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Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?

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Seth BlausteinDigital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 10, 2012 at 11:27:54 pm

I am preparing to launch a business that sells how-to videos for sports players.

I am considering these three models for customer delivery:

1. Streaming service that provides the customer with a unique code that allows them to stream a set of videos at any time.

2. Hard copy DVD purchase.

3. Digital download.

I am planning on offering either choice 1 and 2 or 2 and 3. My concern with option 1 (streaming service) is that it may make it easy for a customer to share a code with their friends and stream videos without paying. My concern with number 3 (digital download) is that customers will inevitably share the videos.

I know that file-sharing will happen to some degree no matter what--but I want to minimize it as much as possible.

Does anyone know of any security measures that can be taken to prevent file sharing for digital downloads? Maybe some kind of codec that only allows the file to be copied a finite number of times?

Any advice about minimizing file sharing will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


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Eric HansenRe: Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 2:50:35 am

Hey Seth

All of the packages that I've purchased online that include downloadable videos (mostly computer and camera tutorials and the like), have been unprotected H.264 files. some of these packages include PDFs that require a password to read them, but as far as i know, there's not a similar way to lock a video.

I think streaming from a secure site may be your best option. Although, now that I think about it, I've never "purchased" training that was secure streaming. it was always a monthly fee (like Lynda.com).

hope that helps

e

Eric Hansen
Production Workflow Designer / Consultant / Colorist / DIT
http://www.erichansen.tv


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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: Digital #Download #security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 8:29:37 am

I would add to Eric's good response that anyone who wishes to crack and distribute your video will be more than able to do so, in particularly if you're aiming for a younger market.

In the old days of film distribution we used to super impose the end-users name onto the video so we could see who had broken ranks and distributed the copy early - this process takes deep pockets and is difficult to police.

Other alternative is to use digital finger-prints and have spiders that crawls the net to find illegally uploaded copies - Getty Images are very successful with this process. However, they target business users who can normally afford to pay.

Rather than spending a lot of time developing and managing copyright protection, you might be better off using that time and cash on marketing and developing associated materials and social interaction that will get the customer to continuously return to your site.

Do spare a thought for Adobe, who did some research in Europe that showed that for every 1 copy of software sold, there are 10 illegally being used - their model is to charge that one user enough to pay for the other 10, whilst at the same time keeping the 10 from upgrading their cracked copies...

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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Mark SuszkoRe: Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 1:56:17 pm

To apply unbeatable security like complicated encryption will likely raise your costs too high, and nobody will be copying the video because nobody will buy it. Come on, it's a sports training video, not national secrets.

Let me suggest you look at this from another angle, and beat the pirates ...by giving the product away. What? Yes!

That of course means you need a different model for getting paid. What I usually suggest is finding a sponsor to underwrite the entire project and pay you the anticipated profit, up front. You add their branding and advertising to the product, and then you *encourage* sharing it around, because that gets the ads even more exposure.

Another way is to emulate Kickstarter, in that you don't release any copies until you get x number of pre-paid orders. This is the model I suggest for school concert and recital-type videos.


Either way, the key is to make the product cheap enought hat there is no pforit margin to a pirate in taking the time to rip and distribute the product. And if the problem is a rabid fan base that wants to file-share among themselves, look at that not as a loss, but a resource.


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Seth BlausteinRe: Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 3:35:37 pm

Thank you all for the very well thought out and valuable advice.

I am likely going to be using a service called fordela (fordela.com), and I will probably be going with a streaming service and hard copy DVD. Although sharing is still very possible with the streaming service, the analytics that Fordela offers on the back-end allow you to track the geographical location of where a user has logged in, and at what time. If it looks like one particular account is sharing too much, I think a simple warning would stop it. If it doesn't, their account can always be revoked.

Thanks again!


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Seth BlausteinRe: Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 3:38:04 pm

One other thing to add, just for the info--

the way to protect against file sharing is with a technology called DRM (digital rights management). This technology binds a unique key from the video to the device, allowing only 1 device to play that video. This DOES work on streaming videos, not only digital downloads. However, this service is incredibly expensive. It would have raised the costs of delivery by about 500% with the particular company I am planning on using to host my streaming.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 4:35:36 pm

LOL.


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Seth BlausteinRe: Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 4:44:30 pm

lol


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Mark SuszkoRe: Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 6:56:34 pm

The LOL was because


http://ezinearticles.com/?Ubisofts-New-DRM-Broken-in-One-Day---Does-This-Pr...

http://www.thetechherald.com/articles/Kindle-DRM-broken/8782/

http://social.microsoft.com/forums/en-us/tabspace/thread/FE7C9A3C-B0FC-4E94...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/01/31/vista_drm_hacked/

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/08/24/google_marketplace/

http://all-streaming-media.com/faq/recording-media-stream/faq-capture-non-r...

http://www.webmasterworld.com/webmaster/3420083.htm

http://blog.ninapaley.com/2010/04/29/whats-wrong-with-streaming-drm/

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/493996/whats-the-most-secure-streaming-v...

You were saying....?

I have no dog in this fight. All I was saying is that you cannot rely on technology; whatever a man makes, another man can break. What you CAN depend on is human nature. And you can try to fight it, or try to use a kind of judo to flip it to your do your will.


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Seth BlausteinRe: Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 7:52:33 pm

Thanks for the links.

