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Content Protection, Security and DRM

We frequently get asked questions like…

“Can DAP protect my Videos/PDF’s/Audio files from being copied? Is there some kind of tracking that I can build into my videos that will let me track the video on torrent sites?”

“Can DAP prevent people from downloading my videos/audio/pdf and uploading it to a torrent or third-party site?”

“Can DAP force people to only watch my videos online? I don’t want my members to download any of my content to their hard disk – I want to force them to see/read/hear/watch everything online.”

Short Answer: No.

Long Answer: Keep reading…

The Nitty-Gritty

There are so many ways to steal your content from your web site – no matter what technology you use.

Let us explain what that means…

1) Let’s say you implement a technology where only paying members can even get to your videos. Like you can already do with DAP. So then a paying member can download your video because they are already a paying member, and they actually have access to the videos. And once your video has been downloaded to their hard disk, you have lost all control over it – no matter what anyone tells you, that’s the truth. Because they can upload it to any illegal warez sharing site, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Of course, you could spend all your time, money and efforts monitoring the thousands of illegal sharing sites whether your video or ebook is found anywhere – assuming you can even find it in the first place, which would be like finding a needle in a hay stack – no, make that “hay factory” – wait, make that “finding a needle in New York City” – and then write to those site owners and ask them to take it down.

Or you could focus on the 99% of legitimate members of your site, and create great content for them, and keep them paying month after month, and sell more products to them, and keep them happy.

2) Let’s say you use a plugin that only allows true-streaming – like one based on Amazon CloudFront technology, that will not allow the users to directly download your videos, but force them to watch online only. Then there’s any number of “screen-capture” tools – even free ones – that your members can use to capture another video of your video, and then share it with their friends, or upload to illegal sharing sites.

The list goes on and on. No matter how hard you make it, there’s always going to be a way around.

So, unless you’re a NASA, NetFlix, or Amazon or Apple who has a real reason to protect their content that is worth real millions of dollars, there is *no technology* available today that will let you track a video or pdf *after* it has been downloaded. If someone is saying they can do this, then they’re outright lying to you, and playing on your fears.

DAP already has a built-in password-sharing prevention security built in. If someone tries to share their account info with others, DAP will lock their account the moment their account gets log-ins from multiple IP’s (you can configure this setting) and deny further access to any of their content, until you investigate the user and “un-lock” their account.

DAP already protects all of your media from illegal access.

DAP also prevents your Amazon S3 videos and audio and other content from being accessed by anyone directly. Using a script like http://S3MediaVault.com , you can make it such that your videos and audio and other media can only be downloaded from approved sites (where the plugin is installed), and then on top of that, there’s DAP already sitting like a monster watch-dog, making sure only authorized users can even get into the site in the first place.

So hope that helps if you’ve gotten too worried about protecting your content – so worried that you’re missing the big picture.

Don’t Forget What Is Important (Hint: It starts with “Mem” and ends with “bers”)

The best membership sites allow people to consume the content they’ve paid for in multiple ways – view the video, download the video, download mp3 audio version of the video, download the presentation as a powerpoint, download the transcripts as a PDF, and so on.

Instead of making it easy for your members to download the content, if you’re going to spend your limited resources trying to figure out how to prevent people from downloading content that they’ve actually paid for, and force people to only view your content online and not be able to view it offline (like in their spare time or when going for a jog in the park), you run the risk of upsetting 99% of your legitimate paying members, in order to secure your content from the 1% of pirates, who will steal and share your content no matter what.

So forget about the 1%, and focus on the 99%. DAP already has enough security in place to stop the 1%. So don’t worry about that. Your content is very secure with DAP.

Anything else is just a total waste of your time. So don’t get distracted by the noise, and just get on with the real important tasks on hand: Building a long-term recurring income stream by building a large community of highly satisfied, loyal fans who are thrilled about what you have to offer, and will continue to pay month after month because whatever it is that you’re selling, is making their life better in some way.

The hardest thing to do online, with a membership site is still this: Creating great content, Attracting buyers, and then getting your members to keep paying month after month.

And that, is the big picture.

31

Mailchimp Integration

Subscriber Flow

The flow of subscriber is “FROM DAP TO Mailchimp“. User signs up at DAP first, then DAP automatically adds the user to Mailchimp list.. Admin removes the user’s access to a product, and DAP automatically removes the user from Mailchimp list. This feature is available starting DAP v4.1.

How it works

[s3mv]mailchimp.mp4,640,378,false,false[/s3mv]

1. Login to your account at http://admin.mailchimp.com/account/api/ and note down the API Key.

Image 1:

2. Go to http://admin.mailchimp.com/lists/ and grab your List’s Unique Id. Click the “settings” link for the list – the Unique Id is at the bottom of that page.

