Prevent HTML5 video from being downloaded (right-click saved)?


How can I disable "Save Video As..." from a browser's right-click menu to prevent clients from downloading a video?

Are there more complete solutions that prevent the client from accessing a file path directly?

You can't. That's because that's what browsers were designed to do: Serve content. But you can make it harder to download.

First thing's first, you could disable the contextmenu event, aka "the right click". That would prevent your regular skiddie from blatantly ripping your video by right clicking and Save As. But then they could just disable JS and get around this or find the video source via the browser's debugger. Plus this is bad UX. There are lots of legitimate things in a context menu than just Save As.

You could also use custom video player libraries. Most of them implement video players that customize the context menu to your liking. So you don't get the default browser context menu. And if ever they do serve a menu item similar to Save As, you can disable it. But again, this is a JS workaround. Weaknesses are similar to the previous option.

Another way to do it is to serve the video using HTTP Live Streaming. What it essentially does is chop up the video into chunks and serve it one after the other. This is how most streaming sites serve video. So even if you manage to Save As, you only save a chunk, not the whole video. It would take a bit more effort to gather all the chunks and stitch them using some dedicated software.

Another technique is to paint <video> on <canvas>. In this technique, with a bit of JavaScript, what you see on the page is a <canvas> element rendering frames from a hidden <video>. And because it's a <canvas>, the context menu will use an <img>'s menu, not a <video>'s. You'll get a Save Image As instead of a Save Video As.

You could also use CSRF tokens to your advantage. You'd have your sever send down a token on the page. You then use that token to fetch your video. Your server checks to see if it's a valid token before it serves the video, or get an HTTP 401. The idea is that you can only ever get a video by having a token which you can only ever get if you came from the page, not directly visiting the video url.

At the end of the day, I'd just upload my video to a third-party video site, like YouTube or Vimeo. They have good video management tools, optimizes playback to the device, and they make efforts in preventing their videos from being ripped with zero effort on your end.


This is a simple solution for those wishing to simply remove the right-click "save" option from the html5 videos

$(document).ready(function(){
   $('#videoElementID').bind('contextmenu',function() { return false; });
});

Simple answer,

YOU CAN'T

If they are watching your video, they have it already

You can slow them down but can't stop them.


Yes, you can do this in three steps:


  1. Place the files you want to protect in a subdirectory of the directory where your code is running.

    www.foo.com/player.html
    www.foo.com/videos/video.mp4

  2. Save a file in that subdirectory named ".htaccess" and add the lines below.

    www.foo.com/videos/.htaccess

    #Contents of .htaccess
    
    RewriteEngine on
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://foo.com/.*$ [NC]
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http://www.foo.com/.*$ [NC]
    RewriteRule .(mp4|mp3|avi)$ - [F]
    

Now the source link is useless, but we still need to make sure any user attempting to download the file cannot be directly served the file.

  1. For a more complete solution, now serve the video with a flash player (or html canvas) and never link to the video directly. To just remove the right click menu, add to your HTML:

    <body oncontextmenu="return false;">
    


The Result:

www.foo.com/player.html will correctly play video, but if you visit www.foo.com/videos/video.mp4:

Error Code 403: FORBIDDEN


This will work for direct download, cURL, hotlinking, you name it.

This is a complete answer to the two questions asked and not an answer to the question: "can I stop a user from downloading a video they have already downloaded."


The best way that I usually use is very simple, I fully disable context menu in the whole page, pure html+javascript:

 <body oncontextmenu="return false;">

That's it! I do that because you can always see the source by right click.
Ok, you say: "I can use directly the browser view source" and it's true but we start from the fact that you CAN'T stop downloading html5 videos.


As a client-side developer I recommend to use blob URL, blob URL is a client-side URL which refers to a binary object

<video id="id" width="320" height="240"  type='video/mp4' controls  > </video>

in HTML leave your video src blank, and in JS fetch the video file using AJAX, make sure the response type is blob

window.onload = function() {
    var xhr = new XMLHttpRequest();
    xhr.open('GET', 'mov_bbb.mp4', true);
    xhr.responseType = 'blob'; //important
    xhr.onload = function(e) {
        if (this.status == 200) {
            console.log("loaded");
            var blob = this.response;
            var video = document.getElementById('id');
            video.oncanplaythrough = function() {
                console.log("Can play through video without stopping");
                URL.revokeObjectURL(this.src);
            };
            video.src = URL.createObjectURL(blob);
            video.load();
        }
    };
    xhr.send();
}

Note: This method is not recommended for large file

EDIT

  • Use cross-origin blocking for avoiding direct downloading

  • if the video is delivered by an API Use different method (PUT/POST) instead of 'GET'


