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DRM Video Encryption Explained: Protect Your Content Now

DRM is all about managing access rights to digital content. It focuses on protecting video, and is available to people who have the right to access it.

Broadcast Operator , Content Distribution
The Zype Team22.12.20212 min read

If you’ve ever purchased some digital content, such as movies, music, or TV shows from the likes of Apple, Google, and/or Microsoft, you may have noticed that you weren’t able to transfer the files to another device (at least not easily, anyway). That’s because these files are protected by Digital Rights Management or DRM.

But what is DRM and how can you use it to potentially make some money from your video content?

What is DRM Video Encryption?

As its name suggests, DRM is all about managing the access rights to digital content. This includes audio, video, documents, games, and other digital content. DRM ensures such content is protected and only accessible by people who have the right to view, edit, download, and distribute it. 

DRM video encryption is a specific technology that focuses on protecting video, making it only available to people who have the right to access it. Once a video has been protected using DRM encryption, it will no longer be readily accessible by just anyone.

How DRM Works

In the case of DRM video encryption, video files are encrypted using software. Authentication systems then ensure that only people with the appropriate key are able to decrypt and access the video.

A simple way to think of it is to imagine the video file has been scrambled up and the decryption key provides a way of putting it all back together so it can be viewed. 

Where DRM video encryption differs from regular encryption, such as AES 128, HLS E, and RTMP E, is that it also serves to protect the actual key itself. At no time does the key get given to the user, reducing the chances of it being stolen or passed on. 

So even if someone managed to get hold of the key, if they weren’t the person who was supposed to be using it, the video would remain inaccessible. It’s this additional layer of security that makes DRM stand out above other video protection solutions.

What Is DRM-Protected Content?

As you might expect, many of the big tech companies have their own solutions to create DRM-protected content. Three in particular — Apple Fairplay, Google Widevine, and Microsoft Playready — collectively cover most platforms and browsers.

If you’ve ever bought and downloaded a movie or album from Apple’s iTunes Store, you’ll likely have found that you cannot then copy it to other devices. This is Apple Fairplay in action protecting the content from being shared in violation of its DRM license.

Google Widevine covers Chrome, Android TV, Android devices, and more, while Microsoft Playready supports Edge, Windows Mobile, Edge, and Windows operating systems.

Using DRM Video to Potentially Boost Your Income

Let’s say you’re a content creator who produces a range of video assets. Now, while some may be open for general online consumption, you could have others you want people to pay to access. For example, you might have a series of training videos or confidential material that should only be accessible to subscribers who pay a monthly or yearly fee.

While you could utilize less-secure video encryption technology, there’s no guarantee that your premium content will remain fully protected. But by taking advantage of DRM-protected video streaming, you can confidently rest assured that your premium content is safely secured from anyone who should not have access to it.

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