How to Copy Protect Video and Movies

ArtistScope provides different solutions for protecting movies and video to cater for the ultimate end use. The solutions provided by ArtistScope have been designed to provide the most secure protection and they have evolved from user experience since 1998. Consequently these solutions are extremely effective and incomparable to other offerings. The first point to note is that these solutions are not available for amusement devices such as mobile phones, and that is because the Operating Systems (OS) that they use cannot support proper DRM or real copy protection. However most ArtistScope solutions are for Windows OS only and no compromise can be made that lessens the effectiveness that our clients depend upon.

Why Copy Protection Is Necessary

Video is popular entertainment. Everyone wants to watch video but no-one wants to pay for it so piracy is rife with an epidemic lack of respect for copyright or the livelihoods of those who worked to create that video.

Consequently the means of obtaining video are plentiful. In their plight to be popular, browser makers have provided every means at their disposal for saving and copying video online. Also, too many software developers include video grabbers and capture tools as promotional gifts. Consequently, the avenues for obtaining and/or pirating video online are numerous and every author/distributor needs to be aware of the points of vulnerability:

Video Piracy

Producing full feature films can cost millions of dollars. Even simple tutorials can cost several hundred dollars to produce. They can be distributed on a per sale basis or as part of a training course, providing access on a per user basis, without the right to copy or redistribute.

But that is not the way it works in the real world, and anything not protected is considered fair game by everyone, preferring to not only enjoy video for free and illegally, but claim such piracy as their god given right. No-one cares about the video producers earning a living or even recouping costs. The only  solution is to copy protect the video in such a way that it cannot be shared or copied.

Unauthorized Sharing

Sharing and unauthorized distribution is made possible when a video is not protected by secure DRM to properly restrict who can view the video. Bandwidth theft is the term that describes the illegal linking to graphic images on another site. Usernames and passwords can be shared, so only by using computer identification can an author be sure that only the intended viewer is allowed. DRM employed by pseudo copy protect solutions can only differentiate by network address can change each time a user connects to the Internet and will be different between LAN, Modem and Wi-Fi connections. Consequently network addresses are next to useless to use for DRM and impossible to use when viewing offline.

It is only when using an ArtistScope algorithm based on computer hard drive serial number can computer identification be unique, consistent and impossible to exploit. Using Computer ID as the defining factor between users, ArtistScope can provide the most secure DRM for both online and offline viewing.


All content displayed on a computer screen can be captured and downloaded to a viewer's computer by simply pressing the PrintScreen button on the keyboard. By doing this, a snapshot of the whole or part of the screen is captured at the user's monitor resolution, usually 72 to 96 dots per inch (dpi). When captured at such resolution, the images are suitable for use in any computer project and at no less quality than the original. By using ASPS or CopySafe software PrintScreen and screen capture can be prevented.

Screen Recording

Screen recording software, although useful as design tools for legitimate intentions, can also be used to record on-screen video and animations without the authorization or knowledge of the author. By using ASPS or CopySafe solutions screen recording can be prevented.

Unauthorized Linking

The very nature of the language of web pages means most content on the web can be linked to from another web site. Such unauthorized linking occurs when a user links to your video and displays it within a frameset on their their web page without your consent.

The result of such action is that the unauthorized user is giving the appearance that the legal owner of the image consents to this link and is endorsing the activities of that site.

By using ASPS they cannot get the links that you use. When using CopySafe Web links cannot be protected because the HTML in he web page source code is not encrypted, but by streaming the video via a "media server" instead of using normal resource links, can protect the source of your video.

Spider and Grab Utilities

File grabbers can spider all links on a page to retrieve a list of all connected pages and the media locations on them. On an unprotected website this means that the user can gain a list every item on your website, save them to disk and use them without even visiting your website.

'Grab' programs are also available that will locate and download all the files in a folder to which it is directed. This means that everything from your Applets and Java class files to your original images can be downloaded and utilized on the illegal user's website. By using ASPS the links and media locations cannot be found.

Popular Web Browsers

Popular web browsers like Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and others have always been a hindrance to copy protection because in their plight to be popular, they have exposed web page content to exploitation, plagiarism and breaches of Copyright by purposely providing tools and functions for copy and save in every possible way. And today they are most useless because they cannot be used at all where real copy protection is applied. As of late 2015 none of the popular web browsers support real plugins that can interact at system level where is where copy protection needs to be actioned. Instead they only support "surface" apps based on HTML and JavaScript which which is prevented from system level control.

But the ArtisBrowser still supports real plugins and it was specially designed to protect web content. ArtisBrowser is the only web browser recommended for copy protected web pages, maximized privacy and data security.

Breach of Copyright

Copyright notices are too readily ignored.

Videos that are uploaded to the web with a copyright notice attached can still be copied or manipulated by an unauthorized user without the consent of the owner of the video. Even when a video owner notices a copyright breach, the difficulty of working in international jurisdictions means few video owners could police every breach of copyright.

