent me from opening *any* image that the creator didn't want me to have access to in Photoshop CS.
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:17 PM on January 8, 2004


What Adobe has effectively done is prevent me from opening *any* image that the creator didn't want me to have access to in Photoshop CS.

Which means they'll have to change how it works, or remove the feature entirely, or perhaps (when the watermark is detected) do some additional analysis on the image to see if it really is money, or something.
posted by kindall at 1:21 PM on January 8, 2004


Adobe sees it's customers as part of the problem rather than part of the community

Some of them are part of the problem. That's the problem.
posted by kindall at 1:22 PM on January 8, 2004


Five years ago I would have expected this to lead to armed rioting in the streets. Why are we letting the government and corporate interests do this to us? Do we feel safer?

just shut up, or there'll be no matrix IV...
posted by quonsar at 1:46 PM on January 8, 2004


What Adobe has effectively done is prevent me from opening *any* image that the creator didn't want me to have access to in Photoshop CS.

Not really. As soon as the author puts those circles in his image, wouldn't photoshop cs immediately prevent work on that file? Including saving the file with those images in it?
posted by braksandwich at 1:50 PM on January 8, 2004


What Adobe has effectively done is prevent me from opening *any* image that the creator didn't want me to have access to in Photoshop CS.

Not really. As soon as the author puts those circles in his image, wouldn't photoshop cs immediately prevent work on that file? Including saving the file with those images in it?


These are really interesting issues. As soon as a software maker adds unannounced "features" like this to their product, many unintended results may (will?) follow. I'm very interested to see if folks come up with hacks to utilize this technology with their own images.
posted by gwint at 2:03 PM on January 8, 2004


just shut up, or there'll be no matrix IV...

There already is, but it's only playing in a few states so far.
posted by homunculus at 2:15 PM on January 8, 2004


if it could increase a low-res image to print quality size (without any image loss or pixelation) then it would be wonderful

As would be flying pigs and lossless compression of generic data.

Computer, enhance!
posted by cortex at 2:40 PM on January 8, 2004


Aren't these features are already in "Photoshop CIA"?

Not really. As soon as the author puts those circles in his image, wouldn't photoshop cs immediately prevent work on that file? Including saving the file with those images in it?

Use PS7 or Gimp to add the EURions.

This is going to be fun :)
posted by Mitheral at 3:03 PM on January 8, 2004


I already hate Adobe because of the eBook bulls*it, but now I have to start hating Jasc as well.

Seriously, tho' - how long before there's a crack available?
Or how long until the russians start making image editing programs?
posted by spazzm at 3:04 PM on January 8, 2004


y6y6y6---I must be missing something here. The image you link to isn't hi-res, it's 72. Furthermore, it's clearly marked (in red) "specimen." So why would any PhotoShop program care if you printed it? (I just play in PS but all three of the versions I've got running (4.0, 5.0, 5.5) brought that 72 image up with no dire warning such as you claim.) May I suggest that you've been had by a scare tactic---and that simply scanning a $20 would NOT bring up the same warning...?

I still haven't seen a real PEACH $20 but---when I do, I'll try scanning it---when I can dig my scanner out from under two years of e-mail. Don't hold your breath.

By the way, am I having fever dreams, or is Andrew Jackson looking more and more like Dubya.... Ew. Please tell me it's fever dreams.
posted by realjanetkagan at 3:08 PM on January 8, 2004


Well so it looks like nobody is trying it right now..otherwise you would have written about it.


So I was scanning an euro note (disclaimer, not for making false money but for the purpose of testing Photoshop PS "feature") and PS pops up a windows asking you to visit
http://www.rulesforuse.org

Also according to some user on slashdot some magazine is already carrying watermarks on the pictures which trigger PS 8 on MacOSx into protection mode, only allowing users to resize the scanned image but no more.

This is so stupid. So incredibly stupid attempt of security trought obscurity (not telling the customer the software is crippled) that will backfire bigtime on the companies adopting such an approach of making crippleware.

