Skip to main content

Widevine Blocks Flash-Video Copying

Widevine Technologies developed a small piece of downloadable code that prevents Internet viewers from recording video delivered in Adobe Systems' Flash format, which has become the most popular online-video format.

Widevine CEO Brian Baker said the Flash copy-protection software has been in trials since January with "three of the five major U.S. broadcasters," declining to be more specific.

The technology allows programmers to deliver Internet video without fearing that someone will copy the content, strip out the ads and then repost it on a video-sharing site like YouTube, Baker said.

"Programmers want to take the brands they've spent millions of dollars developing over the years and go directly to consumers over the Internet," Baker said. "They want to protect their $20 CPMs," referring to the cost-per-thousand-homes advertising rate.

Using software available on the Internet, Baker added, it's easy to copy a Flash-based video and rip out the ads. Widevine's software can detect if a user is trying to use a tool to capture the video in a Flash stream and then either stop the stream or degrade it.

Adobe offers a security feature for Flash, but it's based on the Secure Sockets Layer standard, which protects data in transit over the Internet but does not prevent someone from copying the video once it has been downloaded to a PC.

Baker said the required client-side software is less than 50 kilobytes and the installation is "very transparent to the consumer." Video sites have made the Widevine DRM client available as an ActiveX control or bundled it into their Web-video players, he added.

Investors in Seattle-based Widevine include Bear Stearns, Constellation Ventures, Cisco Systems, Charter Ventures, Dai Nippon Printing, Macrovision, PaceSetter Capital Group, Phoenix Partners, Telus and VantagePoint Venture Partners.