DRM with castLabs and WebRTC

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Digital rights management (DRM), love it or hate it, is a necessary part of the video streaming puzzle. Content owners are justifiably concerned that their content, which in many cases is their core product, will be pirated.   Red5 Pro has teamed up with castLabs, a leader in digital video delivery solutions, to produce an… Continue reading DRM with castLabs and WebRTC

Digital rights management (DRM), love it or hate it, is a necessary part of the video streaming puzzle. Content owners are justifiably concerned that their content, which in many cases is their core product, will be pirated.   Red5 Pro has teamed up with castLabs, a leader in digital video delivery solutions, to produce an option for DRM that retains the real-time streaming speed our customers rely on.

Unlike most of its streaming protocol predecessors, WebRTC took encryption into account as part of its design. Most of the older protocols bolted on encryption only after people rightfully pointed out that streaming unencrypted content across the Internet was no longer an acceptable practice. WebRTC’s encryption keeps the data secure between users and servers, preventing the man in the middle from gaining access to the content, but it doesn’t protect the content once it reaches the end user’s device. Users have access to a variety of easy-to-install applications that can record video data once it reaches the system. For example, youtube-dl has been a thorn in YouTube’s side for decades now and continues to be one of the easiest ways to download a YouTube video.

And therein lies our problem. Content owners want to deliver low latency streams. WebRTC is one of the best ways to do this, but they can’t use it because their policies require DRM. Use cases like sports betting are severely hindered by this, as content owners in this industry are especially concerned about piracy. Other streaming scenarios, like live entertainment events, will also benefit from this added protection.

Enter castLabs with DRM for WebRTC. castLabs uses industry-standard DRM schemes like Widevine, PlayReady, FairPlay, and ClearKey to encrypt the WebRTC stream, with Widevine being the most attractive because of its support in Chrome and Edge across platforms. The encrypted stream can flow through WebRTC systems without issues. To those without the custom JavaScript module that uses Media Source Extensions to decrypt, the stream looks garbled and is unwatchable, while to those with the module and access to the DRM key, the stream looks as it should. Because of the method castLabs is using, no modifications to the streaming infrastructure need to be made to support DRM.

Red5 Pro integrates with castLabs DRM at two crucial points in our system. On the player side, the castLabs JavaScript module is integrated with the Red5 Pro WebRTC player. Using this player, the viewer, with the appropriate access to the DRM key, can watch the unencrypted stream. Should they try to view it without the JavaScript module or the key, they will get a garbled video. If the stream is encrypted using WideVine, FairPlay, or PlayReady, the stream is further protected from video screen scrapers – when you try to record with one you get a black window where the video is displayed in the recording.

“As a leader for content protection in multiple industries, castLabs is committed to helping our customers protect their videos over all of their platforms,” comments James Hynard, Sales Manager at castLabs. “Innovating alongside Red5 is an exciting opportunity to open the door to secure WebRTC streams and allow operators to expand ever deeper into distributing premium low latency content”.

On the server side, Red5 Pro supports castLabs by integrating the castLabs encryptor as a Brew for the Cauldron media engine. This allows the use of a standard encoder or web browser as the source encoder, even though these encoders are unaware of the DRM. The stream has DRM applied to it on the Red5 Pro cluster as it is being ingested and is then passed through the rest of the system and on to the viewers as an encrypted stream.

With Red5 Pro supporting DRM, new opportunities present themselves. Any content owners who are concerned that standard WebRTC does not protect their content well enough now have the same DRM options they had with other streaming protocols. In many cases, these DRM options have already been approved by the content owners alleviating one of the most significant barriers to adoption.

If you are ready to stream in real time and are concerned about piracy, Red5 Pro and castLabs can solve the problem. Reach out to schedule demo at info@red5.net or set up a call.