For instace, as somebody before in this thread suggested, once the procedure to make any image look like a note is figured out and reproduced on normal images that will literally throw Adobe Photoshop CS out-of-the-market or any other software doing that ; for the simple reason that if any other software without this "feauture" exists I'd rather buy that then a software I know it's half-assed.

And btw, if I'm making copies of notes just for the hell of it because I'm a frigging freak who likes to make copies of notes, BUT I'm not distributing any fake notes to anybody why are they punishing this strange habit of mine ?

And leaving the notes "thing" aside , let's talk about magazine: when I buy a magazine I expect to be able to make copies of it, this time for real backup purposes or for making myself an electronic library of images or texts I like. Now if the photo is watermarked I can't use PhotoShop CS, so I'll have to use something else ; bye bye Adobe you just lost one -legitimate- customer thanks to your senile approach to problems.
posted by elpapacito at 3:13 PM on January 8, 2004


kindall: Good points. This is really why I get so tired of fanatics in the open vs. closed software debate. Though I like open code, I also like to use the best tool for the job.

Back on topic. What interests me most about issues like this is that they show how conventional (read: stereotypical) conceptions of "conservative" and "liberal" are broken. The idea that we should blame the user rather than the tool is most often associated with (conventional/stereotypical) conservative arguments, the most famous being the "guns don't kill people, people do" cliche. Yet in situations like these, the call from (conventional/stereotypical) conservatives is to target the tool, not the user.

All of which makes me think that "liberal" and "conservative" aren't that illuminating as ideological markers.

Okay. So that wasn't really on topic.

Oh, this is. And it's pithy, too. One thing I want out of an image editor is the ability to edit images. Regardless of what the image is. Any logic that dictates that I therefore want to a) counterfeit money, or b) edit my limitless collection of child pornography is bad logic.
posted by amery at 3:19 PM on January 8, 2004


i am just trying to say that i think we as a REACTIONARY people have bigger problems. blaming the government is another symptom. make sense now?

Yes and no - I agree with the gist of your statement; I'm not sure if I agree it applies to this situation, but thank you for clarifying.
posted by jalexei at 3:19 PM on January 8, 2004


I for one, am immediately returning my copy of Adobe CS back to the FTP warez site I downloaded it from. For shame, Adobe, for shame.
posted by Stan Chin at 3:27 PM on January 8, 2004


I thought I had posted this but I guess I forgot. Since the details of the watermarks it looks for are more or less published it'd be easy for someplace like Fark to poison their Photoshop competitions so that Photoshop actually can't be used. Also a script could be written that embeds these watermarks on top of other images to batch process a website for instance. In effect you're using this capability to cripple Photoshop in certain circumstances. Maybe if there was a concerted effort this could be used to force Adobe to push back against the government over this asinine idea, assuming it is the government.
posted by substrate at 3:39 PM on January 8, 2004


"So why would any PhotoShop program care if you printed it?"

That's the point. It shouldn't.

"May I suggest that you've been had by a scare tactic"

May I suggest that you don't have Photoshop CS? May I suggest that you haven't tried opening it in that version? The version that we're talking about?
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:39 PM on January 8, 2004


I'm just dying to know how this really works, but I guess it's proprietry and we'll never know.

Anyone who can afford Adobe Photoshop and expect to make enough profit from the work they do in it to pay for it should use Photoshop. Professional artists / designers, whom the price tag is aimed at.

Anyone who doesn't use Photoshop to make money - the millions of casual users who picked up a pirate copy off a friend and use it once a week to muck with family photos - can do everything they would ever want to do in The Gimp.
posted by Jimbob at 3:41 PM on January 8, 2004


substrate: exactly what I tought. But reaction from Adobe ?
They're losing market as we speak expecially from customers that don't expect their editing software to dictate what can be edited and what can not. And by the way Fupped duck already posted the link (PDF) to the scheme so it's only matter of time and will.
posted by elpapacito at 3:51 PM on January 8, 2004


The International ramifications of this are kind of curious. As a US citizen, I don't think I'm bound by foreign currency law, am I? Its already funny money here, right? And the laws designed to trap counterfeiters only apply to -local- money, yeah?

