Securing .MP4 Video Files

Posted on 2016-11-13
Last Modified: 2016-11-25
Hi, I have to provide a training course made up of .mp4 video files to students in a secure format. By "secure format", I mean in a way that they cannot play them on any video player - other than the one that I'm providing to them for the course. (Its a custom application with a video player).

So, I provide my students the custom video player App and then I would like them to play the courseware videos on that custom player App.

My question is - how can I prevent them from viewing the .mp4 files on any other player? Is there a way for me to prevent them from using QuickTime or Windows Media Player?

Is there a way for me to use some custom or special sort of codec, so that my video files play ONLY on my custom video player?

Thank you for your help!

Question by:Mr_Fulano
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LVL 62

Expert Comment

ID: 41885975
I am thinking instead of controlling if the player and to maintain it, we can adopt the Secure delivery and restrict of downloading etc. See this

How is my video/audio secure?

CloudPlayer Pro offers several options for securing the multi-media content that it displays on your website. We can't explain all of the technical details of how we do things, but we can offer some general information about how we do it. If your videos are stored on a server that doesn't have secure streaming built in, we use encryption to contact the server and send connection and streaming commands to it.

If you examine the source code of any of the pages that are using CloudPlayer to play media streams, you will see one long string of uncrackable, encrypted code that is being sent to our servers, which in turn send commands to your video storage servers. No one can tell what the location of your files might be or how to connect to them.

Can your plugin to protect files from downloading?

Yes, that is the main purpose of the plugin. That is what we mean when we say 'secure' streaming. We prevent downloading of your content.

There can be tool to DRM the files but that involves having to run a DRM server and etc. The concept is there are keys that encrypt the files and keys tbat the player can be the only one to open and process the files.

While DRM is the most secure form of content protection, it’s really only suitable for large organizations, owing to its cost and complexity. DRM solutions use special cryptographic algorithms when encoding to ensure that only individuals with the proper credentials are able to decrypt and view the content, and often only after being authenticated by a DRM server or for a specified period of time. Not surprisingly, vendors charge a pretty penny for the software ($40,000+ in licensing fees are not uncommon), and this says nothing about the cost of maintaining and running the necessary server hardware.

Author Comment

ID: 41886235
Hi BTan, thank you, but this solution seems to be "server based", which will not work for me. I need something that they can use off-line, hence my custom App for viewing.

What I need is a way to lock the video files so ONLY my player can use them.

LVL 62

Assisted Solution

btan earned 500 total points
ID: 41886355
I understand that which is why  I suggested the cloud service which you see otherwise. Just to share why I suggested it (if you are interested)
-First off, creating your own is a non-trivial undertaking. So using this approach to restrict the playing is not optimal
-Secondly, to restrict playing required a unique binding of the player appl and the raw video (mp4), creating proprietary is non-trival and subjected to reverse engineering if the keys (or license) and codes are not well protected against RE.
- Lastly, there is tool that does this binding of player and video but it is using the provider player and not yours. See this

Regardless, I am thinking for your offline case, it is more of DRM hence maybe looking at some sort of Open DRM as option. There is one called OpenIPMP for mp4 and mp2. It includes Includes CA, PKI, DOI mgmt, ISMA streaming, license server, encoding/encryption, player, plugin architecture, etc. I have not looked into that but as shared it is non-trivial for such development.

Another is go for SDK approach instead of the big bang architecture shared earlier. For example, to use the SDK for some sort of "mp4encrypt" and "mp4decrypt" - see Bento for the example.

Another candidate is StarForce Studio which allows you to protect and package for distribution, but you need to use the StarForce Media Player. But what is good still it allows customisation with logo etc. I see that this may be a better option from the above mentioned as it does not have any development or scripting effort per se. For e.g.
Protection features

Protection of multimedia files against illegal copying and distribution.
Protection of unlimited number of files.
Protection against capturing the screen by home and professional tools.
Protection of updates of an already protected product.
Player GUI customization.
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Accepted Solution

Mr_Fulano earned 0 total points
ID: 41895306
Hi Btan, I'm not sure this is going to have a solution at this time. I need to do more research. - A cloud service is not practical for what I want to do.

I'm going to close the question and award you the points, because you did try to help!

LVL 62

Expert Comment

ID: 41895326
Thanks for sharing.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 41901384

Featured Post

Is Your Active Directory as Secure as You Think?

More than 75% of all records are compromised because of the loss or theft of a privileged credential. Experts have been exploring Active Directory infrastructure to identify key threats and establish best practices for keeping data safe. Attend this month’s webinar to learn more.

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