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Netflix DRM: How & Why of Encrypted Video Security?

Netflix DRM

Netflix DRM – As the world continues to embrace streaming services, video piracy has become an increasingly pressing issue for companies like Netflix. In 2020, Netflix invested a staggering 12 billion U.S. dollars in content creation and distribution – meaning any illegal content distribution could lead to significant losses in paid memberships and revenue.

When people pirate films or TV shows, they are less likely to sign up for legal streaming services such as Netflix’s own platform – making it essential that steps are taken against video piracy so as not to damage their business model further down the line. To combat this problem head-on, many large media companies have implemented Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions on their premium videos; with DRM being one of the most secure anti-piracy measures available today – something which can be seen across all platforms on which Netflix is available including iOS & Android devices alike!

The implementation of these robust digital rights management solutions allows both consumers and producers alike peace of mind when it comes to protecting copyrighted material from illegal use or misuse online – providing assurance that only those who have purchased access will be able to enjoy a given piece of media without fear of infringement upon its copyright status by third parties looking for free access at no cost whatsoever! This helps protect both creators’ works from exploitation whilst also allowing customers legitimate means through which they may enjoy said creations without worrying about potential repercussions associated with engaging in pirated activities elsewhere online…

The need of Video Security for Netflix

Netflix is one of the most popular OTT/Video on Demand platforms, and it serves thousands of premium movies and web series across the world. With so much at stake for top Hollywood studios, Netflix needs to ensure their content is protected with a reliable DRM encryption system. This not only provides secure streaming but also ensures viewers have an enjoyable experience while watching their favorite shows or movies.

There are three primary reasons why Netflix requires Video DRM:

1) To protect against online video piracy – illegal downloads and screen capture are some of the common methods used by pirates to steal content from services like Netflix; 

2) To preserve copyright laws – any form of video piracy violates copyright acts, which can be damaging for movie production houses;

3) To generate revenue from streaming videos – as more people watch licensed videos on services like Netflix instead pirated ones, this helps increase subscription revenues for these companies. 

Netflix’s use of Video DRM allows them to provide both security and convenience when it comes to streaming digital media content over the internet. It safeguards copyrighted material while giving subscribers access without having to worry about dealing with potential theft or misuse due to malicious actors trying to exploit loopholes in traditional security systems. As such, implementing robust Digital Rights Management solutions has become a critical part of success in today’s digital scene.

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Inkrypt ensures Secure Video Hosting with Hollywood Grade DRM Encryption

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What is Video DRM?

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a key technology that helps protect content creators and distributors from unauthorized use of their digital works. DRM is used by many leading streaming services, such as Netflix, to ensure the safety and integrity of their video content.

At its core, Digital Rights Management (DRM) refers to technologies that help control access to copyrighted material online. It provides an extra layer of security for digital media files so they can’t be illegally copied or shared without permission from the copyright holder.

This ensures creators are compensated for their work while also protecting consumers who purchase legitimate copies of it from potential piracy issues down the line.

Two widely adopted DRMs are Google Widevine and Apple Fairplay DRM which allow companies like Netflix to securely stream videos over multiple platforms including web browsers, mobile apps, etc., without any fear about illegal downloads or viewing activities taking place on these platforms.

These two systems offer different levels when it comes to encryption strength; however both provide robust security measures against piracy attempts on streaming services like Netflix. For example, if someone tries accessing a protected video through an unauthorized device then they will not be able to view it due to stringent authentication protocols enforced by these two systems. 

What happens when content is non-encrypted?

Similar to the free YouTube videos available on YouTube, where the content of the videos is not encrypted at all, it is very easy for browser extensions/hackers to get your videos and download them illegally. There are hundreds of free plugins, extensions, and sites to allow you to download these videos, as there are many other platforms that do not encrypt the content.

Happenings when content is encrypted?