What weirds me out is that -both- PSP and Photoshop now include this feature. Did they decide that this would give them market edge or did Someone give them a good Talking To? And what's with this photocopying business? Why do the copier companies care?

Obviously one can cite "societal good", but is there some clause regulating tools that might possibly be used in the counterfeit process?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 4:14 PM on January 8, 2004


Origami art piece by origami art piece, the US government/Adobe will systematically dismantle every last freedom we cherish.
posted by shoos at 4:30 PM on January 8, 2004


I find it odd that John Ashcroft is on record as being staunchly in opposition to gun control. But image editing programs must be hobbled.

Guns don't kill people. Bitmap manipulation kills people.

[/hyperbole]
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:39 PM on January 8, 2004


I'll go on record as saying that Corel PhotoPaint is easily Photoshop's equal. I don't believe there's anything PS does that CPP doesn't, and there are things CPP does that PS doesn't.

Or so's been my experience.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:35 PM on January 8, 2004


PSP wouldn't let me open it, but Irfanview would. It also let me reset the DPI so that the bill didn't match the size of a real bill. Then it opened in PSP. Still don't know about printing it at actual size.
posted by dogwelder at 5:44 PM on January 8, 2004


nope. can't print it in psp. I guess I'd have to scan a bill with irfanview, adjust the scal, edit the bill in psp, save the image, go back to irfanview, resize and print it there...
posted by dogwelder at 5:47 PM on January 8, 2004


Let's hope the details of the watermarks remain a nationally guarded secret. Worn as camouflage by terrorists, they could circumvent every security camera (and printer) and every facial recognition device that Big Brother's got, and then indeed the terrorists will have won.
posted by hypnorich at 6:08 PM on January 8, 2004


Anyone who doesn't use Photoshop to make money

Hah.
posted by kindall at 8:33 PM on January 8, 2004


Evildoers who bought this item also bought these items:

Microsoft Flight Simulator
posted by homunculus at 9:01 PM on January 8, 2004


I find it odd that John Ashcroft is on record as being staunchly in opposition to gun control. But image editing programs must be hobbled.

I find it odd how the USA PATRIOT Act is ok, but... National Gun Registration is paving the road to tyranny. I mean, what are the odds something like that would useful in an investigation?
posted by mcsweetie at 9:41 PM on January 8, 2004


Crazy. I opened the note up in PSP7, pixel resized it 4x, copied it, pasted that into PSP 8, no problems, resized it to 25%, and then it chucked the wobbly. Bizarre. I wonder if Australian notes do the same thing...

Anyone who doesn't use Photoshop to make money - the millions of casual users who picked up a pirate copy off a friend and use it once a week to muck with family photos - can do everything they would ever want to do in The Gimp.

In theory, yes, but that would entail casual Joe learning how to negotiate the awkward interface in a hurry. Open source needs more decent UI designers.
posted by GrahamVM at 10:23 PM on January 8, 2004


grahamvm- it just won't let you work with an image set to print at actual money size. It would have also balked at you trying to print your 4x normal size image at 25%.
posted by dogwelder at 11:50 PM on January 8, 2004


There is the opinion that the government is responsible. There is nothing that the goverment could have on Adobe to make them do this. This is like some trick I'd expect from Microsoft. It's completely the decision of Adobe to add this spy-ware into photoshop.

This still is America. I'm surprised we havent heard from an Adobe Photoshop progrmmer speaking out on this story. I find this so disturbing that I find it hard to believe that employees at Adobe could keep this a secret. Where will it end?
kiddie porn?
photos of movie stars?

