Protecting video source

14 replies

I'm creating a membership website where the members can view videos online. However, my client requested if it is possible to hide the source of the video so that it doesn't show the source.

Is there a way to do it? I'm using WordPress for my client.
#protecting #source #video
  • Profile picture of the author Jack Hunter
    You cannot hide source. You also cannot protect that video from being ripped.

    You can put it in members only area and require password to access it directly, you can name videos with bunch of random strings so its not obvious to go from video1 to video2, and you can perhaps make it harder for very ignorant people to find source, but there are simple tools and even free plugins for browsers that will just tell people what it is without them even investing effort.
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  • Profile picture of the author mikefashen
    Sort of there is. Optimize press does a good job of this. However someone with enough skill can still find the video source if they are inclined.

    Stop trying and start DOING

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  • Profile picture of the author MrAndMrs
    I was just researching this topic recently and found this helpful info on

    "There is no way to completely prevent online video from being stolen. If it can be viewed on a computer it can be stolen. The best you can do is make it hard for thieves and minimize the number of times the video is stolen. You can't stop it completely. Many people struggle to accept this fact but it's the truth so get used to it.

    As for how you make it hard for thieves, there are various options depending on the way your video is presented. Let's start at the beginning, using the most basic types of video presentation and then move on to more complex and better solutions.

    Progressive Download Files
    If you're using a simple embedded media player such as Windows Media or Quicktime to play a file via progressive download, you don't have much protection. The user only has to look at the HTML code to see the location of the video file and access it directly. There are a few things you can do to make it harder for the thief:

    1. Place the embedding code in an external JavaScript file (which also has the advantage of fixing the "Click to activate" problem). This places the file's location a little further away from the HTML but it's still easy enough to find.
    2. Write the JavaScript code in such a way that it's not immediately obvious where the file is (e.g. split up the location into different variables spread throughout the code, or reference variables from other JavaScript files used elsewhere in the web page). This way the thief would need some knowledge of JavaScript to find the location.
    3. A better option is to use Flash video. This way you can create a SWF file as the video player and have the video file location hidden inside the SWF file.

    Unfortunately, even if you completely hide the video file location from the thief, all progressive download video still has one significant problem: The file is always downloaded to the user's computer. All the thief has to do is find the file on their hard drive (e.g. in their temporary internet files folder). That's why this delivery method is inherently open to theft.

    Streaming Video Files
    If you want any real level of protection you need to use a true streaming server. The big advantage here is that the file is not actually downloaded to the user's computer—it is seen only as a real-time stream and there is no file left on the user's hard drive.

    Streaming video provides fairly good protection. It will stop most casual thieves dead—only those with determination and a bit of technical understanding will continue to try and steal the video.

    The most common method of stealing streaming video is to use a video stream capture tool. This is an application that captures a video stream and saves it as a file. This type of theft is extremely difficult to guard against. Although there may be some defences, e.g. denying access to known capture utilities, this level of defence starts to become a losing battle. A thief who is dedicated enough to use a stream capture utility is probably dedicated enough to do whatever it takes to get the video.

    Even if the thief can't capture the stream directly, they can always use a screen capture utility. This is an application that captures whatever is displayed on screen. They can define a certain area or window (i.e. the video screen), play the video and tell the utility to capture it. There really isn't much you can do to fight this, but even if you could.

    The best and most practical way to stop theft is to use a streaming server. Trying to add any more protection is probably not worth the effort."
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  • Profile picture of the author Slade556
    If someone really wants to find your source, they will. Making it harder is just a small obstacle for them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sid Hale
    Hi Joseph,

    Originally Posted by Joseph Then View Post

    I'm creating a membership website where the members can view videos online. However, my client requested if it is possible to hide the source of the video so that it doesn't show the source.
    I think what you're asking is whether the URL of the video file can be hidden in some way, so that the URL cannot be shared with others.

    Unfortunately, the video player needs that URL in order to retrieve the video file into the player. On the surface, a catch-22.

