How to Copy
Protect Video Online
Videos displayed online from web pages are most vulnerable to
copy and download by all manner of apps that have been specially
designed to "download movies".
However there are some options for adding copy protection that
do not involve obfuscation or encryption of the video to prevent
it from being located from where it may be stored on a web site.
But before introducing two (2) most secure options, let's look
at the whole picture and all of the ways that a video displayed
online can be copied:
Some display options cannot be protected
- Right mouse click to "save as".
- Browser menu option for saving the page with all embedded
- Right mouse click to save the page with all embedded media.
- Highlighting by mouse select and copy-and-paste to the
- Click select by mouse and drag-and-drop to the desktop.
- Right mouse click to send attached to an email.
- Browser menu option for sending as an email attachment.
- Using screen capture software and recorders to copy video.
- Locating the download resource of media from view of source
- Using site and file grabbers to download media linked from a
- Using file grabbers to retrieve media from web browser
- Packet-sniffing to intercept page resources and passwords.
If you are providing direct links to either videos stored on a
web site or streamed so that the user can open and play them
using a generic desktop video player, then be advised that what
discussing here has no relevance because there is no opportunity
to intervene and control copy. That is, unless the video player
software is of custom designed for playing encrypted and domain
Secure desktop players are not relevant to this topic because
they fall into the realm of playing from CD. In fact
at the time of writing this article some custom secure players are
utilizing DRM but they are ineffective when it comes to
preventing the user from recording the video as it plays.
What this article is about is the display of video from web
pages. That is the video player code is embedded into the HTML
and no options are provided to play direct from the source. Only
when using embedded players can you have control over copy and
Using a copy protect plugin installed for popular web
- By using a copy protect plugin installed for popular web
- By using a custom web browser specially designed to protect
ArtistScope provides a CopySafe Service that is second to
none when it comes to preventing copy from all methods including
Print Screen and screen capture.
Protection was first released
in 1999 and it is supported on all Windows computers. Site
visitors can use their favorite web browser and to view
protected web pages, they can download and install
the plugin just like they would when encountering Flash for the
Using CopySafe Web to protect video
CopySafe Web is the most secure solution for displaying
encrypted images and it is the encrypted image that activates
the CopySafe plugin when it loads. Consequently any web page can
be protected by simply adding a small CopySafe encrypted image
and any media displayed on that page will also be protected
including video. To
apply CopySafe to a web page all one needs to do is add a few
lines of HTML.
However when you are protecting video, you need to be aware of
the fact that file grabbers can locate and download videos from
where they are stored on a web site by direct linking. So direct
linking is not recommended at all and the method of providing
the download to your embedded player should be via a media
Using a media server is most recommended to prevent direct
linking to your video resources. Media servers do not simply
provide a download because they "stream" the video data and at
regulated rates to better suit a user's internet connection thus
enhancing their experience by "buffering" to eliminate annoying
Note: When using the ASPS Web Reader it is not necessary to use
stream delivery because static download links cannot be
CopySafe is compatible with all types of web applications
CopySafe Web can be added to any web page regardless of which
programming language is used for the page. If you are
using a CMS and/or have limited HTML skills, ArtistScope
provides a variety of free modules for integrating CopySafe Web
with most popular CMS solutions:
Using a custom web browser specially designed to protect web media
The ideal solution for copy protecting web content is by not
using any of the popular web browsers at all, but instead using
a web browser that is specially designed to protect the content
that it displays. Such a web browser needs to display generic
web pages and media but without providing any options that can be
used to save, print and copy the page or download any
media displayed on that page.
Today there are a few custom web browsers available that claim to satisfy these requirements. Some are merely reskinned IE engines that still expose browser cache and some others have been designed to restrict some save and copy options. But the mistake that most custom browser developers are making is that they are trying to support all operating systems (OS) and that is where they fail because proper copy protection is not possible on Mac and Linux based OS.
The ArtistScope Site Protection System (ASPS)
The ASPS Web Reader is the most secure web browser on the planet
when it comes to protecting web page media and it is supported on all Windows OS since XP.
Unlike pretentious "secure" browsers, the
ASPS Web Reader protects all avenues:
Even when the page and media is on display in the web browser,
nothing can be copied in any way... that is, without using a
camera to take a photograph of the computer screen. The ASPS Web
Reader, short for
ArtistScope Site Protection System, is the most secure
web browser and the only web browser that can
effectively protect web page and media from all methods of copy
- Creates a secure tunnel between the web server and the
- Safe from packet sniffers even without the use of SSL.
- Web pages cannot be viewed by any other browser or
- Embedded media resources cannot be located in page source
- No content or code can be retrieved from web browser cache.
- All media is safe from file grabbers and downloaders.
- Protects all media without requiring that media to be
- Pages cannot be printed unless allowed by the
- Pages cannot be copied by using Print Screen to take a
- Pages and video cannot be screen recorded or captured.
- Absolutely no options for copy and save.
ASPS is a server to
browser solution that has been designed from end-to-end with
copy protection in mind. Web pages assigned for use by the ASPS
Web Reader are delivered in encrypted format from the server and
they can only be decrypted by the ASPS Web Reader, thus creating
a most secure tunnel between your site and your visitor.
Intercepting this page is useless as it cannot be deciphered
except by ASPS and it cannot be hacked.
ASPS is supported on all types of web servers
The ASPS filter can be installed on all Windows
servers/computers running IIS since XP and all Linux servers.
ASPS is supported in all types of CMS and web applications
ASPS encryption does not affect the web application or
programming language used to create web pages because it
encrypts and delivers the page after it has been assembled by
the server. So it doesn't matter if your website is based on
Sharepoint, PHP, ASP.Net, Classic ASP or good old static HTML.
Consequently any and all CMS applications like DotNetNuke,
Drupal, Joomla, Moodle and WordPress can be run from a ASPS
Preparing a website for ASPS
No special treatment like encryption or conversion is required
as the only preparation required is to add a line of HTML before
the page's DOCTYPE statement. So to protect pages you add this
tag and any pages not including that tag will not be protected
and redirected to open in the user's default web browser. This
way you can cerate doorway pages and leave sections of your site
accessible to normal browsers and then most securely protect
only those sections or pages that are critical to your mission.
Downloading and evaluating ASPS
The ASPS Web Reader can be
downloaded from their demo site. After download, simply
follow the links for "Guided Tour' to explore a variety of
different media that can be protected by ASPS.
Limitations and requirements
Contrary to what some "copy protect" developers claim, it is
impossible to prevent copy using client side scripting such as
plugin (by installing a custom software) that interacts with the computer at system level system
and "client-side" scripting does not nor ever will have the
permissions to operate at that level. Anyone making claims to
the contrary is preying on the user's and possibly their own
Today we have many different operating systems (OS), all of
which fall into distinct family types such as Windows, Linux,
Android, MacOS, etc. So designing a copy protection solution
becomes most difficult and while it might be possible to provide
plugins for all of these OS, in reality it is impossible because
most either cannot support proper copy protection or are too
unstable to survive a rollout, ie: by the time your user
upgrades to the latest update that OS will more than likely be
Why undermine web security for the sake of 5% of users?
Although Mac users may disagree (because they tend to use sites
recommended by other Mac users) usage logs from typical web
sites indicate that Windows users make up for about 92% of their
visitors. Of that remaining 8% only 5% are Mac users with the rest are made up of
odd OS, search engines and
So for the sake of 5% of your site's visitors, why settle for a
web browser that cannot be secure and cannot protect your media
from piracy and plagiarism. Is that the business model that you
want to invest in?
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