What better way to get mucho traffic to your programming blog then to dish on goons in black suits breaking all your #2 pencils?
posted by xtian at 12:36 AM on January 9, 2004


Ask and receive. After reading new Metafilter posts I scanned Slashdot for new responses. Here is a word from someone at Adobe.

at slashdot:
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=91981&threshold=1&commentsort=0&tid=152&mode=thread&cid=7925947
and here:
http://www.adobeforums.com/cgi-bin/webx?14@190.iklMbGUvTNf.5@.2ccf3d27/269

This is my favorite quote so far:
"Counterfeiting is really a special case in which we could see how our own technology advances were making it easier to commit crimes and we were asked to implement a solution that would have minimal impact on honest customers."
(>_<)
posted by xtian at 12:52 AM on January 9, 2004


To those saying the GIMP needs to get a clue or two:

CinePaint, a variation of GIMP (also freely available for Linux, Win & Mac machines) was used in the production of:

Fast 2 Furious
Scooby-Doo
Harry Potter
Stuart Little
& other feature films.

I ain't paying 169$+ for a pretty UI, and apparently I'm not the only one.

/Wanna skip Premiere too? Use Zwei Stein instead. Also freely available, also sporting an intensely ugly interface, and also capable of kicking serious ass
posted by magullo at 12:54 AM on January 9, 2004


y6y6y6 - Do you run screaming like a little girl whenever you see a spider? I haven't seen anyone overreact like this in a while.

It's as simple as this. Denying a person the ability to open and manipulate an image of U.S.. currency might be an amateur move on the part of the U.S Gov't, but it helps to keep the amateur out of the counterfeiting business. It helps keeping some dude from "giving it a try"... you know, scanning it, enhancing it (or whatever), and printing it. On some decent paper, a 20 dollar bill printed by a fairly decent printer (available at Kinko's) can be darned convincing... if just long enough to pass a few hundred bucks at some local convenience stores. It wasn't meant to keep the big-timers from doing so.

This slippery slope argument (and all the "my rights" bullshit) is par for the course with some of you folks. There isn't the slightest bit of evidence or reason to believe that any of it will come to light. Worry about the images you're supposed to be working on (if that's what you do) and forget about the fact that you can't use Photoshop to start your home-counterfeiting business.

Where will it end?
kiddie porn?
photos of movie stars?


Laughable.
posted by Witty at 1:06 AM on January 9, 2004


Witty: but surely this is a slippery slope. There's a very thin wedge between this and Microsoft Word interrupting us with "you appear to be writing an extortion letter", or the RIAA demanding a plug-in that searches for album covers. Once Adobe have started down the content moderation road, I'm not sure there's much they can do to stop and go the other way ...
posted by bwerdmuller at 2:41 AM on January 9, 2004


Witty blathered:
>Where will it end?
>kiddie porn?
>photos of movie stars?

Laughable.


Just as stupid as the idea that drawings of children could be prosecuted as child pornography, even though no actual child was ever involved. Hoo-haa, how laughable -- oh, wait . . .
posted by wdpeck at 2:55 AM on January 9, 2004


Of course, in the US of course, it's utterly legal to scan and edit a bill. You can even (gasp) print one (as long as it's small enough or large enough). I think of the huge ad for the new $20 bill in Times Square, and ponder, "I guess they didn't use Photoshop for that".
posted by skynxnex at 3:22 AM on January 9, 2004


Once Adobe have started down the content moderation road, I'm not sure there's much they can do to stop and go the other way ...

Well, they've apparently started down that road. Let's see where it in fact leads! I'm scared.
posted by shoos at 4:08 AM on January 9, 2004


CinePaint, a variation of GIMP (also freely available for Linux, Win & Mac machines) was used in the production of:

Fast 2 Furious
Scooby-Doo
Harry Potter
Stuart Little
& other feature films.


On the other hand, maybe a slippery slope on this isn't such a bad thing.
posted by GrahamVM at 5:45 AM on January 9, 2004


I'll go on record as saying that Corel PhotoPaint is easily Photoshop's equal. I don't believe there's anything PS does that CPP doesn't, and there are things CPP does that PS doesn't.

Whenever these cats and dogs discussions pop up (Mac vs PC, Linux vs Windows, Gimp/CPP vs Photoshop, etc.), people tend to make uniformed statements because they know one platform better than the other one. The only person with a valuable opinion about Photoshop vs. CPP (or Gimp) is someone who uses BOTH regularly -- and also someone who uses them both regularly for print, web and video work.