    The Amazon S3 service provides for dynamic URLs to be used on protected files. The dynamic URL requires server side code (i.e. a Wordpress plugin) to be used to generate a new dynamic URL each time the file is needed and it can be set to expire very quickly after it is first clicked (think 5-10 seconds).

    These features effectively prevent the re-use of the URL so it cannot be shared with someone else.

    Additionally, streaming the video (rather than downloading it) as mentioned earlier by MrAndMrs is recommended so that your members don't get a copy of the video downloaded to their local machine.

    Sid Hale
    Coming Soon... Rapid Action Profits (Pro)

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  • Profile picture of the author Humbee360
    As mentioned by other posters there is no 100 percent effective method of totally protecting your video source. . .

    When viewed in a browser the video file is present in the browser or better stated, available to the browser player, additionally there are tools that can (capture) the video as it plays, (screen video) you can obfuscate, using various methods.

    The most secure method is to encapsulate, the video source, inside a secure source object, something that cannot be seen by the browser, there are a few things that can be done, using a particular type of plugin could be effective in reducing the chances of someone ripping the video.

    But they could still do a screen video.

    Overall I think its likely not worth the additional cost.

    Amazon has a few things that might help (mentioned earlier also)

    I would focus on providing great video content because you know that you can't totally prevent it.
    "Everything goes where attention flows..."
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  • Profile picture of the author aire
    Well, There is a way ( sort of ). Ofcoruse, anyone with some programming skills and download it but most people won't be able to.

    Basically, you create a temporary URL using session.
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  • Profile picture of the author hassan007
    Originally Posted by Joseph Then View Post


    I'm creating a membership website where the members can view videos online. However, my client requested if it is possible to hide the source of the video so that it doesn't show the source.

    Is there a way to do it? I'm using WordPress for my client.
    A streaming server can help you with this issue... It will provide video as a stream which leave no footprints of video source...

    On some research I have found that Wowza has got a good name in streaming but you are free to search for this online: "Best Video Streaming Server Online"

    However be sure to check if you are using Windows or Linux hosting...
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  • Profile picture of the author David Keith
    While you should do what you can to mitigate theft, your best solution is to watermark the video in some way with a logo or something. That gives you some benefit even when the videos are stolen and used on someone else's site.

    Totally preventing digital piracy is just not possible, so you must look for way to limit the damage.
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    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
      Originally Posted by David Keith View Post

      watermark the video in some way with a logo or something.
      That can be covered-up in 30 seconds in Camtasia and replaced with anything.

      Cheers. - Frank
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      • Profile picture of the author David Keith
        Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post

        That can be covered-up in 30 seconds in Camtasia and replaced with anything.

        Cheers. - Frank
        of course it can...just like none of these methods are fool proof. your content will be stolen. its just a matter of taking reasonable steps to make it more difficult and less attractive to do.

        but many who steal content are very lazy and wont even bother to be honest...thats why they steal instead of create themselves.

        also, when you are scrubbing leaves tell-tell signs on the videos that many automated dmca tracking software setups can track down. its actually quite easy to track thee guys down if you are so compelled. you scrub the watermark off videos i make and i have no doubt it can be spotted with automated software.

        also, watermarks dont even have to be visible to the naked eye for tracking purposes to catch thieves. they just have to be there and i can tell my software where to look for them

        i have a good bit of experience doing it with cam girls trying to protect their content.
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        • Profile picture of the author DanielBlue
          From what I have seen easyvideosuite together with S3 hides the URL. So to get the video you have to record it. To record a video you need software and time (recording and rendering). It's a good protection because this people don't want to spend time. Also the software is pricey.
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  • Profile picture of the author spearce000
    Having an https server and only allowing access from a members' only area is the best way to stop an opportunist thief. On the other hand (in my experience) some clients like to the ability to download a video to their hard drive for offline viewing, and to keep a reference copy in case the site goes bust. Giving this option can actually be an advantage.

    Tell your client not to worry too much about video theft. It doesn't happen as often as people think.
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  • Profile picture of the author lunaBEAM
    This is not possible. All web is open web.
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