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    How to protect streaming video/audio from recording?

    In principle, there is no way to prevent a user from recording a video/audio stream that has been delivered to their computer. Screen capturing software and direct audio recording software will allow to record most of the streams. Thus, the efforts of broadcasters to prevent this consist of making the process of recording inconvenient, or illegal, or both.

    Making recording process inconvenient
    The best ways to protect your media content are:

    • Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology;
    • Usage of unpublished data formats and transport protocols.

    Some streams (like MoveMediaPlayer video files) can't be recorded by current Streaming Media Recording software. Of course, data formats and transport protocols can be reverse engineered, so the most popular and widespread formats and protocols not supported now will probably be supported by the next generation of software.

    Luckily even simple measures can prevent many internet users from recording. Just make metafiles password-protected or hide them using JavaScript, Flash, ActiveX, etc. Or use embedded players with right click disabled. This will prevent users from opening streams in a regular player and getting stream URLs easily. Note that experienced users can overcome this measure by using URL Finder software.

    You may also try to check User-Agent. While the latest software allows you to change it, some users know nothing about this feature or don't know that it should be changed for some streams.

    Take into account unique player ID used for Windows Media streams. Some recorders do not send such IDs to the server.

    Use time stamps in URLs. The stream URL expiration will prevent recording by some users.

    Use session variables so that the users can't resume downloading or can't even start downloading.

    Use cookies because the majority of stream recorders do not understand them.

    Prohibit downloading using multiple threads. You may stop downloading at all in case of revealing the attemps to download using multiple threads. This measure is not very effective, but still can be used.

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    Note: Streaming audio/video recorders are not intended for use in circumventing copy protection mechanisms or for making illegal copies of copyrighted content. Please respect the rights of the content owners when recording.