For instance, as far as I know, Photoshop CS is the only still image editor that can process non-square pixel images. Print and web designers couldn't care less, but to video people, this is HUGE.

I may be wrong about Photoshop being the only app that does this (though I'm pretty sure I'm right), because though I've used all of the apps mentioned, I don't have as much familiarity with CPP and Gimp as I do with Photoshop. So I'd never say one app is better than the others. I'm not qualified to do so.

Since each of these apps have some unique features, even if you knew them all intimately, you couldn't definitively say that one was superior. Each one is superior for different people in different workflows.

Now, to the issue at hand: I'm pretty freaked out by this development. I don't care too much about the politics and I don't plan to scan any currency, but I hate the fact that Adobe has made it easy for people to create non-currency images that can't be opened in Photoshop.

Someone suggested that no one would do this, because then they couldn't open up their OWN image in PS or save it out of PS. But those people will just save a un-watermarked source file and use a (soon to be developed) third-party tool to do the watermarking. The third-party tool will let them save out with the watermark.

I don't think it's likely that this issue will hurt sales of Photoshop (as some people have been suggesting). It would take a monumental feat to topple PS's supremacy in the graphics market. It sells so well that Adobe barely markets it.
posted by grumblebee at 6:06 AM on January 9, 2004


Uk £20 & £10 notes too. Incredible.
posted by punilux at 6:09 AM on January 9, 2004


More weirdness.

I'm playing around with how much of a crop will set off the detection algorithm. I can create a very small chunk that will set off the algorithm if I try and copy it to the clipboard. But that same chunk saved out as a jpg will open fine. Bigger chunks won't open. So the algorithm seems different deprnding on what action your using. Also what format. Sometimes a psd file will open, but the same thing as a jpg won't.

And I haven't figured out how to use one one those chunks to prevent opening other images in Photoshop without being *ver* obvious. For example, this image won't open in Photoshop CS.

It seems to work as a percentage of the picture. So if I paste that same chunk into a larger image it won't trip the algorithm and the picture opens.

The upshot of this is that Photoshop is doing a large chunk of processing everytime you open an image to see if it's got pieces of money pasted into it.

Nice feature.
posted by y6y6y6 at 6:12 AM on January 9, 2004


wdpeck - Just as stupid as the idea that drawings of children could be prosecuted as child pornography, even though no actual child was ever involved. Hoo-haa, how laughable -- oh, wait . . .

How does that even relate to the Photoshop issue? Child pornography is illegal. If they want to interpret drawings of child pornography as being just as illegal, then fine (or not fine). But what does that have to do with this topic?

How is it possible, even in theory, for an image editing program to recognize images of child porn or pictures of Brad Pitt, when the variances and possibilities are countless? That IS laughable. Maybe in the future long after you're dead. The motives for both cases, the two I just mentioned and the issue of currency, aren't even related. Therefore suggesting that one will lead to another makes no sense. You, and others, are just freaking out because that what some of you do on this site.
posted by Witty at 6:33 AM on January 9, 2004


Is anyone else playing around with this and trying to figure out what the algorithm does? It seems pretty obvious to me that it's doing a pattern match on the front. But I'm confused as to how that might be working. I can get around the algorithm by altering two pixels. But it doesn't seem to make much differnce which two pixels. One will almost never get it past, but two alsmost always will.

But this seems impossible since I'm already using a degraded, resized jpeg image.

What am I missing here?

And I can't find the circles mentioned in the pdf linked above on the front of the bill. Either in the blue channel or any other.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:02 AM on January 9, 2004


thank heaven we have Witty to set us straight with regard to reality. man, i am *so* freaking out.

j'ever notice how poopy is but Witty isn't?
posted by quonsar at 7:06 AM on January 9, 2004


"Not really. As soon as the author puts those circles in his image, wouldn't photoshop cs immediately prevent work on that file? Including saving the file with those images in it?"

Oddly, no. If you can get the image into Photoshop (either through Imageready or creating a psd somewhere else with a layer hiding the bill) you can do most anything to it, including saving it out. The most bizarre manifestation of this is that if I select the whole bill and hit control-c, Photoshop baulks. But If I try and save the image it doesn't mind at all.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:16 AM on January 9, 2004


xtian: thanks for the links !