PHP sends the html5 video tag together with a session where the key is a random string and the value is the filename.

ini_set('session.use_cookies',1);
session_start();
$ogv=uniqid(); 
$_SESSION[$ogv]='myVideo.ogv';
$webm=uniqid(); 
$_SESSION[$webm]='myVideo.webm';
echo '<video autoplay="autoplay">'
    .'<source src="video.php?video='.$ogv.' type="video/ogg">'
    .'<source src="video.php?video='.$webm.' type="video/webm">'
    .'</video>'; 

Now PHP is asked to send the video. PHP recovers the filename; deletes the session and sends the video instantly. Additionally all the 'no cache' and mime-type headers must be present.

ini_set('session.use_cookies',1);
session_start();
$file='myhiddenvideos/'.$_SESSION[$_GET['video']];
$_SESSION=array();
$params = session_get_cookie_params();
setcookie(session_name(),'', time()-42000,$params["path"],$params["domain"],
                                         $params["secure"], $params["httponly"]);
if(!file_exists($file) or $file==='' or !is_readable($file)){
  header('HTTP/1.1 404 File not found',true);
  exit;
  }
readfile($file);
exit:

Now if the user copy the url in a new tab or use the context menu he will have no luck.


You can at least stop the the non-tech savvy people from using the right-click context menu to download your video. You can disable the context menu for any element using the oncontextmenu attribute.

oncontextmenu="return false;"

This works for the body element (whole page) or just a single video using it inside the video tag.

<video oncontextmenu="return false;" controls>...</video>

We ended up using AWS CloudFront with expiring URLs. The video will load, but by the time the user right clicks and chooses Save As the video url they initially received has expired. Do a search for CloudFront Origin Access Identity.

Producing the video url requires a key pair which can be created in the AWS CLI. FYI this is not my code but it works great!

$resource = 'http://cdn.yourwebsite.com/videos/yourvideourl.mp4';
$timeout = 4;

//This comes from key pair you generated for cloudfront
$keyPairId = "AKAJSDHFKASWERASDF";

$expires = time() + $timeout; //Time out in seconds
$json = '{"Statement":[{"Resource":"'.$resource.'","Condition" {"DateLessThan":{"AWS:EpochTime":'.$expires.'}}}]}';     

//Read Cloudfront Private Key Pair
$fp=fopen("/absolute/path/to/your/cloudfront_privatekey.pem","r"); 
$priv_key=fread($fp,8192); 
fclose($fp); 

//Create the private key
$key = openssl_get_privatekey($priv_key);
if(!$key)
{
    echo "<p>Failed to load private key!</p>";
    return;
}

//Sign the policy with the private key
if(!openssl_sign($json, $signed_policy, $key, OPENSSL_ALGO_SHA1))
{
    echo '<p>Failed to sign policy: '.openssl_error_string().'</p>';
    return;
}

//Create url safe signed policy
$base64_signed_policy = base64_encode($signed_policy);
$signature = str_replace(array('+','=','/'), array('-','_','~'), $base64_signed_policy);

//Construct the URL
$url = $resource.'?Expires='.$expires.'&Signature='.$signature.'&Key-Pair-Id='.$keyPairId;

return '<div class="videowrapper" ><video autoplay controls style="width:100%!important;height:auto!important;"><source src="'.$url.'" type="video/mp4">Your browser does not support the video tag.</video></div>';

+1 simple and cross-browser way: You can also put transparent picture over the video with css z-index and opacity. So users will see "save picture as" instead of "save video" in context menu.


The

<body oncontextmenu="return false;"> 

no longer works. Chrome and Opera as of June 2018 has a submenu on the timeline to allow straight download, so user doesn't need to right click to download that video. Interestingly Firefox and Edge don't have this ...


Using a service such as Vimeo: Sign in Vimeo > Goto Video > Settings > Privacy > Mark as Secured, and also select embed domains. Once the embed domains are set, it will not allow anyone to embed the video or display it from the browser unless connecting from the domains specified. So, if you have a page that is secured on your server which loads the Vimeo player in iframe, this makes it pretty difficult to get around.


First of all realise it is impossible to completely prevent a video being downloaded, all you can do is make it more difficult. I.e. you hide the source of the video.

A web browser temporarily downloads the video in a buffer, so if could prevent download you would also be preventing the video being viewed as well.

You should also know that <1% of the total population of the world will be able to understand the source code making it rather safe anyway. That does not mean you should not hide it in the source as well - you should.

You should not disable right click, and even less you should display a message saying "You cannot save this video for copyright reasons. Sorry about that.". As suggested in this answer.

This can be very annoying and confusing for the user. Apart from that; if they disable JavaScript on their browser they will be able to right click and save anyway.

Here is a CSS trick you could use:

video {
    pointer-events: none;
}

CSS cannot be turned off in browser, protecting your video without actually disabling right click. However one problem is that controls cannot be enabled either, in other words they must be set to false. If you are going to inplament your own Play/Pause function or use an API that has buttons separate to the video tag then this is a feasible option.

controls also has a download button so using it is not such a good idea either.

Here is a JSFiddle example.


If you are going to disable right click using JavaScript then also store the source of the video in JavaScript as well. That way if the user disables JavaScript (allowing right click) the video will not load (it also hides the video source a little better).

From TxRegex answer:

<video oncontextmenu="return false;" controls>
    <source type="video/mp4" id="video">
</video>

Now add the video via JavaScript:

document.getElementById("video").src = "https://www.w3schools.com/html/mov_bbb.mp4";

Functional JSFiddle


Another way to prevent right click involves using the embed tag. This is does not however provide the controls to run the video so they would need to be inplamented in JavaScript:

<embed src="https://www.w3schools.com/html/mov_bbb.mp4"></embed>

Short Answer: Encrypt the link like youtube does, don't know how than ask youtube/google of how they do it. (Just in case you want to get straight into the point.)

I would like to point out to anyone that this is possible because youtube does it and if they can so can any other website and it isn't from the browser either because I tested it on a couple browsers such as microsoft edge and internet explorer and so there is a way to disable it and seen that people still say it...I tries looking for an answer because if youtube can than there has to be a way and the only way to see how they do it is if someone looked into the scripts of youtube which I am doing now. I also checked to see if it was a custom context menu as well and it isn't because the context menu is over flowing the inspect element and I mean like it is over it and I looked and it never creates a new class and also it is impossible to actually access inspect element with javascript so it can't be. You can tell when it double right-click a youtube video that it pops up the context menu for chrome. Besides...youtube wouldn't add that function in. I am doing research and looking through the source of youtube so I will be back if I find the answer...if anyone says you can't than, well they didn't do research like I have. The only way to download youtube videos is through a video download.

Okay...I did research and my research stays that you can disable it except there is no javascript to it...you have to be able to encrypt the links to the video for you to be able to disable it because I think any browser won't show it if it can't find it and when I opened a youtube video link it showed as this "blob:https://www.youtube.com/e5c4808e-297e-451f-80da-3e838caa1275" without quotes so it is encrypting it so it cannot be saved...you need to know php for that but like the answer you picked out of making it harder, youtube makes it the hardest of heavy encrypting it, you need to be an advance php programmer but if you don't know that than take the person you picked as best answer of making it hard to download it...but if you know php than heavy encrypt the video link so it only is able to be read on yours...I don't know how to explain how they do it but they did and there is a way. The way youtube Encrypts there videos is quite smart so if you want to know how to than just ask youtube/google of how they do it...hope this helps for you although you already picked a best answer. So encrypting the link is best in short terms.


well, you can't protect it 100% but you can make it harder. these methods that I'm explaining, I faced them during studying protection methods in PluralSight and BestDotNetTraining. nevertheless, none of these methods stopped me from downloading what I want, but I had a hard time to curate the downloader to pass their protection.

In addition to other mentioned methods to disable the context menu. the user still is able to use third-party tools like InternetDownload manager or other similar software to download the videos. the protection method that I'm explaining here is to mitigate those 3rd party software.

the requirement of all of these methods is to block a user when you identify someone is downloading your videos. in this way they are able to download only one or two videos only before you banned them from accessing to your website.

disclaimer

I will not accept any responsibility if someone abuses these methods or use it to harm others or the websites that I mentioned as an example. it's just for sharing knowledge to help you to protect your intellectual product.

generate links with an expiry

the requirement for this is to create a download link per user. that one can easily be handled by azure blob storage or amazon s3. you can create a download link with twice of the video length expiry timestamp. then you need to capture that video link and the time that is requested. this is necessary for the next method. the catch for this method is you are generating the download link when the user click the play button.

on play button event you will send a request to the server and get the link and update the source.

throttle the video request rate

then you monitor how fast the user request for the second video. if the user request for a download link too fast, then you block them right away. you can't put this threshold too big because you can mistakenly block users that are just browsing or skimming through the videos.

