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  1. Member
    Join Date: May 2014
    Location: UK
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    Hello,

    (I am not sure if this is the right section for my enquiry. If not, my apologies!)

    Is there a way to copy protect MP4 video files, on a tablet pc, in a "special" situation like the following:-

    I am required to supply a client with MP4 video files on a tablet pc.

    The tablet is actually supplied by us, so we have control on what is placed on it.

    I was advised to research the following steps:

    1 - Somehow change the MP4 video format to something else (let's call it "XX" format for now!?).

    2 - Get the MAC address of the tablet pc (i.e. the Media Access Control address)

    3 - Find a special video player that will only play if the MAC address is identical to that of the tablet pc.

    4 - The video player, after checking first the MAC address, will play the video files in 'XX' format.

    Even if a user attempts to copy the player and files on to another device, that would fail, because the MAC address is different.

    Any help is really appreciated.

    Regards,

    David
    Last edited by tetrahall; 30th Jul 2014 at 00:16. Reason: Typing mistake corrected.
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  2. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2001
    Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
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    Can be done, but would be best if custom player app (which does check mac address) is compiled WITH the video file embedded (along with the necessary codecs). That way, all components are encapsulated within a single, monolithic, "portable" executable. Doesn't look for any other files or supporting structures.

    Of course, this wouldn't stop someone who knew how to spoof a mac address, nor someone who knew how to decompile an app and extract a media-formatted resource. But then there is always the old adage: "if it can be viewed, it can be copied!"

    Scott
    Last edited by Cornucopia; 30th Jul 2014 at 10:25.
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  3. Member
    Join Date: May 2014
    Location: UK
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    Thank you very much for the info. I am a complete newbie when it comes to App Programming.

    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Can be done, but would be best if custome player app (which does check mac address) is compiled WITH the video file embedded (along with the necessary codecs). That way, all components are encapsulated within a single, monolithic, "portable" executable. Doesn't look for any other files or supporting structures.
    Scott
    Are there any available player apps that could do that?

    You said " .. this wouldn't stop someone who knew how to spoof a mac address, nor someone who knew how to decompile an app and extract a media-formatted resource."

    True, but perhaps one could combine the mac address with some other mechanism (e.g. a master key , md5, etc..)

    Would greatly appeciate pointing me in the right direction.

    Regards,

    David
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  4. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2001
    Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
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    "Custome (sic) player app" -> custom means you will have to design, write, build/compile & test the app yourself (or someone you hire to do it for you).

    Again, all "mechanisms" have the weakness in that you are providing the user with both the puzzle, AND the keys to solving it, in a form that is under their control.

    That's as much "pointing you in the right direction" as I will do.

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  5. Member
    Join Date: May 2014
    Location: UK
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    Thank you for your reply. I will start looking for a programmer, as per your suggestion.

    As for the effectivess of the protection, I agree it wouldn't stop a determined person from 'solving the puzzple.'
    But, IMO, a large proportion of users don't know how to do that. it's better than nothing!

    Regards,

    David
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  6. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2001
    Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
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    Is it better than nothing?

    Not worth the (not insignificant) effort, IMO.

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  7. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: Freedonia
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    This thread is exactly why I question whether we should even provide minimal help for people who want to "protect" their precious videos.

    OK, MAYBE there is some good legal reason for this. MAYBE. Maybe the video is health related and for privacy reasons there needs to be some protection. I get that. But maybe this is just another videographer trying to milk a paying customer as many times as possible for a wedding video they were hired to make.
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  8. Member
    Join Date: May 2014
    Location: UK
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Is it better than nothing?

    Not worth the (not insignificant) effort, IMO.

    Scott
    I see what you mean, but it all depends.

    In this particular case, it is about a group of people - a small firm - who invested a lot of money, time and effort producing this language learning video. The target market is in countries where copyright laws are not respected (even non-existent). They make a living from selling these videos at a reasonable price.

    IMO, there is nothing wrong in trying to limit piracy. That is why they chose to supply the videos on tablet pc's, where they have more control over the content, unlike DVD's and CD's.

