I have a problem, something I'm sure a lot of video sharing companies might have. I want to start a small business by offering online video-based training courses on Microsoft Office and other office software in my town on my native language. The problem is, I'm planning to start offering cheap suscriptions for all-access to all the videos, maybe $for 5 dollars a month to get more people interested...however, I know my target audience, and I'm sure they will quickly resort to wanting to download the videos to stop paying, and who knows, maybe even share them on some site and make them public ruining my business...

My question is, is there a video format, or a way to embed, I don't know, a video file so that it cannot be downloaded for offline playback? Maybe using flash files in some remote server? I don't know...I just need a way to play videos on a web browser, that won't allow any form of downloading for offline playback and distribution. Please help guys, I'm kid of struggling to make enough money to pay for college already.

[edit] Thanks for all the information everyone...It seems there is no right answer for this, so let me rephrase the problem.

I'm going to be dealing with people with little to no knowledge of advanced computer usage. My target audience consists of 18-23 year old college students that only use their computers for Facebook, playing candy crush, watching youtube videos and doing their homework. I know most of them are now aware of how to download videos from the internet, but their knowledge is very limited (and by that, I mean sites like KEEPVID.COM or youtube-mp3.org). Most don't even know screen capture software exists, or how to get it, so I'm hoping to use that "naive" characteristic to some use.

So ok. I CAN'T stop my videos from being downloaded, but is there a way to, as I said, make it harder, say...stop sites that download the actual video file hosted/embedded? I don't mind if you can still download the video with some tricks, I just wan't my target audience to have a hard time figuring it out. Right answer goes to the most useful answer, since there is no right answer.

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    The client has to be able to download the video in order to play it, and a malicious client could just keep the download. Your best bet is to look into DRM solutions, which are annoying, but necessary in your business.
    – heavyd
    Oct 31, 2013 at 17:44
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    Even if you find some magic software, they can always record the screen with a camera.
    – daxlerod
    Oct 31, 2013 at 17:57
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    There is NO WAY to completely prevent people from pirating your video. There's always a way for them to grab it. I'd suggest doing one or two videos, sell them without DRM, and then see how it goes. You can't stop all the pirates anyway, and if you can make money on the deal, then the fact that some pirates are getting a free ride may not be as big a problem as it at first appears. Oct 31, 2013 at 18:00
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    Yes @Louis I understand and agree with you (I was under the false impression that Hulu also used Silverlight). The moral of this discussion is that if content is viewed on a computer/computing device that is available to the mass public then it is as good as Pirated
    – MonkeyZeus
    Oct 31, 2013 at 18:03
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2 Answers 2


If there was an easy, good working solution to this, then Hollywood would already have used it. There is none, since the person has to receive the movie in order to see it. You can do this in two ways:

  1. Unencrypted. Works always. No hassle for the user.
  2. In a proprietary/encrypted format, along with your own player. You will have to provide that player to the person who needs to play the video. So you will need to make something (and keep it updated) which works on all devices your clients will watch the video's from. (Windows, OSX, IOS, Android, ... possible several other operating systems).

The last is a lot of work and that will be broken in time. It might also fail to work on business computers where the client has insufficient rights to install a custom player.

So basically, there is no one, good solution.

The best you can do might be to watermark the movies so that you can trace who leaked it take them to court. (Or at the very use the threat of that to prevent people from doing that in the first place).

  • I was kinda expecting that answer...and yes, if there was a way, it's kind of obvious they would have done it. My question now is, is there some sort of work around to, I don't know, give people harder time downloading it? Or a way to host a video so that popular video downloading websites won't work (Example. Keepvid.com). Also, about the creating my own propietary video format, yeah, simple solution I tought before, but requires a LOT of work so I won't be doing that sadly...And about the Unecrypted, what do you mean by that??? any tips of how I can google some tutorials on doing this?
    – sgarcia
    Oct 31, 2013 at 18:03
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    There are lots of ways, but all of them are flawed. Either they can and will be broken or they require really restrictive measures. The last will stop a lot of people from using it. (e.g. download and install a player. SMS to a number to get a playback key which works for 30 minutes. Install the key in the viewer and quickly view the video.)
    – Hennes
    Oct 31, 2013 at 18:15

You are probably looking for DRM in HTML. Have a look at this similar question SO:is there a way to use DRM on HTML5...

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