Enable HTTP Range

use some js library like videojs to play your video, also you need to return an AcceptRange in your header. Azure blob storage supports this out of the box. this way the browser starts to download the video chunk by chunk. usually, 32byte by 32byte. then you need to listen to videojs timeupdate change and update your server about the percentage that the video is watched. the percentage that the video is watched can't be more than the percentage that video is delivered. and if you are delivering a video content without receiving any percentage change, then you can block the user. because for sure they are downloading.

implementing this is tricky because the user can skip the video forward or backwards so be conscious about this when you are implementing this.

this is how BestDotnetTraining is handling the timeupdate

myPlayer.ready(function () {
    //var player = this;
    this.src({
        type: "video/mp4",
        src: videoURL
    });
    if (videoId) {
        myPlayer.play();
        this.on('timeupdate', function () {
            var currentPercent = parseInt(100 * myPlayer.currentTime() / myPlayer.duration());//calcualte as percentage
            if (currentPercent % 5 == 0) {
                //send percentage to server 
                SaveVideoDurationWatched(currentPercent, videoId);
            }
        });
    }

});

anyway, the user is able to work around this by using some download method that downloads a file through streaming. almost c# do it out of the box and for nodejs, you can use request module. then you need to start a stopWatch, listen to a package received and compare the total byte received compare to the total size. this way you can calculate a percentage and the time spent to get that amount of percentage. then use the Thread.Sleep() or something like that to delay the thread the amount that you have to wait if you watch the video normally. also before the sleep the user can call the server and update the percentage that is received. so the server thinks that the user is actually watching a video.

the calculation will be something like this, for example, if you calculate that you received 1 per cent so far, then you can calculate the amount that you should wait to sleep the download thread. in this way you can't download a video faster than what it's actual length is. if a video is 24 min. it will takes 24 min to download it. (plus the threshold we put in the first method)

original video length 24 minute
24 min *60000 = 1,440,000 miliseconds 
1,440,000 % 100 = 14,400 milisecond is needed to download one percent

check the browser agent

when you are serving a webpage and serving the video link or accepting the progress update request you can look at the browser agent. if it's different then ban the user.

just be aware that some old browser doesn't pass this information. so you should ignore this when there is no browser agent in both video request and webpage request. but if one request has it and another one doesn't, then you should ban the user.

to work around this the user can set the browser agent header manually same as the headless browser that they are using to capture the download link.

check the referer header

when the referer is something other than your host URL or the page URL that you are serving the video, you can ban the user, because they put the download link in another tab or another application. even you can do that for the progress update request.

the requirement for this is to has a mapping of video and the page that shows that video. you can create some convention or pattern to understand what the URL should be, it's up to your design.

to work around it the user can set the referrer header manually equal to the download page URL when downloading the videos.

Calculate the time between request

if you receive so many requests that the time between them is the same, then you should block the user. you should put this to capture how much is time between the video link generation request. if they are the same (plus/minus some threshold) and it happens more than a number of times, then you can ban the user. because if there is a bot that is going to crawl your website or videos, then usually they have the same sleep time between their request. so if you receive each request, for example, every 1.3(plus/mins some deviation) minutes. then you raise an alarm. for this, you can use some statistic calculation to know the deviation between the requests.

to workaround this, the user can put a random sleep time between the requests.

sample code

I have a repo PluralSight-Downloader that is doing it halfway. I created this repo almost 5 years ago. because I wrote it for study purpose and own personal use only, the repo isn't received any update so far and I'm not going to update or make it easy to work with. it's just an example of how it can be done.


You can use

<video src="..." ... controlsList="nodownload">

https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/HTMLMediaElement/controlsList

It doesn't prevent saving the video, but it does remove the download button and the "Save as" option in the context menu.


It seems like streaming the video through websocket is a viable option, as in stream the frames and draw them on a canvas sort of thing.

Video streaming over websockets using JavaScript

I think that would provide another level of protection making it more difficult for the client to acquire the video and of course solve your problem with "Save video as..." right-click context menu option ( overkill ?! ).


Here's what I did:

function noRightClick() {
      alert("You cannot save this video for copyright reasons. Sorry about that.");
}
    <body oncontextmenu="noRightClick();">
    <video>
    <source src="http://calumchilds.com/videos/big_buck_bunny.mp4" type="video/mp4">
    </video>
    </body>
This also works for images, text and pretty much anything. However, you can still access the "Inspect" and the "View source" tool through keyboard shortcuts. (As the answer at the top says, you can't stop it entirely.) But you can try to put barriers up to stop them.


We could make that not so easy by hiding context menu, like this:

<video oncontextmenu="return false;"  controls>
  <source src="https://yoursite.com/yourvideo.mp4" >
</video>

@Clayton-Graul had what I was looking for, except I needed the CoffeeScript version for a site using AngularJS. Just in case you need that too, here's what you put in the AngularJS controller in question:

    # This is how to we do JQuery ready() dom stuff
    $ ->
        # let's hide those annoying download video options.
        # of course anyone who knows how can still download
        # the video, but hey... more power to 'em.
        $('#my-video').bind 'contextmenu', -> 
            false

"strange things are afoot at the circle k" (it's true)