The Nielsen Company and Digimarc Corp. have teamed on a new service designed to let media companies and other clients monitor how content is distributed on the Internet. (Full disclosure: The Nielsen Company owns Billboard.)

The Nielsen Digital Media Manager uses digital watermarking and fingerprinting technology from Digimarc to track the content. Initially, the service will focus on videos. The company says 95% of all national TV programming subscribing to its rating service already carries watermarks.

It expects to work with the industry to add watermarks to DVDs, movies, music, videogames and other content in later phases of the program.

In addition to tracking, the program also aims to ensure copyright compliance by allowing participating social networks and P2P sites the ability to either filter or limit how user-generated content is used on their services.

Like other fingerprinting and watermarking technologies, the program could be used to identify when content owners should be compensated for the use of their work. Content owners and the related services will have to work out their own business arrangements, however.