HLS encryption, AES encryption, and RTMP encryption are the most common forms of open-source encryption technologies. Although these streaming technologies are one level more secure than Youtube, they do not have a completely hidden / black key exchange mechanism that allows hackers or programs to get the encryption key. Therefore, hackers or programs can eventually get the encryption key.

Once the hacking tool gets the encryption key, it can take the exposed key and combine it with the decrypted content in order to re-decrypt the RAW file. Thus, these technologies may not be as safe as they might seem.

What happens when content is DRM encrypted?

Today, streaming video content providers are increasingly looking to add an extra layer of security for their videos by implementing DRM encryption. Google Widevine DRM and Apple Fairplay DRM are two popular protocols that allow companies to protect their digital media from unauthorized access or distribution.

These DRMs provide a secure key exchange mechanism via the Content Decryption Module (CDM) which is integrated with browsers and operating systems at the hardware level, allowing them to maintain control over how users can access protected content.

For instance, Google Widevine is used in Chrome on desktop and Android devices while Apple Fairplay works with Safari on Mac/iOS as well as iOS apps. Additionally, Firefox has partnered up with Google so they can also use its implementation of Widevine for both desktop and Android platforms.

In order to take advantage of these technologies however it’s important that you have a valid license agreement in place with either one or both service providers before attempting any integration work – this will not only ensure your compliance but also help you keep track of any changes made along the way during the development process.

It’s worth noting too that since neither protocol is open source there may be some compatibility issues between different versions when trying out new features; therefore having an up-to-date compatibility chart handy would come in very useful should such problems arise during testing stages.

Other Security Features of Video DRM

As far as illegal video downloads are concerned, this can be prevented by providing the option of offline secure download in apps when the video is being played on a DRM-based system. Mobile apps can allow users to download securely and play them offline within the app. DRM also allows users to set these offline playbacks to expire after a specified amount of time by allowing these offline playbacks to have a single-time validity In other words, one day, one month, one year.

In certain cases, DRM can be used to block screen captures in mobile apps and certain browsers, such as iOS apps, Safari, and Android apps on certain devices (Widevine L1 devices, not all devices), so that screen capture is totally blocked. When Android apps do not support DRM, there are other ways to prevent screen capture. For example, on devices that do not support DRM (L3 devices), there are other ways to do so.

Those other methods are already implemented by Netflix DRM encryption mechanism for video content, as well as by Inkrypt for the music content.

Serving different video quality based on HDMI security levels – While many video platforms around the world prefer to serve the highest quality (whether it is 1080p or 4K) to all devices and browsers, there are some limitations as well as restrictions imposed by HDMI security levels for certain premium movies, mostly from Hollywood, as to whether all full HD movies are capable of playing in those devices/browsers.

Other Security features apart from DRM used by Netflix

A viewer-based watermarking system is used by many premium video platforms including Netflix and others. It is a type of DRM encryption mechanism that is used to encrypt premium videos. There are two types of viewer-based watermarks – visible and invisible. You may have seen a dynamic watermark while watching some popular series, movies, or live sports channels. There is an endless string of text and numbers that keeps floating on the screen.

Inkrypt provides a visible form of dynamic watermarking, which is a unique identifier of your device. Some platforms make this dynamic watermark visible so that it discourages viewers from screen capturing and sharing their content with others. Inkrypt provides a visible form of dynamic watermarking, while other platforms use invisible watermarks in order to not alter the viewer experience, but rather to detect pirate users as soon as they come across any pirated content.

In addition to preventing rooted devices from playing content, there are some hackers who try to break Widevine DRM in Android apps by rooting them and trying to decode them. It’s very hard to decipher Apple Fairplay DRM. When SafetyNet, a Google app protection mechanism, is implemented on rooted devices, it disables playback.

When you look at Netflix plans in the below screenshot, you will see that the maximum number of devices that can play videos from the same account is limited, and if you do not have a Netflix account, then you are not able to play videos on multiple devices.