Image 2:

3. Log in to your DAP Admin Dashboard -> Products Page and select the product (whose members you wish to add automatically to your Mailchimp list.

4. If the list Id of the mailchimp list that you want to integrate with a DAP product/membership is say “ffffffffff”, and say your Mailchimp API Key is ‘ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff-us2’ then add the following to the “Notify Plugin upon User -> Product Activation (Add)” in DAP products page and HIT Save/Update Product.

mailchimp:ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff-us2:ffffffffff

Image 3:

That’s it!

Save the product and this completes the DAP->Mailchimp integration.

How This Works

So let’s say you picked the list “ffffffffff” in your Mailchimp account, and the DAP Product “Example Subscription Product” (as shown in the screenshots above).

So once you add “mailchimp:ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff-us2:ffffffffff” to the product’s “Notify plugin upon user->product activation” and “Notify plugin upon user->product de-activation” field and save it, every time someone gets access to the “Example Subscription Product” product (regardless of whether they buy it, or you give them access on the backend), DAP will  automatically  add them to the list – ffffffffff. And everytime you remove the user’s access to product (click on ‘Remove’ in DAP manage users page), DAP will automatically remove the user from the list.

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14

Storing and Protecting Video, Audio and Other File Formats

=> Click here to see a demo of the latest S3MediaVault video/audio player

Q1: What’s the difference between storing files on Amazon S3 (and serving it using the S3MediaVault.com plugin), compared to storing the files right on your own web site and having DAP serve them directly to your members?

A: If all files are stored right on your web site, and you have a large amount of video, audio and other files, then a lot of people viewing and downloading them from your site will use up a lot of resources on your server – like site loading time, server memory, server bandwidth, etc – and your site could slow down considerably. Plus, on top of that, there are also bandwidth charges that your host will charge you with for all of those downloads, which are usually not very cheap.

And don’t put too much faith in your web host’s “Unlimited Bandwidth” clause, because if you read the fine-print carefully, you’ll see that as per their TOS, if you consume large amounts of bandwidth and use too much of the server resources, this could cause other web sites (belonging to others) on the same server to slow down and have a degrade in performance, especially if you are on a shared hosting account. And they could consider this abuse of their TOS, and could either slap you with huge bandwidth or server utilization fees, or may even ask you to take your web site elsewhere because you’re causing issues for other site owners on the same server.

Instead, if the files are stored on Amazon S3, then you don’t have to worry about your site slowing down, or you using up too much bandwidth and getting slapped with huge bandwidth fees, because the files are being served from Amazon’s huge S3 servers which have tons more resources and speed compared to your web host.

Plus in the long run, bandwidth is cheaper on S3 compared to your web host.

 

Q2: Can DAP protect content stored on an external site, like Amazon S3?

A: Not directly, not by itself. By default, DAP can only protect files (and any other content) that is on the same web site where DAP is also installed. For large files, we do recommend that you store files on a fast, scalable file server like Amazon S3. Now, the page or post itself (in which you post that Amazon S3 link) can be protected by DAP, and no un-authorized user can even see the content of the page (or the link within that page).

However, once a user has authorized access to a page because they’re a member, now they can see the page where you have that Amazon S3 link.

It’s similar to posting a public YouTube video on a protected DAP page on your web site. Sure, DAP can protect the page from un-authorized users, but authorized users can actually see the page, and see that it’s a YouTube video, and clicking on that video will directly take them to a page on YouTube.com, which DAP has no control over, and cannot protect once they leave your web site.

Similarly, DAP cannot directly protect that external link to your file stored on Amazon S3. And that’s where our Amazon S3 plugin S3MediaVault.com (S3MV) comes into the picture.

S3MV can make sure that your files on Amazon S3 cannot be accessed directly by anyone, even if the link were shared with others via email or on a forum, and can ONLY be accessed through a page or post on your web site (web site where you have installed the S3MV WordPress plugin).

NOTE: The S3MV plugin is included for free with your purchase of any DAP license, starting with the Unlimited-site license and above.

 

Q3: Can S3MediaVault prevent members from downloading the protected videos or audios?

A: S3MediaVault is not a “true streaming” solution. Which means, it doesn’t stream videos in real time, but rather, plays the video by buffering the file as the viewer is watching the video. And that’s the right way to do it, if you care about your viewers.