The "unofficial" answer sucks..

The CDS was created by a consortium of central banks from around the world

We, along with other hardware and software manufacturers, have included CDS in our products at their request to address the threat posed by the use of digital technologies in the counterfeiting of banknotes

"3. Adobe's intentions: Please be assured that this implementation of CDS is not a step down the road towards Adobe becoming "Big Brother."

"Moreover, the CDS is not Adobe technology, but was provided by the central banks, who would have no reason to want to restrict anything other than bank notes"


So basically Adobe crippled their own products for the heroic purpose of not letting a few users use PhotoShop CS to make copies of notes. Next RIAA will ask them to do the same for Audio, MPAA for video. And sooner or later some coalition for morality will ask them to censon porn I think ?

I wonder when and if the pointy haired bosses in Adobe will realize they're kicking themselves out of their own
market. Oh yeah sorry...never :)
posted by elpapacito at 7:26 AM on January 9, 2004


I'm sorry for disagreeing with you and the majority of the members in this thread quonsar. My bad. I haven't noticed how poopy poopy is... but I have noticed how often you like to make "jokes" about my username. They're always so funny too. But I wouldn't expect anything less from you... funny guy/gal/both. Go fuck yourself.

y6y6y6 - Do you put this much effort into your real job (assuming you have one)?
posted by Witty at 7:51 AM on January 9, 2004


One of the things that bugs me is how futile this is. It might stop a casual user from printing up some money on a lark, but I can't believe that's really a problem for the banks who requested this.

Anyone who's doing this seriously will always be able to use Gimp (which is even free). And anyone who isn't serious is going to get caught very quickly.

This is dumb. Abode knows that, but they did it anyway. Why?

The thing that makes more sense is that Adobe likes the idea of having a legitimate reason to start including image blocking technology into their products. If any company can pay Adobe a fee to block certain things, then this opens up a great new revenue stream for them. Let's say Starbucks is tired of people screwing with their logo. No problem. For 10 million dollars Abobe will block that image unless you pay a licensing fee.

As I said at the top of this thread, I don't have a problem with them blocking hi-res currency images. Seems stupid, but it doesn't hurt me. What bothers me is that it's so silly, yet it points to non-silly and very bad things.

Once the policy and code is in place to block images, both governments and corporations will be pressuring Adobe to block things they think need to be blocked. I can't see any logical reason why this would be a one time thing.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:14 AM on January 9, 2004


And I heard from someone that is a big deal at her work place. Sure, there are hoops they can jump through. But why?

Why should software cripple legitimate features just because someone else *might* use it for something bad?
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:43 AM on January 9, 2004


Please y6y6y6, if you find anymore, post it here. This is the most interesting thread in a long time.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:04 AM on January 9, 2004


Forgive me, too many comments to read them all. I am amazed this seems "news" to you all. I discovered this when the Euro came out. I wanted to scan some hi-res just to get a closer look. I had to use an obscure program to supervise the scanner.
posted by Goofyy at 9:19 AM on January 9, 2004


Hmmm... wonder if I can start adding that sequence to the pictures out company is convinced it can stop people opening... ;)
posted by twine42 at 9:21 AM on January 9, 2004


If it is detecting patterns of circles, like the post above, how does that detect the front of the US 20? The back does have a nice field of "20"'s with the zeros being perfect circles, on the far left and right sides. I don't see the same on the front though.
posted by smackfu at 9:23 AM on January 9, 2004


Running through the Slashdot thread it's obvious this detection system is rather buggy. About 25% of people trying this by scanning in a bill and opening it in Photoshop are saying the image opens fine. But that could be user error. Personally I've never had it even come close to opening a full bill image.

And I'm going to play with the circles tonight and see if I can use just those to block images from opening.

For those joining the party late - The front isn't using the circles as a detection aid. And I haven't found any source that knows what it is using.

