Methods, Products For Stoping Copying Your Videos

Sitepoint Members,
What are some solid ways to stop people and businesses from copying videos you made youself?



Cease and desist letters to the perp and if that doesn’t work DMCA’s to their web host and/or the search engines.

I mean to prevent people from copying it. Sorry.


The only way to prevent anyone copying something from the web is not to publish it on the web. If that wasn’t true, don’t you imagine that Rock Stars, News Networks, and Movie production companies would make sure that their products were not subject to copyright infringement?

I was hoping there would be a product that’s the gold standard for preventing videos from being copied.
I finally found a phrase on youtube that found software that prevents videos fro being copied, although probably not on youtube.

What do you think of these?



I find it odd that both links rely on you-tube videos rather than sharing an example of their software. Before I bought either, I would certainly do a search for product reviews at a credible source. I’m skeptical. It seems to me that with either application, you go through a lot of extra trouble for a not guranteed result. Another big concern I have is that just about anything you do to “protect” something on a web page will, in some way or other, degrade the User Experience and I’m pretty old-fashioned when it comes to how to treat your potential customers. You never intentionally do something that might keep them from using their browsers in a normal fashion. (Although, since neither application had examples, exactly how they work remains to be seen.)

I’d also be a lot more comfortable if they had some high-end clients such as Getty or Corbel. However, I know that neither of these rights managers use any type of image protecting software.The business of their legal departments is evidence of that.

Yet, I am far from expert when it comes to programming. Let’s see what others have to say.


Other than that, there is no software to protect your videos or images, once they’re published.


The software “solutions” you mention make it harder for the content to get to honest clients, by adding extremely flawed extra layers. As such, you’re loosing more legitimate business in the process, more than you gain by trying to minimize pirating by using them.

The first time I wrote the word “youtube” I meant to write “google”. I’ll have to write the video copy protect companies and see what they say.



@itmitică ; What makes you say “by adding extremely flawed extra layers”. Have you been programming copy protect software ?


I believe he’s referring to the fact that most copy protection ATTEMPTS consume more bandwidth, make the videos harder to use, quite often prevent a great deal of people from even being able to access them in the first place – and to be brutally frank, a 14 year old script kiddy can bash aside like it wasn’t even there.

As has been said, copy protection over the Internet and on computers in general DOES NOT WORK, or even properly exist. There are lots of scam artists out there who claim it does and will take your money, but as Shyflower said the only real way to prevent it is to not put your video online in the first place. You don’t want it copied, that’s your option.

There are methods that can kind-of slow down ‘normal people’; HTML 5 video is not one of them. HTML 5 video offers no attempts at DRM whatsoever, which is why you’ll never see places like Netflix or Hulu using it. Hulu uses flash, which does offers some DRM - Netflix uses silverlight, which offers a great deal more, but in both cases you can either intercept the data stream or simply ‘record from screen’ with certain utilities.

Just look at normal software to see how pointless even TRYING to copy protect things are; Microsoft sank big bucks into “windows genuine advantage” and using SLIC hardware to verify certain hardware was ‘sold with windows’; what was supposed to be the security net ended up being the security hole with faking slic tables or using slic emulating boot loaders, so Windows 7’s copy protection is a joke. In the game software world there are copy protection packages like Starforce, Securom, FADE, Tages, etc, etc… you know how many PC games it took more than a week for a “proper” crack to arrive on? ONE. Deus Ex 3. You know to date how many games for PC remain copy protected with no crack for them? ZERO.

In many cases, even with legal copies of the game the copy protection prevents playing or causes gameplay issues. I encountered this on Bioshock and Skyrim – I had to crack games I actually legally bought just to play them, because their copy protection was throwing a wobbly over my hardware.

As such, the ‘flawed layers of protection’ as Mitica called it, would without the efforts of crackers have prevented me from even using them! It’s a waste of the developers money, it’s a waste of our money since the cost of developing these systems is transmitted to legitimate owners, and it inconveniences legitimate owners while NOT inconveniencing the majority of people who pirate!

… and that’s games and OS – actual software. Video is just a data file reliant entirely upon the player – so that’s even HARDER to secure that an actual program. In order for it to play on the users machine the code to decrypt it must be present on said machine, and if it’s on the end users machine; decrypting and making a copy is possible.

Easy too, since in most cases you have some teenagers or college age crackers sitting around doing the work for ‘joe sixpack’ and thanks to the Internet easily able to share their findings with the world. The free flow of information allows entire groups to work together and for people who lack the skills to crack themselves, to simply use their favorite search engine and grab some malware ridden pre-built method for doing it.

Copy protection and DRM are a myth, that have been repeatedly slapped aside as if they weren’t even there. It’s a waste of money, time and effort to even TRY. Doesn’t mean ignorant investors and corporate weasels won’t endlessly throw money at it though. It’s a bit like door locks and alarms on a car, it keeps the honest people honest but someone who knows what they’re doing all you’ve done is added a ten second delay at best.

You are going to need a solution that revolves around “DRM” Digital Rights Management. That means you are going to need a special server, and a player either in Flash or Silverlight. For example, information concerning Silverlight and DRM:

I’m sure Adobe has their own documents concerning Flash and DRM.

Eitherway, the servers for the licensing are not cheap even by thrid-parties.

Maybe I should scale back my interest in copy protection. How about just making it difficult for people to copy. The tips on a yahoo page sound like pretty good ideas.
Do not post content on file sharing websites
File a copyright for your online video
Do not give users the option to embed your online video
Consider the usage terms of an online video host before posting your content



The tips you posted are good tips, but none of them will keep a dedicated thief from copying your video. And remember, the more difficult you make it to copy, the more difficult you make it for many users to view.

I was reading on npr that the creator of funniest home videos says he couldn’t stop people from copying his video clips, so instead he puts his clips on his youtube channel and trolls youtube for illegal uploads of his clips. When he finds one, rather than force the illegal uploader to take the clip down, he “claims it”. Any idea what “claims it” means ?



“Claims it” would mean getting in touch with YouTube and telling them you own the copyright of the video, and they will either remove it, swap ownership to you, or take other similar actions. YouTube/Google have policies and forms to make this quite straightforward once you register your content with them.

As others have said on here I would avoid the DRM route. All it does is make the video more difficult to play by the people who actually paid for it - those copying/sharing the video will have ripped out the DRM before doing so. The futility of DRM can be summed up by the release of Blu-Rays for HD movies - the studios put in huge financial resources to try and make it unbreakable, but it was reverse engineered within days of release, and even their fallback idea to “cancel all encryption keys” was useless and the hackers had found the OEM codes. End of game and a complete waste of all those resources within days.

I would just say either post it on YouTube for free yourself and “claim” any others, or sell it via PPV/DVD and keep an eye on file sharing sites and send them DMCAs if it ever pops up.

I think that’s what I’ll do, use youtube. Is the reason why there’s some/a lot of succes with trolling is because if the the plagiarser wants to attract the youtube search engine and viewers searching for videos on the topic he/she would have to use obvious terms, which would be terms the author would use to find copies? It seems like the obvious answer. If so, then success in fining copies anywhere on the net should be pretty high, excluding if you don’t know other languages - which you have to deal with for any type of content.



A little late to reply but… Yes if someone has copied your video and uploaded a copy to YouTube then they will tend to label it relatively obviously to get the views. YouTube also has a fingerprinting matching to try to spot copies and flag them for you if you register for that.

I didn’t know about the finger printing of videos. Where can I read about it - is it really called “video finger printing”?