This means your viewers will be able to rewind, even put the video on pause (especially for large videos), so that it keeps buffering in the background, and then come back and watch it later when it has fully “loaded” , so that they won’t experience any real-time buffering. This is very useful for viewers that don’t have fast internet connections.

What this also means, is that anyone who watches your video, can also use free, browser plugins (like DownloadHelper) that allow you to download a video that you’re watching in your browser. This is not a security breach. They are able to download it to their computer, only because they currently already have been given authorized access to the video/audio itself.

Please remember that anything that is accessible online – like audio, or video – can always be easily downloaded to the viewer’s desktop. There are many different ways in which you can download what you are viewing in your browser. The bottom-line is this: If a video or audio is able to be viewed in a browser, it can easily be downloaded – or “recorded” using screen-capture solutions like Camtasia, or audio capturing solutions like Audacity), and then saved – to the viewer’s computer.

S3MediaVault makes sure no one can directly access your files from your S3 account, and can only play or view it from your site (where the S3MediaVault plugin is installed).

Then combine that with the Page/Post protection of DigitalAccessPass (DAP),which can make sure only certain people (like paid members, or free but registered users) can access the post or page where the S3MediaVault embed code is published.

Combine DAP + S3MediaVault, and you would have now completely locked down your content from any and every kind of un-authorized and illegal access.

So once someone has paid for your content (or registered for it), and are authorized users who have a right to view or hear that content, it’s OK that they get to download what they’re eligible for, to their computer, for offline use (like during their morning walk, or on the treadmill, or in their car, or when standing in line at the theme park!)

We don’t believe it is a good idea for you to completely prevent even your legitimate, paying members from downloading your videos. After all, they’ve paid for it, and should be able to download it and watch it offline (like on their mobile device, ipad, iphone, etc).

In fact, the best membership sites that we’ve seen, and have helped set up, offer the content in multiple ways: Download the videos for playback later universally on all devices (mp4), download audio version of this video (mp3), download the transcript of the video (PDF), etc.

The more you make it easier for your members to consume your content, the more they will love being a member, and stay with you longer.

If you absolutely must have “streaming” videos that viewers cannot download at all (and also cannot easily buffer ahead and play at their own convenience), then we recommend Vimeo.com/pro.

19

Protecting Videos

There are many ways in which you can protect videos.

Case 1: The video file is stored on your web site

By default, DAP can only protect files that are stored on the same web site where DAP is installed.

So if you install DAP on YourSite.com , then your files must also be located on YourSite.com. DAP installed on YourSite.com cannot protect files (.mp4, .mp3, .html, .pdf, .doc) that are stored on AnotherSite.com.

So assuming the files are stored on the same site as DAP, you can (and should) protect both the actual video file, as well as the blog post or page in which the embed-code for your video is published, by adding both to a Product.

This gives you 2 levels of protection for your videos:

Level 1: The blog post or page containing the video player code, itself is accessible only by authorized members.
Level 2: When an authorized user gets legitimate access to the page where the video is published (because they’re a paying member, say), even if they try to do a view source and figure out the location of the video (eg., http://yoursite.com/videos/howtovideo1.mp4) , and pass it around by email to their friends (or post the link in an online forum), their friends still can’t view the video, because the video link itself is protected by DAP.

If you have some text that you want the casual visitor (and Google) to read, but wish to protect only the video, then you could turn Sneak-Peek on (in Setup > Config > Advanced), insert a WordPress more tag (<!–more–>) into your post just where you want the content to start being protected, and put the video player’s embed code after the more tag.

Case 2: Video file is stored on Amazon S3

The only 3rd-party-stored video files that DAP can protect at this time are videos (and other files) that are stored on Amazon S3. DAP cannot do this by itself, but uses a special WordPress plugin called S3MediaVault.com , which is a plugin we developed specifically to make Amazon S3 videos play in your WordPress blog posts/pages. So again you get 2 levels of protection for your videos…

Level 1: DAP protects the post/page where the special S3MV video player code is embedded
Level 2: The S3MediaVault plugin makes sure that even if someone tried to do a view source and figure out the actual link to your Amazon S3 video, they still won’t be able to view the video.

WARNING: Video stored on other 3rd party video sites

DAP cannot protect, say, videos that are embedded from other 3rd party web sites like YouTube or Hulu. Of course, DAP can always protect the blog post or page itself that contains the video, but once an authorized user gets valid access to that blog page, they can see that it is a YouTube video (say), and then pass that YouTube video link to their friends, in which case DAP cannot protect that external YouTube video link.

Check out my podcast episode at http://subscribeme.fm/video-hosting-for-your-membership-site/ which goes into detail about video hosting for your membership site.