Movie content comes with a set of distribution rights, which is more a form of restriction than a security measure from piracy. Geo-restriction is a way of restricting rather than preventing piracy. In some cases, Netflix may only have access to a particular movie in the United States, while in other cases, Netflix may have access to that movie anywhere outside the United States, based on agreements with the content producers. The rights to stream these movies will be determined by these agreements.

Geo restriction ensures that these obligations are met and that they are met in a timely manner.

How does Netflix DRM prevent Screen Recording?

In order to accomplish this, they use EME or Encrypted Media Extensions, which is a W3C specification for establishing a communication channel. This protocol helps web browsers communicate with DRM’s black boxed mechanism via software that is called Content Decryption Module (CDM).

There are three apps that are affected by this issue: the Safari browser, the Android app and the iOS app.

Protect Your VOD & OTT Platform With Inkrypt Multi-DRM Support

Inkrypt helps several VOD and OTT Platforms to host their videos effectively and securely, as well as increasing the video revenue generated by their platform.

A web browser communicates with the Video Player that has EME, which invokes DRM, to capture a screen. If you pass a screenshot command to the Video Player that has EME, the screenshot command gets overridden by DRM secure playback, so you get black screenshots or recordings. Using HTML5 players, this mechanism combines all of the power of EME and the underlying DRM encryption to invoke functionality.

As far as screen recording and screen shot protection is concerned, Netflix and Inkrypt both use the same implementation.

Netflix’s role in improving the DRM ecosystem across the internet

Since most of the population viewing online entertainment or content for courses are not themselves the owners of the platforms they are viewing, the majority of them are unwilling to support video DRMs.

While students feel that they are left out of free access to premium movies due to DRM, while on the other hand some engineers are of the view that it is not right to have a blackbox (Content Decryption Module / CDM) in open web standards as it undermines the purpose of open web standards.

Firefox, for example, is a browser that did not by default have DRM a few years back, so if they had not implemented it, then they also would have lost a considerable amount of viewership.

Potential issues with video DRM

In our experience at Inkrypt, a very small percentage of Android devices have compatibility issues with Widevine DRM that prevent them from playing DRM-secured videos. The percentage of devices which are incompatible with Widevine DRM is estimated to be around 0.3% based on our experience. These cases are primarily associated with Android devices and are not prevalent among Apple/Windows devices.

How can I as a movie/course platform implement Video DRM with ease?

Due to the complexity of integration and the length of time it took for integration, DRM used to mostly be within reach of large companies such as Netflix, and Amazon. Fortunately, Inkrypt is able to address this problem in a way that combines multi-device video playback with DRM video hosting solutions.
With Encrypt, you can easily integrate DRM-based video playback into any website owned by one single person as long as the integration effort required by the customer is minimal. Whether you are a single person or a small business, Inkrypt is built to serve everyone who is in need of video security, whether it be a single-person-owned website or a popular media learning platform with millions of users

What all do you get?

  • Packaged cloud video hosting solution with Video DRM encryption
  • Dynamic Watermarking
  • Domain Restriction
  • Smart Video Player
  • Dashboard to manage videos
  • Iframe, Plugin, API, SDK Integrations

If you want to read more on the  History of Netflix, do read the blog linked.

Here are some other interesting blog related to Netflix:

  • Netflix Codec
  • Netflix Business Model
  • Netflix Password Sharing Crackdown


How does Netflix Encryption block screenshots?

Netflix uses a technology called digital rights management (DRM) to encrypt its content and prevent unauthorized users from accessing it. When you take a screenshot of Netflix content, the DRM software prevents the screenshot from being saved or shared.

How does Netflix DRM work to protect its content piracy?

Netflix DRM uses a combination of encryption, licensing, dynamic key exchange mechanism, and access control to protect its content.

Is there a visible Netflix watermark?

No, there is no visible watermark in any content on Netflix but it is possible to have dynamic invisible watermarking with user info.

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