And you can paste a small section of a bill into a larger image to keep other from opening the image in PS CS. I have such as image linked above.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:51 AM on January 9, 2004


The scariest thing about Witty is that he is representative of a very large number of people who don't understand that small restrictions of freedom inevitably grow to larger and larger restrictions. It's the nature of the beast.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:59 AM on January 9, 2004


Also, through Digimarc Photoshop already has a way to look for imperceptible patterns in images and alert users as to copyright.

It seems like an obvious step to allow Digimarc tagged images to blocked or (more likely) only available to people who pay a license fee. Adobe could make a lot of money by making companies register so that Photoshop would be able to charge for use.

A couple people have reported that they've tried scanning hi-res ads into Photoshop and it's blocked them from doing much with the image. But this seems to be confusion over 16 bit vs 8 bits images.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:35 AM on January 9, 2004


I was going to respond to comment by Witty that this *discussion* is over reacting to the reality of what Adobe is doing to consumers. Then Witty opend his mouth and erased any doubt I had that he is a putz.

I have noticed how often you like to make "jokes" about my username. They're always so funny too. But I wouldn't expect anything less from you... funny guy/gal/both. Go fuck yourself.

Im not for jumping in to someone elses fight, but keep the swearing to you keyboard. yuck

Anywayyyyy,
I wanted to second the question by y6y6y6
"This is dumb. Abode knows that, but they did it anyway. Why?"

THat's what I want to know. This smacks of Microsoft and we know how much attention Microsoft gets from that negative publicity. Maybe Adobe is trying to use the "rule of thumb" on consumers.

Get ready, here is another fantasy situation: the new registration scheme by Adobe will require net activation. Why not add this feature to the CFD? If a user scans an image of money they get logged into the central database at The Treasury Department! Big Brother!

Is this so fantastic? We now have fingerprint registration of foreigners at airports. And what has this system found? Credit card fugitives! This is just an example of software that is too smart for the end user: the consumer.

If Adobe wants to give the software for free, then they can put in any restrictions they want, otherwise, get out of my home, office, get out of my computer. That's American.

posted by xtian at 12:51 PM on January 9, 2004


I'm curious about how this works.

If I want to make a document in the style of U.S. currency using a font like LTR Federal, would it set off the counterfeit alarm? Perhaps it might be livable, but still: Adobe is infringing on our own rights to edit what we want with our own tools without The Man telling us we can't.
posted by Down10 at 1:52 PM on January 9, 2004


It has nothing at all to do with the circles, the algorithm is a "statistical likelihood" algorithm attempting to match regions of the image to certain known values. Upper left and lower right segments have much greater likelihood of causing watermark detection.

Oh, and hue shifts have remarkable effects, particularly on small segments.

--Dan
posted by effugas at 3:24 PM on January 9, 2004


You state that with such authority, effugas-dan, and so contrary to Fupped Duck's link that explains the circle pattern so well.

Whom are we to believe?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:00 PM on January 9, 2004


I'm still scared. There was a knock on my door today, but I wouldn't dare answer it. I'm hoping Asscroft (heh heh) and his flunkies fell for it. I'm with you guys. You start letting Adobe block manipulating images of money and, hell, the next thing they're doing is shipping you off to some labor camp! You know the domino nature of these things. Laters!
posted by shoos at 6:05 PM on January 9, 2004


I think a lot of non-Americans are witnessing the domino nature of these things. I hope we're learning from it, and prevent the downfall of our own countries.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:46 PM on January 9, 2004


fish--

A fair enough observation. Well, I guess I can say I sort of "do" alot of work with security, but that'd just be pulling rank. So let me explain where I'm coming from.

So there's a classic quote from Mencken -- "For every question there is an answer that is obvious, simple, and wrong." The EURion constellation was plausible. It seemed to be a consistent element of money across many governments that was being underutilized; simply by adding the quick check algorithm already used by color copiers, graphics apps could constrain themselves. What's been repeatedly noticed by people, however, is that patterns of dots are really easy to copy, like, with a sharpie. I was actually really excited about EURion. The plan was to put it on a T-shirt and just walk around places where people were taking photos (well, more accurately show it was possible. It would be kinda neat to say 'This shirt is money.) It would be a good illustration of why absolute constraints are generally disastrous.

