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Using Native DRM to Defeat Screen Capturing

Posted by Roman K. on Sep 8, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Digital rights management (DRM) technology is designed to protect valuable content from being stolen, hacked and downloaded. One of the most common ways that people try to steal content is through screen capture technology, usually in the form of an app that grabs images or videos and downloads them for later use.

These technologies are intended to thwart DRM solutions and steal content. Fortunately, DRM, especially when used in tandem with watermarking technology, can deter or prevent screen capture from threatening your license agreements.

Those license agreements from Hollywood studios and other content providers require distributors and licensees to maintain comprehensive DRM protections to prevent piracy.

The State of Screen Capture

When it comes to screen capture, it comes down to hardware and software. While DRM tools are effective at encrypting content from the source, eventually that content needs to be decrypted for playback. At the end of the process, leakage is more likely.

To protect content at this final stage, DRM tools use different technologies, including:

  • Hardware-Level DRM
  • Trusted Execution Environment (TEE)
  • High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP)

Ways to Screen Capture

There are several ways to capture content illegally. Here are two of the most common:

  1. Cam Recording. Using a smartphone, tablet or camcorder, thieves can record content directly from the screen. Given the small size of many devices and higher recording resolutions, these recordings can come close to the original playback quality.
  2. PC Screen Recording. Some web browsers use software-based DRM tools, which allows thieves to use third-party tools to save DRM-protected video as a .MOV or .MP4 file.
  3. For example, using DASH content with Widevine DRM in the Chrome browser on Windows affords no protection against screen capturing. To eliminate screen capturing on Windows computers, you need to use DASH content with PlayReady DRM in the Edge browser. In this case do not offer CENC-encrypted DASH content or users will be able to exploit the stream in Chrome. To eliminate screen capturing on Apple computers, you need to use HLS content with FairPlay DRM in the Safari browser.

The Role of Watermarks

Hacked and stolen videos are not very valuable when overlaid with a watermark that makes the video or images difficult or impossible to view. The technologies are often used in tandem as the best defense against both common screen-capture methods.

When screen capture apps are deployed, digital watermarks pop up, warning that the content is being captured, displaying IP addresses, user names, emails or other identifying information to deter would-be thieves of your protected digital content.

The contractual need to protect against screen captures makes it critical that you use a comprehensive DRM solution that encrypts and protects content.

BuyDRM's digital rights management systems provide comprehensive DRM protection. They work on the broadest range of devices, support all major DRMs and use cloud-based encoding. For example, with the KeyOS MultiScreener solution, you can keep dailies and screeners protected with tools that provide:

  • Secure user access
  • Multiple layers of access control
  • Forensic and digital watermarks on a per-user and per-session basis
  • Support for customer-provided watermarks
  • Secure content playback

BuyDRM provides sophisticated and rugged DRM protection that meets your licensing and contractual obligations and provides you with the peace of mind that your content is secure and safe. To learn more about our secure DRM-as-a-service solutions, contact us today.

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