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DRM is a Mug's Game


Netflix, bless 'em, have recently opened up the ability to play their content on Linux desktops so long as you use recent versions of Chrome (37 or higher). You couldn't before because Netflix uses HTML5 and a technology called Encrypted Media Extensions to prevent piracy. Those extensions require access to a set of libraries called Network Security Services. Now we have them in Chrome and Netflix opened the floodgates.

Which is all good. But I was lying in bed last night and suddenly thought to myself I wonder if I can screen scrape the video using RecordMyDesktop, which is my go to tool when I want to do just that, normally to do a tutorial for a customer on how to use a facility on their web site.

So this morning I tried it using an episode of Scrubs. I've deliberately just captured the centre area of the video as I just wanted to prove the concept rather than be accused of piracy1 and here it is.

As you can see it worked just fine. The audio is a bit scrubby as it's just my webcam mike in front of the left speaker but if I had taken more care I could have configured PulseAudio to Do The Right Thing™ and feed the audio direct into RecordMyDesktop.

That really was painfully easy. Not that I have any intention of using it to rip whole programmes, but it will make it very easy to make "fair use" clips when and if required.

  1. Even though this is only a very short extract so "fair use" applies I think.

Tags: linux, video Written 23/11/14

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