    Even large firms like Apple and Microsoft, to mention a couple only, have tried to achieve the same.

    Have a look at these:-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Access_Content_System

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FairPlay

    In any case, thanks once again for the input.

    David

    P.S. By the way, if you are interested in programming the above as a freelance job, please let me know .
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  9. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    I am quite familiar with both AACS & FairPlay, as well as many other DRM schemes.

    At this time I'm not interested in this kind of programming, sorry.

    If you really need to do it this way, and if your client base is assured of having network access, you could just use a system such as (or similar to) Ultraviolet.
    No need to re-invent the wheel.

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  10. Member
    Join Date: Oct 2004
    Location: Freedonia
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    That's a decent enough reason, but ultimately it is possible via various means to copy your product. AACS and FairPlay have both been cracked by the way.

    I know a lot about learning languages and I will simply say that everybody always thinks they have a way to "build a better mousetrap" (as we say in the USA) when it comes to learning languages, but almost always they involve a "one size fits all" approach that doesn't work for everybody (despite insisting that it WILL work for everybody) and few are really novel or better. Even the overhyped Rosetta Stone is considered by some to be deficient in various ways. Pimsleur works really well because, as the Russians say, "Repetition is the mother of learning", but it does NOTHING at all to teach you grammar so while you can remember specific sentences (I can still ask where a toilet is in Cantonese - which I've actually had use for), you may not be prepared to understand the responses you get or understand exactly how to construct sentences with minor changes from what you've learned or understand why one word has so many different forms (in an inflected language). And some people do very well with traditional grammar lessons as a basis for learning and others get so completely turned off by that approach that they learn nothing. In any event, you have a good enough reason and good luck with it.
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  11. Some other things you could do:

    Pre-encrypt the video file, if container is decompiled it still won't play if extracted.
    Use an obscure format/player. TMPGEnc PGMX CREATOR is new and practically unheard of. If it takes off I'll 'eat my hat', as they say.
    Dongles exist for a reason.
    If the programmer was ingenious he could create a secure system by having an encrypted key on a common usb stick and keyed to the tablet.

    Despite everything discussed here, if it's any good, your first release will likely become a torrent within a month. Good luck.
    Last edited by transporterfan; 30th Jul 2014 at 15:39.
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  12. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Biggest deterrent to pirated copies = SHITTY product!

    Dongle-based DRM is a good idea: allows for portability without extra copies. Much harder (though not impossible) to spoof.

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  13. Member
    Join Date: May 2014
    Location: UK
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    Thank you all (cornucopia, jman98, and transpoterfan) for the useful information.
    I will pass it on and see what they decide to do.

    One last point, please:-

    I was watching this video on BBC website last night http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28590103 and a thought occurred to me.

    One can actually play the video without downloading the actual video file onto the pc. I mean usually one finds video files (flv, avi, etc) in the "temporary internet folder". But in the case of the BBC none is found there.

    How do they manage this? Perhaps one could build on the same principle to limit piracy? !!
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  14. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2006
    Location: United States
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    Originally Posted by tetrahall View Post
    Thank you all (cornucopia, jman98, and transpoterfan) for the useful information.
    I will pass it on and see what they decide to do.

    One last point, please:-

    I was watching this video on BBC website last night http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28590103 and a thought occurred to me.

    One can actually play the video without downloading the actual video file onto the pc. I mean usually one finds video files (flv, avi, etc) in the "temporary internet folder". But in the case of the BBC none is found there.

    How do they manage this? Perhaps one could build on the same principle to limit piracy? !!
    The entire video file actually is sent to the PC in some way shape or form. People come here on a daily basis asking for help downloading videos from various websites, even the BBC sometimes. They usually succeed in obtaining the video they desire.

    The only video downloads that can't be successfully saved and subsequently played use some form of DRM, such as Microsoft's Silverlight encryption. Even then, screen recorder software can be used to obtain a copy, or outgoing audio and video connections on a PC or mobile device can be connected to a suitable capture device to obtain a copy.
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  15. Member
    Join Date: May 2014
    Location: UK
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    Many thanks for your reply.
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