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I'm making video files for my students sharing these files with them via dropbox. What I want to do is, to prevent illegal copy of these files. In other words my service is paid, and currently one person can pay for it then share with others for free. I want to protect my files from being shared.

I have no idea what can I do? Any suggestions?

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Is it possible for you to watermark these files? (Make several versions with a small change in them. Only allow one person to download her or his own version). If that is to big you might be able to tell your students that you did this so they are less inclined to share them. –  Hennes Jul 14 '12 at 1:23
    
So you basically aren't sharing knowledge, you are selling it. Fine with me. But is it ethical to ask for free advice on this site instead of paying someone who's earning a living from distributing copyrighted content? Filesharing seems to be a sensitive topic nowadays and I'm afraid you're looking for a strictly technical solution for a legal problem, which makes it complicated. –  AnonymousLurker Aug 21 '12 at 19:37

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It's even worse than Salmonerd portrays. If they can watch it they can make a screen capture of it. The quality won't be as good but it would still be watchable.

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Excellent point. CAMRips ftw! :D –  AnonymousLurker Aug 21 '12 at 19:38

The only way to prevent your video files from being shared is if you are not sharing them as files. Just like Netflix you will need to figure out some sort of way to let people watch them in a Silverlight or Flash player. This way they get to watch the video, but they never get access to the actual file. You can google "Streaming Video Services" to see companies that will do this for you, but that may cost you more money than you want to spend. To free way to do this is to create a Youtube account and then make the videos private and share them with only people that you want. Standard youtube videos can still be downloaded via external sources so you may need to do some research in how to prevent this from happening.

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[Y]ou may need to do some research in how to prevent this from happening. That can't be done. There are a number of programs that let you download every YouTube video there is. –  Dennis Jul 13 '12 at 20:47
    
If my computer can see it, read it or hear it... I can copy it. like @Dennis said, security is mostly just a deterrent and delaying tactic. Given enough time, you can break anything. –  lornix Jul 14 '12 at 19:32

The short answer is, once a file leaves your control, you have no ability to protect that file. If there was a solution to this problem, there wouldnt be issues with piracy.

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Piracy is attacking ships. –  AnonymousLurker Aug 21 '12 at 19:39

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