Only problem was, once I actually got my hands on the evaluation build of Paint Shop Pro, it became clear:

The circles just weren't necessary to trigger the detection algorithm. In fact, of the three bills on the sample PDF, only the Euro would show up as currency. The other two -- replete with their intercircular relationships -- got through just fine. Further analysis showed that it was high frequency elements of bills (zones of rapid change between bright and dark) were consistently the most likely to cause the "oracle" (as an undocumented filter is referred to as) to return failure.

Of course, I've been here before. This was a clear sign of a watermark algorithm; much like fingerprints are represented logically as a series of ~80 key "points" where whorls and ridges intersect and diverge, the system was behaving like it had specific knowledge of certain patterns of high frequency noise, and was matching every large scale image transform against a library of verboten prints.

The precise algorithm is as of yet unknown. One thing we can tell noticably -- the algorithm is quite resilient against rotation, and less so against scaling. Hue shifts (which do not affect brightness/luminosity) are not as effective as once considered.

All warping -- perspective, distortion and otherwise -- is brutal to the algorithm. Stirmark, a standard tool for stressing watermark algorithms through subtle warpage, utterly destroys the functionality of the algorithm. Check out the collection of bills pics here. Of course, this process won't fool automated readers, which I now suspect are the targets of this protection algorithm. Change machines are probably the easiest things to trick into accepting faulty bills, because their failure modes can be tested offline just by "acquiring" (through means legit or otherwise) a test environment.

I assume people are already tearing the algorithm out of PSP and PS; it'll be interesting to see what's used. I expect eventually a fingerprint spoof mechanism will be designed...kind of funny, if you think about it. Most watermark work involves making the mark hard to eliminate. Not only does this involve keeping the print, it involves transfering it additively to new documents. Interesting.


--Dan
posted by effugas at 10:11 PM on January 9, 2004


Update. Incoming PPM files (format for stirmark; like BMP) are not checked by Paint Shop Pro. Incoming JPEG files are. Either that, or the tolerances are set much differently based on the incoming file format.

That's really, REALLY interesting, especially considering incoming images are usually uncompressed like PPM's are.

This could concievably be because JPEG destroys detail that stirmark destroyed. Really interesting. Anyway, bill1 and bill7's jpegs still get through.

--Dan
posted by effugas at 10:42 PM on January 9, 2004


The scariest thing about Witty is that he is representative of a very large number of people...

...and we are so powerful. We like to call ourselves Average Americans. You may have heard of us mentioned on MeFi before.

...who don't understand that small restrictions of freedom inevitably grow to larger and larger restrictions. It's the nature of the beast.

Just because you say it, doesn't make it true.

--Dan
posted by Witty at 12:31 AM on January 10, 2004


Witty-- Touche. Very witty.
posted by effugas at 12:48 AM on January 10, 2004


Everyone in the room laughed at him. Everyone.

Heh. ESR needs a shower
posted by shadow45 at 9:17 AM on January 10, 2004


effugas, great page. the paketto stuff has got me hooked! been in my bookmarks under Research & Tools for months now :)
posted by shadow45 at 10:04 AM on January 10, 2004


"...who don't understand that small restrictions of freedom inevitably grow to larger and larger restrictions. It's the nature of the beast."

Just because you say it, doesn't make it true.


I think there is evidence aplenty that restrictions of freedom -- especially those restrictions enacted by government -- are seldom lifted, and often further extended. I challenge you to prove me wrong.

Nice job on the "Dan" tagline, though! Very amusing.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:39 AM on January 10, 2004


I think what Witty is trying to say is that the average american doesn't know that small restrictions of freedom inevitably grow to larger and larger restrictions. which, if true, sucks.
posted by mcsweetie at 6:40 PM on January 11, 2004


Prohibition?

I'm just saying that I don't see the drastic slippery slope in this issue that others here are suggesting.
posted by Witty at 4:35 PM on January 12, 2004


it's worse than i feared


posted by Peter H at 11:44 AM on January 29, 2004


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