How Streaming Services protects its content

Services like Netflix, Hulu or Disney+are video OTT services and other Free Online Movie Streaming Sites, which give users with variety of programming options, both in terms of a licensed library of TV shows and films, also as original programming. one among the most important concerns for paid content providers like Netflix, Hulu, Disnep, Amazon Prime is that their content are often illegally leaked and therefore the number of paid subscribers may decline or growth may slow.

To stop such illegal content leakage, Netflix and other OTT services protect the contents by using technologies called ‘DRM’ and ‘watermarking’. In this article, we will discuss what is ‘Multi-DRM’ and ‘Forensic Watermarking’ respectively.

What is DRM?


Digital Rights Management (DRM) may be a term that refers to all or any technologies employed by copyright holders to regulate the utilization of digital material they distribute and to limit the utilization of the content to their intention.
It is primarily wont to prevent unauthorized use of digital content like e-books, sound recordings, and videos, by allowing only authenticated users to use the content for the authorized period of your time .
The functions of DRM are divided into ‘encryption and decryption of contents’ and ‘encryption key management’.

By default, the first content is encrypted through a process called ‘DRM packaging’ and passed to the user. Without the encryption key information wont to encrypt the content, the user cannot decrypt it for playback.
With Netflix as an example, the Netflix app allows users to download some TV shows and movie content to their mobile device via the ‘Save’ feature, and to look at them offline at a later time.

Because the video content is encrypted with DRM, it’s impossible for unauthorized users to play it with a general video player albeit they copy the content files.
For users who have the proper to use the content, the ‘encryption key’ and ‘usage right information’ are transmitted separately from the content. it’s a key technology of a DRM solution to transfer and manage the ‘DRM license’ securely.

What is Forensic Watermarking?

Forensic Watermark

“Watermarking” be a part of a technology called ‘digital watermarking’. ‘Digital watermarking’ refers to the technology of inserting data and managing tip like copyright information in various digital data like photographs and videos.
While conventional digital watermarking is for copyright by embedding copyright holder information within the content by overlay, ‘forensic watermarking’ inserts information of content users to trace illegal distribution.

When a content holder or content service provider discovers illegally distributed content, it can detect the watermarking, track the user and stop the user from using the service, or take action to stop further illegal activities. Forensic watermarking technology has been developed and utilized in various fields to trace illegal leakage of video contents like Screener, Digital Cinema, OTT Services and Live stream service etc.

You may have questions on the necessity for forensic watermarking. However, albeit DRM protects the content, it’s difficult to stop illegal leakage completely. There are cases where these technologies alone can’t prevent content leakage.

Here we list down some leakage case scenario with this Technology

1. Screen recording using camcorder

One of the foremost traditional content leakage cases is that the so-called ‘cam version’ footage.
This is to record the video played on the screen with a separate video camera or good smartphone camera. DRM technology can’t prevent this sort of content leakage. this is often called Digital-to-Analog (D2A) or Analog-to-Digital (A2D) conversion, one among the attack methods for watermarking.

With the increasingly smaller and higher-performing devices, it’s now possible to record video with almost an equivalent quality because the original at 4K/UHD resolutions beyond full HD.
This is a more significant issue for OTT services like Netflix than movie theaters where the camcording are often prohibited manually.

2. Video recording through PC screen recorder

In Mac OS, FairPlay Streaming DRM in Safari browser and Microsoft Edge browsers of Windows OS. it’s impossible to capture the screen shot or video thanks to the OS level screen capture prevention function. But in Chrome and Firefox browsers, however, don’t prevent image capture due to software-level Widevine DRM on most supported operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

Multi-DRM with Forensic Watermarking

Multi DRM with Forensic Watermarking

While DRM may be a technique to stop unauthorized use of content, watermarking may be a technology that tracks illegal content leaks by authorized users.
‘DRM’ and ‘watermarking’ complement one another and must be applied together to premium content that needs a high level of security, like the newest Hollywood movies.