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Understand DRM. In 3 minutes.

3 minutes read
Understand DRM. In 3 minutes.

If you have found your way onto this blog post you are pushing out enough interesting content to be worried about securing that content online.

Before we dive into it, you should know that nothing is 100% safe on the web – we are realists, not fairytale tellers, nor miracle workers. But there are things you can do to make sure your content is safer online. Enter DRM.

Content is expensive to produce right? The last thing you want or need is to put so much time, money and effort into creating greatness for some pirate to copy or rip off your content.

But there is help out there!

DRM, or Digital Rights Management, is an approach to preventing unauthorized use or any potential piracy of digital assets, using DRM encryption prevents users from copying, redistributing and/or converting video assets. Many people think that DRM is equal to encryption, but that's not quite right. DRM is the full and complete system for managing content access.

The technologies

There are 3 core technologies you should get to know, if you haven't already. These ensure you are protected on many devices, browsers, and operating systems (OS).

1. Google Widevine

Google Widevine

Google develops Widevine. With Widevine, you would have protection on chromium-based browsers and Google-developed operating systems. Widevine is supported on the most popular HTML5 browsers, including Chrome (v35+), Firefox (v47+), and Opera (v35+). This DRM works with Chrome on Android-powered devices, and supports playback on Microsoft Edge Chromium and Firefox browsers (on Android devices). Playback is not supported on Chrome for iOS.

2. Apple FairPlay

Apple FairPlay

Apple develops Fairplay exclusively for apple products; iOS, tvOS, macOS, and Safari. It is widely adopted but unlike the other technologies, you need to be approved for Fairplay Certificate. Hint: get this first.

3. Microsoft PlayReady

Microsoft PlayReady

Microsoft develops PlayReady. You might have guessed it: this is for any Microsoft devices and operating systems.

Thrilling stuff. Is there a need for all 3 technologies? A better question might be: does your entire audience use one specific device, OS or browser? The answer is almost certainly no.

Implementing DRM

So, how do you go about getting, integrating, and managing all 3 technologies? Well, you can implement your own licencing servers and negotiate with each technology manufacturer directly, but this is difficult to manage – and can be pricey.

The smart thing to do is to work with a multi-DRM provider. This really simplifies integrating with multiple DRM technologies. Then you need to think about encryption encoding + the video CMS/delivery and of course a player that supports DRM [cough Flowplayer cough].

Why DRM?

But why would you want or need DRM? Well, the primary motivation to use digital rights management is to prevent revenue leakage and engage with the largest possible audience.

If you have read thus far, our bet is that video makes up a significant part of your offering. And whatever your goal is with video, the bottom line is this: you work hard on producing content for a specific audience, so you also own the right to receive each dollar your video earns, whether through subscriptions or advertising.

Having someone steal your content could lead to your audience viewing the content elsewhere – with no benefit to you. Getting a smaller proportion of the total audience because of piracy usually equals less revenue.

You might be interested in DRM if you are

  1. A content creator, owner, or producer.
  2. Licencing other peoples content. Yes, it's up to you to protect others.
  3. Running a subscription-based business.
  4. A new-found DRM enthusiast. Yay!

Flowplayer offers a compelling multi-DRM workflow product through the online video suite and this is for companies of all shapes and sizes wanting to protect their VOD assets. If you fit any of the categories mentioned above, get in touch to find out more about DRM.