What is DRM?
There is no single definition for Digital Rights Management (DRM). DRM is a general term encompassing varying access control technologies used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals to limit the use of digital content and devices. The term is used to describe any technology that inhibits the use of digital content that is not desired or intended by the content provider.
Vidcaster offers a number of built-in mechanisms to restrict access to digital content on behalf of content owners:
Token-Based Secure Storage and Delivery
Built into all Vidcaster hosted accounts (Silver and above)
All content on Vidcaster is stored securely behind a firewall with Amazon Web Services. No user has access to download files directly from S3 buckets, all files are stored securely with a locked S3 account status and only non-human computing systems (such as encoding or transcoding partners) are granted access as needed. Raw content files are only made accessible to users that have authenticated with the Vidcaster servers as being content owners.
Once a user has authenticated, the Vidcaster server makes content files available for a limited time period using a secure token hash algorithm, preventing users from sharing this URL with other persons to limit ability to create digital copies. This mechanism addresses a common Internet video vulnerability called "leeching" where nefarious third-parties find access to the "deep linked" raw URL of a video file and embed this file directly for other users to share without benefit or attribution to the content owner.
The Vidcaster video player automatically handshakes with Amazon S3 secure CloudFront delivery to playback video files in a method compliant with secure token based protection. In other words, content owners can rest assured that only users with expected access can access these files.
This security method is recommended for most users as it has the best mix of security, usability and cost for most applications. This security method is fully HTML5 compatible which enables full playback support for iOS, Android, Google TV, tablets and other mobile and connected devices.
RTMP Segmented Delivery
(Additional fees apply)
In addition to secure token-based access included in all Vidcaster accounts, an optional add-on is Flash-based RTMP delivery of video files that encrypts the video into tiny chunks during delivery to prevent client-side downloading of a video file. Instead of providing a secure link to a full video file for authenticated users as in the above example, RTMP makes available only a tiny segment of a video file for the browser's Flash player to access, making it slightly more difficult for persons to make a direct file copy of the video file being viewed.
However, there are some significant disadvantages to RTMP based delivery, most notably in that it is not compatible with newer mobile or iOS devices. RTMP is based on Adobe's Flash technology which is seeing less and less adoption as users switch to HTML5-based playback mechanisms. As RTMP is NOT compliant with HTML5, RTMP delivered content cannot be viewed on any iOS devices, most Android devices, and most other connected devices that now favor HTML5 playback.
Enterprise Licensed DRM Technologies from Apple and Microsoft
(Additional fees apply)
At the high-end of the spectrum is to officially license DRM technologies from Microsoft and Apple, branded as Apple FairPlay and Microsoft PlayReady respectively. This is an extremely involved process that comes with high expense and complications and is recommend only in situations where these DRM mechanisms are contractually required.
There are significant disadvantages to this delivery mechanism:
- Lack of widespread device playback support
- Fragmentation of the DRM ecosystem
- High cost to implement development, high cost for license fees
Costs involved include initial development integration, third-party DRM software licensing fees, additional per-minute encoding fees and consulting with regards to full distribution workflow to ensure DRM compliance throughout production and distribution processes.