Securing Digital Video


Content protection and digital rights management (DRM) are fields that receive a lot of attention: content owners require systems that protect and maximize their revenues; consumers want backwards compatibility, while they fear that content owners will spy on their viewing habits; and academics are afraid that DRM may be a barrier to knowledge sharing. DRM technologies have a poor reputation and are not yet trusted.

This book describes the key aspects of content protection and DRM systems, the objective being to demystify the technology and techniques. In the first part of the book, I build the foundations, with sections that cover the rationale for protecting digital video content; video piracy; current toolboxes that employ cryptography, watermarking, tamper resistance, and rights expression languages; different ways to model video content protection; and DRM. In the second part, I describe the main existing deployed solutions, including video ecosystems; how video is protected in broadcasting; descriptions of DRM systems, such as Microsoft’s DRM and Apple’s FairPlay; techniques for protecting prerecorded content distributed using DVDs or Blu-ray; and future methods used to protect content within the home network. The final part of the book looks towards future research topics, and the key problem of interoperability.

While the book focuses on protecting video content, the DRM principles and technologies described are also used to protect many other types of content, such as ebooks, documents and games. The book will be of value to industrial researchers and engineers developing related technologies, academics and students in information security, cryptography and media systems, and engaged consumers.

I hope that you will enjoy this book. Would you have any questions, or would you like more information, do not hesitate to contact me at this address.


The book is published by Springer and is available. It can be puchased here.

Readers’ comments

“The book is well written and timely, as content owners are struggling to protect their content and prevent loss of revenue. Much of the book is written in a manner suitable for novices to information security and content protection. The book will be useful for information security practitioners, researchers, faculty, students, and end users. Based on his rich research experience – he holds many patents in the field of digital content security – the author is well qualified to write this book. … I strongly recommend this book for its intended audience.”

[S.V. Nagaraj, ACM Computing Reviews, 2013]

… I greatly appreciated the effort you have done to demystify DRM and content protection. Being a professional in a technology company myself, I find it a very valuable resource to point colleagues to who are not as familiar with the challenges of premium video distribution…


The gem of the book is Chapter 7 “Protection in Unicast/Multicas which contains valuable information on the security feature of DRM (especially Microsoft’s DRM) that can not be found anywhere, Chapter 4 “Modeling Content Protection” presents “the four-layer model” which is original and very helpful to understand the whole idea of DRM, “The Devil’s in the Details” session in each chapter is also quite inspiring and entertaining, overall a very good book …


This book gives an in depth overview of Digital Video in a wide range of areas. Easy to understand. Great for someone new, or for a refresher.


First of all, congratulations for your great book about securing digital video, it covers several parts where the documentation out there is non existing. I’m just wondering if you are planning on a future update for covering new protocols, etc,

S.S., 2015


there are not that many good books with the right mix of concept and practice in this field

M.V., 2015

Table of Content

Why Protecting video?

  • Introduction
  • Copyright Issues
  • Business issues
  • A Brief Overview of Digital Piracy

A Tool Box

  • Different Needs, Different Tools
  • Cryptography
  • Digital Watermarking
  • Fingerprinting
  • Hardware Tamper-Resistance
  • Software Tamper-Resistance
  • Rights Expression Language
  • Compliance and Robustness Rules

Modeling Content Protection

  • Introduction to Different Models
  • Functional Model
  • Transactional Model
  • Architectural Model
  • The Four-Layer Model

The Current Video Ecosystem
Protection in Broadcast

  • The Broadcast Flag
  • Pay TV: the Ancestor
  • How Pay TV Works
  • DVB
  • DVB-CI/CI+
  • OpenCable CableCARD

Protection in Unicast/Multicast

  • DRM
  • Microsoft DRM
  • Apple Fairplay
  • Adobe Flash Access
  • OMA
  • Marlin
  • Some Other Players

Protection of Pre-Recorded/Recordable Medium

  • Anti-Ripping
  • CSS
  • MagicGate
  • Blu-ray discs
    • AACS
    • Sequence Keys
    • BD
    • Watermarks

Protecting Within the Home

  • The Home Network Problem
  • Termination of DRM/CAS
  • DTCP
  • HDCP
  • The Analog Hole

Digital Cinema
The Next Frontier: Interoperability

    • Why Interoperability?
    • Different Types of Interoperability
      • The Vertical Approach
      • The Horizontal Approach
      • The Plug-In Approach
      • The Translation Approach
      • Interoperable Rights Locker

Current Initiatives

    • Coral
    • Portable Interoperable File Format (PIFF)
    • DECE and UltraViolet
    • KeyChest
    • DMP
  • Specific Problems
    • Transcoding of Encryption
    • Usage Rights Translation
  • Drawbacks

Some Challenges/Goodies

  • Open-Source DRM
  • Clear Content DRM
  • DRM and Game Theory


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *