This paper proposes a novel method for content-based watermarking based on feature points of an image. At each feature point, the watermark is embedded after scale normalization according to the local characteristic scale. Characteristic scale is the maximum scale of the scale-space representation of an image at the feature point. By binding watermarking with the local characteristics of an image, resilience against affine transformations can be obtained easily. Experimental results show that the proposed method is robust against various image processing steps including affine transformations, cropping, filtering and JPEG compression. (C) 2004 Pattern Recognition Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.