The only way a copyright owner can limit their exposure to such breaches is to convert their video to a different format that can be protected while viewed in a proprietary viewer.

Who Needs Copy Protection?

Anyone who creates content that is then displayed or distributed on the web can use an ArtistScope solution to protect their intellectual property rights from being compromised. Remember that copy protection protects livelihoods.

Kinds Of Copy Protection For Video

Depending on the media and scenario, different solutions are available from ArtistScope.

How To Copy Protect Video Viewed Online

Please see the ArtistScope Site Protection Software (ASPS) as it is the most secure solution for copy protecting web pages and all media. Via the ArtisBrowser pages cannot be saved, copied or exploited in any way, and when SSL is used packet sniffers are left with no clue.

ASPS does not include DRM because most sites already use a CMS solution for the creation of their pages. CMS usually already include sophisticated login features that can easily be modified to include computer validation. The ArtisBrowser can report the user's computer ID so that it can be recorded by the CMS and used to prevent shared logins. The ArtistScope DRM plugin is now available for WordPress and Moodle.

CopySafe Video provides online viewing of video embedded on web pages. Safe from all copy the ArtisBrowser is required for online viewing. CMS plugins are available for DNN, Drupal, Joomla, Moodle and WordPress.

How to copy protect live video stream

How To Copy Protect Video Viewed Offline

Please see ArtistScope Portable Media (APM) which can be used to package and encrypt any type of media that can be displayed on web pages. APM runs on the user's computer as a mini web server so that web pages can be displayed while offline. Then you can use a copy protection solution that best suits the media being displayed. In the case of video you can use CopySafe Web to protect pages and their content from copy.

To further protect the APM archive from sharing, DRM can be applied via Tokens that the user can download while online, enabling them to later view the APM archive while offline. Once tokens have been collected for all APM archives the user no longer has a need to use an Internet connection to explore your APM archives.

CopySafe Video provides DRM to prevent sharing and can be used both online and offline via the use of special token files. Safe from all copy the CopySafe Video Player is required for desktop viewing.

Security Of Video Online Versus Desktop Reading

Too many people think that media displayed online can be more secure because the user doesn't download them to their computer. But that is wrong because in both scenarios (viewing online and on the desktop), requires that the media be downloaded and saved to the user's computer. Computers "retrieve" data and read locally. The only difference is that with desktop reading the user gets to save media to a folder location of their own choice, while when viewing online the media is saved to their web browser's cache folder. This is why so many movie downloaders and recorders are successful as they extract the movie from that browser cache while you are playing it.

Now that that misconception is out of the way, lets look at how copy protection can apply in each case.

As the developers of the most secure copy protection solutions for both scenarios and from the feedback that we get from hundreds of clients using those solutions, we can tell you that the professional choice and the most secure option is to publish for desktop reading with DRM applied. Why? Because when it comes down to access rights management, ie: who has your permission to view your media, then our DRM protection is very much more secure because it locks accounts to their individual computer/s, thus preventing them from sharing their access privileges. Also, video owners have total control over all aspects with immediate effect... they can alter or cancel permission with immediate effect, even while the video might already be saved to the user's computer or still out in the wild in disk. When publishing video on web pages, user access controls are usually limited to login permissions governed by your website CMS, whether it be WordPress, Moodle, etc where there is nothing to prevent user's from sharing their login and password with others.

Video quality is important and when considering that higher quality videos can result in much larger file sizes, playing them on the desktop after downloading them can be much more enjoyable than suffering the buffering problems caused by laggy and slow Internet connections. Even if the online video can be buffered, the user's experience can be limited by congestion on their internet service and on your end from your web server. Also, with desktop viewing the user only needs to download the video once, whereas with online viewing they may have to download it every time that they start playing it.

Bandwidth is a huge concern. Again, desktop viewing involves one download whereas online reading can involve repeated downloads, and if you have a lot of subscribers the bandwidth allowed by your web site can easily be exceeded, after which throttling can come into play resulting is very slow downloads. If you are paying per MB then you should be shopping for the cheapest alternative for some where to host the video files. Amazon and other Cloud services can be most economical, but remember that this is for video and unlike "downloads", online viewing is a "streaming" scenario in which "media servers" are recommended to better cater for video rates based on the user's connectivity.

So what are the options again?

CopySafe Video Protection uses encrypted video that can be distributed for desktop viewing with DRM or displayed on your web pages. CopySafe Videos can be hosted anywhere while domain restrictions allow that video to be displayed on your website only. Copysafe Video can be displayed on any website and plugins are available for WordPress, Moodle, DNN, Drupal and Joomla. By "any website" we mean that it can be used on shared hosting servers, where hundreds of sites may be sharing a server.

If you have dedicated or virtual server, then the ArtistScope Site Protection Software (ASPS) may be better because then you can copy protect all media without requiring encryption, enabling you to display normal MP4 via HTML5 video players.