Forensic watermarking tech negates hacker activity on premium OTT videos
Over-the-top platforms, like Netflix and Amazon Prime, use digital rights management (DRM) technology to manage users and restrict viewing rights of premium video streams to the legitimate users. It helps them control piracy. DRM technology uses AES format for encrypting video assets, which are decrypted only with the help of a license key. This technology also divides a video asset into blocks, so that only one block is decrypted at a time and damage is minimized in the event of piracy. However, the pirates have got smarter with time. Despite best efforts of OTT platforms and content owners, some premium HD content enters the piracy ecosystem which unauthorized users access and deny content owners their legitimate profits.
Among other things, hackers tend to exploit the digital to analog conversion in DRM protected content, especially at the level of the user device, also called the client. An avenue for leakage is created here because the encrypted content travels through the whole distribution chain but stands decrypted at the client’s end. Here, it is presented as an analog signal to the device player. Hackers exploit this juncture through sophisticated algorithms and capture the blocks of a video stream in the sequence at which it is played.
Hollywood studios are concerned about this because they stand to lose millions of dollars in revenue from their pricey and sleek movie content. The DRM industry has attempted to close this gap by adding video watermarking to its arsenal of security software. This is a more advanced function that embeds non-obtrusive text or codes in video frames that aren’t apparent to the human eye or easily identifiable by recording software.
There are four parts to forensic watermarking: (a) a copyright or ownership message to be encoded in each video frame (b) the host signal or video frame that is to be manipulated (c) a secret watermarking key to decrypt the watermark (d) a watermarked video frame.
In a full forensic watermarking structure, the ownership information should stay robust during the whole life-cycle of the video frame, even if the combinations of frames from the original video asset undergo resolution, transcoding, copying, or distributive distortions due to the hacker activity. The majority of major Hollywood studios expect OTT platforms to add not only multi-DRM measures to combat piracy, but also a powerful forensic-watermarking option so that their anti-piracy teams can readily discover how and from which users their premium content is pirated. As a result, many multi-DRM SaaS suppliers integrate the multi-DRM video protection function with the forensic-watermarking option in a single workflow to assist OTT platforms in meeting Hollywood studios’ requirements.