Five leading consumer electronics companies said they are pooling their efforts to develop digital watermarking technology that will protect digital movies and videos from piracy. Such technology, which has been in the works since 1997, is critical for entertainment companies that want to deliver their content over the Internet without risking massive copyright infringement. Last year, IBM and NEC began working together on one watermark technology, while Hitachi, Pioneer Electronic and Sony jointly pursued a different approach. The five companies will combine to form the Galaxy group. Their only remaining rival for creating a watermark technology standard will be a group comprising Philips Electronics, Macrovision and Digimarc. The industry is expected to select a single technology this summer.