DRM means digital rights management. The purpose of DRM is to protect the copyright as well as prevent the unlawful dissemination of digitized content. 

In recent years, the rapid growth of streaming services, coupled with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been a catalyst for the digital transformation of various industrial applications and the expansion of online services. Streaming services now offer a wide array of activities, ranging from company analyst meetings and online concerts to e-learning sessions and seminars. However, the surge in popularity of video streaming has also led to a notable increase in copyright infringement cases, such as unauthorized copying and sharing of videos on platforms like YouTube and other free services. Regardless of whether these actions are intentional or not, the improper dissemination of paid content can pose a significant risk to corporate trust and revenue. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure the secure protection of content before uploading any video or live stream.

As awareness about content protection continues to grow, the term DRM (digital rights management) is becoming more commonly discussed. Although DRM has been in existence for some time, it remains unfamiliar to many.

In this article, Thudo Multimedia, a leading provider of professional video streaming services, will provide a concise overview of DRM, its key technologies, the types of videos that should be safeguarded using DRM, and essential precautions for users, all in just 5 minutes.

Three Primary DRM Solutions

  1. Google Widevine:
    • Purpose: Google Widevine is designed to provide content protection and secure streaming for video services on Android devices and web browsers like Chrome and Firefox.
    • Features: It offers different security levels, including L1 (hardware-based) and L3 (software-based) security, depending on the device’s capabilities. L1 provides higher security.
    • Compatibility: Widevine is widely adopted by many streaming platforms and OTT (Over-The-Top) services.
  2. Microsoft PlayReady:
    • Purpose: Microsoft PlayReady is a DRM technology primarily used for securing content in Microsoft’s ecosystem, including Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge browsers.
    • Features: It supports various content protection mechanisms, including encryption, domain-based protection, and digital rights enforcement.
    • Adoption: PlayReady is commonly used for protecting multimedia content in Windows-based applications and services.
  3. Apple FairPlay:
    • Purpose: Apple FairPlay is the DRM solution integrated into Apple’s ecosystem, securing content played on Safari, iPod, iTunes, and the iTunes Store.
    • Features: FairPlay uses encryption to protect content and ensures that only authorized Apple devices can play it. It’s designed to work seamlessly within the Apple ecosystem.
    • Usage: Content distributed through Apple’s platforms, such as movies, music, and apps, is typically protected by FairPlay.

These DRM technologies play a crucial role in preventing unauthorized copying and distribution of digital content, ensuring that content creators and distributors can protect their intellectual property and monetize their offerings while providing a secure viewing experience for users. Each of these technologies comes with its own set of tools and features tailored to the specific needs of different platforms and ecosystems.

Video Protection Solutions Besides DRM

How to Protect Youtube videos from content theft?

In summary, we highly recommend employing DRM technology to safeguard videos from unauthorized copying or distribution. DRM is particularly essential for the protection of the following types of videos:

  1. Entertainment Content: This includes movies, sports events, music videos, and similar media that require copyright protection to preserve their value.
  2. Confidential Business Materials: Videos containing sensitive information such as presentations on new products, proprietary technologies, internal training sessions, or shareholder meetings should be protected to prevent unauthorized access.
  3. Paid Educational and Fitness Content: Content like e-learning programs and online fitness classes, which users pay for, must be secured to safeguard your investment and ensure that only authorized individuals can access it.

Pros and Cons of DRM Compared to Alternative Content Protection Methods

Once content is encrypted by DRM, the server transmits a decryption key to the client device during playback. Unauthorized attempts to obtain the key render the content unplayable. DRM has the capability to demand authentication for each device or even for each instance of playback. Due to the encryption of all content, DRM enforces a significantly higher level of security compared to alternative solutions, necessitating authentication for decryption on all devices.

However, the need for authentication with each playback instance can lead to drawbacks such as relatively slower streaming services and potential image quality degradation, impacting the overall viewing experience. In contrast, DRM is generally unnecessary for content that can be freely shared or distributed, such as commercials, personal family videos, and marketing materials.