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Old December 21st, 2004, 10:51 AM   #1
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Constructing pay-per-view/subcription video websites?

Anyone have experience with constructing a website that would grant users access to videos via subscriptions or pay-per-view?

I'm an experienced ASP/SQL website/ecommerce developer and also have done loads of video compression for web using QuickTime and Windows Media based encoders, but I've never combined the two functions to limit the viewability of video clips based on paid access. Now I may have an oportunity developing that would be well suited for this technology.

Anyone have some thoughts? Suggestions? Resource links?
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Old December 21st, 2004, 11:12 AM   #2
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The porn people have the most experience in this.

They usually work with dynamically generated pages so there is no page link to actually steal if you are a pirate.
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Old December 21st, 2004, 11:36 AM   #3
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I figured those guys had to have SOME way to be making all that money on the net. :p

A dynamic page link, doesn't nessesarily hide the path to the video file, though. Granted, most users wouldn't go through the effort to comb through the web-page source code, but it's not that hard to do and it only takes one person's effort to steal the video for many potential customers.

(The application in this instance, BTW, is video of professional martial arts bouts & tournaments.)

I've developed secure web applications in the past where PDF files are stored within an SQL database. That works all fine and good for a small (500k-2Meg) PDF, but I'm not sure how effective that would be for videos as large as 100Megs each.

I suppose the video filenames could be regenerated with some random naming scheme on a nightly basis. Mmmmmmm.
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Old December 21st, 2004, 11:42 AM   #4
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Nick, you can probably run some kind of routine that obfuscates the file name as well. This would probably defeat anyone but the most dedicated pirate.
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Old December 21st, 2004, 12:07 PM   #5
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You can also secure the directory of the video files so that only your ASP/PHP or whatever code can pull the file can't you? Then http requests or whatever could be denied access. Or something along those lines?

If you don't allow FTP access, can't you just secure that directory from a direct connection via HTTP?

I'm not sure what your setup is, but this site might be helpful:
http://www.ondotnet.com/
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Old December 21st, 2004, 12:22 PM   #6
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Change the files names at random, with the link inside a secure DB. Build a unique link set for each user, and control access by location (cookie) as well as login. Password-protect directory, with the password inside the database, also changed frequently. Force all access thru a redirect page that verifies subscription data.

Its not just the link, but the logins you need to protect if you are that worried. BUt what keeps someone from just copying files to their own server? Are you going to use a streamer like RM?

You can't make anything 100% secure, but you can make it difficult...
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Old December 21st, 2004, 01:33 PM   #7
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Hi,

I've seen sites that uses WMV files with DRM(?) licenses. The license allows you to view the media for a period of time or a number of times.

Another way should be to have the media streaming - not downloadable. So they can buy tickets for a number of views (or period of time). Using SSL and dynamically created pages should be enough for most users.

You can never hinder anyone from "recording" the media with a screen-capturing program or via TV-out from the gfx-card...

Good luck!

// Lazze
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Old December 21st, 2004, 04:06 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the helpful input guys.

The MS DRM solution looks pretty cool. I wonder, though, if it works for people that use Macs and other non-MS computer systems. I think the vast majority of this audience would be on PC, but I'd be surprised if there weren't at least a few Mac owners in the audience.
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Old December 22nd, 2004, 04:58 AM   #9
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Lars: actually there are programs that allow you to directly download
a streaming file without any problems most of the times, yes
these comes from mms:// type of links and connections for example.
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