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Statement from Digimarc CEO, Riley McCormack, from the California State Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing on Assembly Bill 3211 - California Provenance, Authenticity and Watermarking Standards

April 24, 2024

Assembly Chair and Members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee:

The tools and technology to enable the key provisions in Assembly Bill (AB) 3211 exist and have been widely deployed for years—globally and on a massive scale. Moreover, those tools can be deployed to any device where digital content is created or displayed via familiar software delivery methods, including the common over-the-air updates with which we are all so familiar, allowing compliance with the provisions in AB3211 to be measured in months, not years.

I am the CEO of Digimarc, a product digitization company that pioneered digital watermarking technology nearly thirty years ago. The original application of our technology was to protect the copyrights of creators and inventors at the advent of another technology revolution: the internet. Since then, our technology has been deployed at a global scale many times over, by both the public and private sectors, to not only help ensure that the rights of creators and inventors are protected, but also to ensure the authenticity and trustworthiness of physical and digital assets worldwide.  Most notably, our technology has been trusted by a consortium of the world’s central banks to protect global currencies for 25 years.

Given our long history with digital watermarking across industries and sectors, we have proven insight into how this powerful technology could be applied to address the pressing issues upon which this Committee is focused. This would allow California to yet again lead the way on important global matters and ensure the delivery of the safer, fairer, and more authentic internet we all deserve.

Digimarc believes that the potential for innovation and growth offered by artificial intelligence (AI) is unrivaled, but the power of AI must also be regulated. If we fail to get it right, there will be serious ramifications for generations to come.

Leaders around the world have an important task ahead of them – finding the right balance to regulate an ever-evolving and revolutionary technology. Solutions like digital watermarking must be seized to both promote innovation and protect against misuse.

On behalf of everyone at Digimarc, I thank the Committee for the invitation to be here today. It is no surprise that the leaders in Sacramento are at the vanguard of this important conversation. I welcome and look forward to answering your questions.

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