How to Prevent Users From Downloading Video Files

How To Prevent Users From Downloading Video Files

Pirates!  They’re out there.

It’s a legitamite concern.  Digital pirates out there don’t want to pay good people for their hard work.

As a course creator or even a general website owner your videos are your property and one of the most valuable online assets you have.  You’ve spent time and money creating them and publishing them.  They effectively demonstrate what you do or who you are.  They teach and instruct.  They are the preferred media for people to absorb information.

Now you want to make sure only authorized people and audiences can access and watch those assets.  That means you don’t want anyone to be able to download and re-publish your videos anywhere.  And you don’t want anyone to be able to simply share links to your videos.

So let’s get into how to prevent users from downloading videos files.

We get it.  That’s why security is one of Spotlightr’s core values.  We take it seriously because our customers take it seriously.  So let’s get into the risks, options, and recommendations when it comes to security your video courses and video content on your website.

Here are the top ways your videos cant be pirated and shared and what considerations you should take when evaluating security for your video courses and video content.

Downloading video via browser plugins and extensions

This is probably the most popular way to pirate videos and the reason for most concern.  Most video hosting companies don’t do much to prevent this.  And the reason for that is because it makes everything else you do as a video host much more difficult.

There are dozens of browser extensions and plugins that download your video content.  Spotlightr prevents this by encrypting video content which renders these plugins and extensions useless.

This is how people normally rip down entire courses to their hard drives (and then sometimes distribute online).

Preventable?

Yes.  To prevent this you need a hosting provider that encrypts your video content. When encrypted, videos are virtually impossible to get via these plugins and extensions.

Want to put us to the test?  Sounds great!

Go here:  https://docs.spotlightr.com/en/articles/1892370-secured-video-example

prevents videos from being downloaded

Right clicking video to find the video ID or video URL and then sharing that

Most popular video hosts provide a video lnading page for your videos that are hosted by the company.  The URLs are all the same except for a video ID appended at the end.

Another way videos can be shared and pirated is by right-clicking on the actual video and getting the video ID.  With the video ID users can easily do some searching online to see how they can use it to pull up a video that is supposed to be private.

Some video providers will make sure you can right-click on their videos just as a form of advertisement.  So they are basically giving up any security on that video in favor of free publicity.  You’ll find the bigger companies that have bigger brand recognition just don’t care about your security and do this (cough cough Wistia cough cough).

Preventable?

By disabling visitors from right-clicking on the video completely, there is no way to gather any information about the video, video URL, video ID, etc.

What if they are savvy enough to look at the source code of the page and find it?

Well, you can remove all doubt by simply disabling that page completely.  So even if they somehow manage to find the video ID, if the page is disabled there is nothing they can do.

Here is an example of that:  https://spotlightrteam.cdn.spotlightr.com/watch/MTMwODY4Mw==

Disable video landing page

Sharing the actual web page your video is embedded on

This is a more casual way to share videos.  You send a link to someone to a page that isn’t available by navigating from any webpage or search engine.  Essentially it’s a private link.

But of course this can be just copied and sent to anyone and they will now have access.

Preventable?

One way you can prevent this is by putting your videos behind a login in some sort of membership area. That means someone needs a username and password to login.

Yes, I can hear you say it now…

“What if they share their login info?”

Yes they can share that info.  There are a variety of ways to prevent this.  At Spotlightr we solve this with our Gallery module.  You can embed a player that launches a Gallery that contains one or more videos.  And these videos can be restricted via access codes that have various expiration settings.

For example, you can genearte an access code that expires after a certain amount of time.  Or on a certain date.  Or after the videos were accessed a certain amount of times.

How to Prevent Users From Downloading Video Files

Recording your video with screen recorders (or even recording your monitor with a camera)

While it’s possible to prevent some screen recorders from working, even if you do that pirates can always just set up a video camera or cell phone right in front of the monitor.  Quality in both cases turn out very poor, but in these cases it’s not the quality they care about but the actual content of the video.

Preventable?

It can be curbed by attempting to block screen recording software but, as just mentioned, the monitor can simply be recorded.  At Spotlightr we address this by making available watermarks that display the IP address of the viewer, which can discourage this type of piracy.

IP watermark on videos

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