My lol was because I already know everything you are saying. I appreciate your help and opinion, but its simply not what I am asking about on this thread. I expected someone to go off about how giving stuff away for free is better, but it's not what I am doing at this time. I am interested in exploring security to learn more about it, because I believe it is my right and my choice to protect my product or to give it away, not someone elses.

As I mentioned in my first post, file sharing is inevitable. I'd like to minimize it--this is a choice I am making as a business owner--whether it will be successful or not is a different story.

Thanks again for your perspective.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 8:03:53 pm

I look forward with interest to your report on how this all worked out, some months from now. Perhaps you will prove my skepticism unfounded. I AM willing to be schooled. ...Sometimes.

Best of luck to you.


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Scott CarnegieRe: Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 8:42:08 pm

I also with you luck in this, I would like you to report success, because I honestly don't see it. People HATE DRM, even Apple got rid of it in iTunes. For niche sports training videos... there is sooo much free stuff out there that making it harder for people to access your content by havin to have to pay for streaming video of it seems like a losing game.

Paid streaming video has it's place, live events. But training videos? I don't know. I could be wrong.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Scott CarnegieRe: Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 8:46:04 pm

But if you are going to choose option 1 2 or 3, definitely don't do the DVD hard copy. Waste of resources, your cost goes up, and who buys sports training DVD's anymore? Have it available on-line so they can have instant access after paying for their key or subscription.

There are a few sites that you can aleady do this with, people pay for the content.

http://www.viddler.com/

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Seth BlausteinRe: Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 9:55:26 pm

I'm not going to use DRM. I just wanted to post the information that I found out there in case future readers stumble upon this post with a similar question. It's expensive and a bad choice for exactly the reasons laid out. I never had real interest in doing it--like I said, I want to research what is out there so I can make an informed decision. I'm actually pretty to close to being on the same page as Mark, generally. I am not going to fret about letting sharing happen, but I don't want to make it so easy that it is the only way my content is obtained.

The way I will be streaming will be almost the same as a digital download. The customer purchases the video and has unlimited access to watch it as much as they want, forever. The difference is only that they need an internet connection to view the content. My target audience is always on the internet (young/male/lacrosse player).

Your statement about hard copy DVD's is general and uninformed in terms of my market.

I will be doing hard copy DVD's as well because that is primarily how these types of videos are purchased--in Lacrosse stores. Parents buy these up like crazy from stores around Christmas. The costs of producing these DVD's is incredibly cheap and DVDs can be created per-purchase. Ever heard of Kunaki? Only adds minor costs that are covered with each sale and only creates another venue for purchase.

Crappy how-to videos will always be free on YouTube, quality will always be worth paying for.


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Bill DavisRe: Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 10:35:50 pm

[Seth Blaustein] "Crappy how-to videos will always be free on YouTube, quality will always be worth paying for."

Well, you seem to be convinced that your thinking in all of this is correct and some very experienced other opinions are wrong about it.

It's probably a lost cause, but because I'm an optimist I'll add my 2 cents.

You're arguing for a restrictive model for content distribution. I believe that in this era, that's doomed to failure. Today, the critical game isn't content restriction, it's audience building and reputation management.

If you're unwilling to understand that. There's not much we can do to help you.

So good luck.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Seth BlausteinRe: Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 11, 2012 at 10:57:07 pm

I don't understand where all of these assumptions you are making are coming from. First of all, I am grateful for all the advice here. Does that mean I need to agree?

What makes you think I am ignoring 'audience building and reputation management'? What makes you think I'm unwilling to understand it, given that it has not even been mentioned here and is an entirely other question (which I didn't ask).

I ask a simple question pertaining to media security and I get a flood of preachy tangents that don't answer my question in any way.

Yikes.

Thank you to Eric and Mads for actually directly attempting to answer my question.

I appreciate all of the opinions of experienced professionals, but please don't be so quick to assume that I don't have any knowledge in the topics you are diverting towards, which I have not asked you about.

Take care all, and thanks for the advice.


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walter biscardiRe: Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 13, 2012 at 2:04:06 pm

Any of those three options allow for sharing via websites. When the Creative Cow was selling my "Stop Staring, Start Grading with Apple Color" DVD it popped up on piracy sites within a few weeks. Know what happened? Not much. I still earned a good deal of money as the piracy sites didn't hurt anything.

I would not waste time with DVDs any longer.

Offer the digital download so people don't need an internet connection to view your work, or a combination streaming / download. You say it's a sports how-to series so my guess is people will want these videos on smart phones and / or tablets so they can have them wherever they practice. I do this with golf training videos watching the videos at the driving range or in my backyard with my practice net. Waiting for that to stream would be annoying in low bandwidth / high traffic areas.

One thought, develop a mailing list for all the registered folks. They receive an email blast notifying them of your new titles 2 weeks before you launch it publicly on your site. It's in a reserved area or cannot be seen unless you enter the code that was in the email. That gives them a value added reason to register / subscribe.

Piracy and sharing will happen. But if it's a good product, reasonably priced, you'll still earn your money. If anything, the free sharing will expose your product to a larger audience than those who just pay. That will lead to some people signing up to stay with the upcoming lessons.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Alan LloydRe: Digital Download security to prevent file-sharing?
by on Sep 23, 2012 at 10:08:42 pm

Really, the only protection where someone is paying for something is in the CEU (Continuing Education Unit) world, where the credit is the "dongle" needed. Anyone can watch, only those who have paid get the necessary professional continuing education credits.


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