Undownloadable online video

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Nick 102 Jul 02, 2008 at 13:35

Hi all,

A friend of mine asked whether it’s possible to put videos online that can’t be downloaded (just viewed). While we obviously can’t stop capturing programs (can we?), it seems like it should be possible to have some kind of encryption that prevents replaying streaming content. Does anyone know such technology?

Thanks,

Nick

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moe 101 Jul 02, 2008 at 14:51

I would tend to say this is a wasted effort. For any resources (images, video, etc.) you can figure out the path by looking at the source code. Then simply write this path into a new browser window and load the resource. You would basically just get it without any of the preventive measures you took and you can download it again normally. And as you mentioned there are always the capturing tools. If it should not be available for anyone you need to have a login of some sort. Still all the registered users could download the avi.

It might be possible to put the avi into a flash and have the flash do some checking so it will only play the avi when needed/allowed. But still, if you figure out how it’s done you would be able to reproduce it and download the avi again.

However, why would anyone want to put a video on a webpage (where everyone can see it) but not wont people to be able to download the video? What good would that do?

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Nick 102 Jul 03, 2008 at 10:48

@moe

However, why would anyone want to put a video on a webpage (where everyone can see it) but not wont people to be able to download the video? What good would that do?

She’s an assistant professor, and uses some self-made videos during classes. These are part of the course material so students have to be able to watch them again. The university has an ‘online learning environment’ only accessible by students, but that won’t stop anyone from downloading and spreading it.

Anyway, I was already preparing to tell her it’s practically impossible… :closedeye

Tips and tricks to make it a little harder to download things are still welcome though!

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Reedbeta 167 Jul 03, 2008 at 16:26

Most college courses I’ve taken that involve copyrighted media operate on the honor system. Just tell the students they’re not supposed to distribute the media, explain that the school could potentially get in trouble if they do, and ask for their cooperation. It usually works and is a lot easier than trying to impose some draconian, inconvenient DRM scheme to let people watch the videos in a browser but not save them to a file.

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monjardin 102 Jul 07, 2008 at 14:59

Embedding the video in Flash (or some other object) with right click disabled would make it less accessible. Anything more complicated is probably a waste of time. Even if there was some way of preventing a computer from capturing the data you could always send it through a VCR ;)