Web Security

Keeping OTT Content Secure: Why Is DRM Not Enough?

May 8th, 2020 | By Jscrambler | 3 min read

If DRM is such a widely adopted and robust solution, why is piracy still a growing threat to OTT providers?

The main goal of DRM is to prevent unauthorized access to OTT content. However, once DRM has done its job, we are left with a user streaming (legitimately accessed) content on his device. And just like that, things can still go south.

The protected layer and the display where content is viewed don't have an extra layer of protection. This means the user can capture the content and then illegitimately redistribute it. All this occurs in a very similar way to the still-common issue of someone recording at the movies.

Malicious users often exploit this by either directly recording from their video or sound card or using other techniques to record their screen in a way that retains as much of the quality of the content as possible. Then, it's a matter of illegally distributing this content on any of the several existing piracy platforms.

Providers need more anti-piracy solutions to track malicious users. These needs grow when providers face piracy scenarios. And that can be achieved with one or more techniques of watermarking.

Watermarking Techniques

The general concept of watermarking is relatively well-known. Add an identifier to a proprietary piece of content (image, sound, text, video, etc.) to identify the owner of the content or the origin of the leaked content.

An example of this most common type of watermarking (visual watermarking) is shown below.

Forensic Watermarking

In digital media, forensic watermarking refers to embedding metadata inside target digital content. This usually includes details of the authenticity and integrity of the digital content and relevant metadata such as copyright ownership or user identification.

This technique is widely used to identify the origin of leaked content. When watermarked content is leaked and found to be used in the wild, providers can analyze the watermark to recover the relevant metadata that will allow investigation teams to track down the origin of the leak and stop that source of piracy (for example, by blocking the account that originated the leak).

It should be noted that, unlike DRM, which protects against content hijacking, watermarking does not prevent content from being stolen.

Forensic watermarking is typically not a standalone solution but rather a much-needed complement to DRM in the fight against piracy.

And it may seem like we're again reaching the end of this topic. But there's still one key aspect of forensic watermarking that we must explore.

Jscrambler and the OTT Providers Security

Jscrambler engineers have worked closely with OTT providers and watermarking providers alike.

Together, we uncovered a threat: the risk of tampering with forensic watermarking solutions. This could lead attackers to remove the watermark and leak content without traceability.

For an in-depth analysis of this topic of security in OTT media delivery, read our free white paper.


The leader in client-side Web security. With Jscrambler, JavaScript applications become self-defensive and capable of detecting and blocking client-side attacks like Magecart.

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