Axinom DRM FAQ - Frequently asked questions - Find answers to common questions about Axinom DRM

Axinom DRM - FAQ

General

What is Axinom DRM?

Axinom DRM is Axinom’s highly robust multi-DRM solution that enables customers to leverage leading DRM technologies with ease by using a unified API. It supports Microsoft PlayReady, Google Widevine, and Apple FairPlay Streaming. Axinom DRM can operate in the cloud, on-premises and even on board of vessels while being completely disconnected from the internet.

Axinom DRM features two core products:

  • Axinom DRM Licensing Service:
    The licensing service enables secure creation and delivery of licenses to consumer devices. It features a comprehensive API that makes integration with existing websites/portals an efficient and hassle-free process.

  • Axinom Key Service:
    Axinom Key Service is a cloud-hosted solution that is able to securely store encryption keys. It comes with APIs that allow the integration with modern encoders/packagers which request encryption keys from Axinom Key Service.

Why would I consider using multiple DRM technologies instead of only one?

There are many things to consider when rolling out an online video solution with DRM.

The advantages of using multiple DRM technologies simultaneously are:

  • Broadest reach – supporting multiple DRM technologies allows you to reach a broader set of device types

  • Provide the best user experience by using the natively supported DRM technology

  • Avoid client-side licensing fees

  • Support native and web-based solutions

The disadvantages of using just one DRM technology:

  • Limited reach

  • Potentially expensive, because it is necessary to license client-side DRM technology and bring it to the device types where it is not supported natively (if at all possible)

  • Web-based solutions will be very limited, because browsers differ very much in terms of DRM technology support

  • For more information, we recommend reading our white paper

What is the cloud-hosted Axinom DRM service and who can use it?

The cloud-hosted Axinom DRM license service allows for generating licenses that enable end users to consume protected content. The service comes with an extensive API that enables efficient integration with existing websites and online portals. It is accompanied by a set of tools that make adoption easy:

Are you licensed with Microsoft, Google, and Apple?

Yes. Axinom has all the needed relationships with the respective DRM technology vendors.

Is Axinom DRM approved by major studios, broadcasters, and networks?

Yes. Axinom DRM is built on leading DRM technologies (Microsoft PlayReady, Google Widevine, Apple FairPlay Streaming) which have earned full trust from all major players.

Can Axinom DRM effectively prevent piracy?

Yes. Axinom DRM leverages leading DRM technologies with an impressive track record. PlayReady, Widevine, and FairPlay Streaming feature built-in security on many levels and come with sophisticated anti-tamper technology. Your content is persistently encrypted with state-of-the-art AES encryption technology prior to transferring it. Anyone “stealing” such content will not be able to consume it without the necessary decryption keys.

Does your DRM solution impose restrictions on the content types (video, audio, .mp3, .pdf, etc.)?

Axinom DRM allows protecting audio/video content. You cannot use it for other file types, such as PDF documents.

Does your solution support mobile platforms?

Yes. Axinom DRM supports several DRM technologies simultaneously. This allows our customers to reach broad audiences on all sorts of mobile device platforms like iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod), Android, Windows, and browser-based solutions.

Licensing

How is Axinom DRM licensed?

It is licensed as a SaaS (cloud-based) or as a software product.

The most common licensing option is using our cloud-based service. The cloud-based license delivery service allows you to build, deploy, and run end-to-end DRM solutions without the need and complexity of entering into, potentially expensive, agreements with DRM technology vendors. You just pay based on the number of licenses issued by your application. We take care of paying the applicable DRM technology license fees.

Alternatively, you may license our software and run it on your own servers.

Can I test your service free of charge?

Yes. We offer a free trial of 30 days during which you have access to our test environment, sample code, comprehensive documentation and support.

Security

I want to provide only certain resolutions for Widevine L3 security level. How do I do that?

You could customize it with the Entitlement Message by applying different policies with different Widevine device security levels to different keys. As L3 is the default, you can keep the default Widevine device security level for keys associated with L3 quality levels. Alternatively, you can explicitly specify L3 for reasons of clarity. For the keys that require a security level higher than L3, you need to specify it explicitly.

Performance

How much load can your service carry?

Our cloud-hosted service runs in a load-balanced environment and is built to scale on demand. It is performance-optimized on several levels, reducing the round-trip time for acquiring licenses to a minimum, thus guaranteeing the best possible end user experience. Axinom DRM scales without limits. We even offer service capacity guarantees that you can take an advantage of. Doesn’t matter whether you need our service to deliver peak loads of 100, 1 000, 10,000, or more licenses per second – Axinom DRM can handle the load.

Asset protection

What is a “license” in terms of Axinom DRM?

A “license” means a relatively small data packet that is needed to view/play the content. It contains the key for decrypting the content, accompanied by rules that apply for that content. For example, a license could tell the player to limit playback to a certain time frame or a certain number of views. Using our API, you can configure the restrictions that you want to apply to your content.

See also: DRM Introduction

Can I use Axinom DRM to protect audio-only files?

Axinom DRM is intended as a DRM solution for video content. However, its components - Key Service and License Service - are agnostic to the type of clients and content. Audio streams included as audio tracks together with a video can be protected without any issues. This applies to all DRM technologies that we provide: Widevine, PlayReady, and FairPlay.

In case of pure audio files to which you would like to apply a typical video DRM solution, simulate them to be videos. For example, you can generate a dummy video of the same length as your audio, consisting the standard video settings. Then encode it as if it were a regular video. Note that your player should be built in a way that it would not display the video stream and would only play audio.

For encoding, you can use Axinom Encoding or any other encoding software, e.g. Shaka Packager.

We are interested in user-specific, device-specific, location-specific, and time-specific restriction of playback. Does Axinom DRM support any of these?

All of these are supported. See Entitlement Message for details.

We are required to enforce output protection levels (OPL) when our content is played. Does Axinom DRM support this?

Yes. However, support for output protection differs between DRM technologies (PlayReady, Widevine, FairPlay Streaming). Using Axinom DRM, you can apply simple output protection across all technologies or address each technology separately and use it to its full extent.

Does Axinom DRM support copy protection using HDCP and CGMS-A?

Yes.

Can I find the device ID or the IP address of a device from the error logs?

Yes, of course. You can find the device details from the Errors Section. But "OmitSensitiveData" flag should be set to false for your tenant. To enable or disable the flag for your tenant, you can contact Product Support.

Is it possible to have DRM protection for live streaming not only for VOD?

Yes, you can protect your live streaming content also. When you are protecting VOD content, you have the possibility to protect your content beforehand. But when you are DRM protecting the live streaming content, you have to create, encode, package, and encrypt the content at the same time while the customer is viewing the video. You can refer to Media Live Setup to get an idea on how to achive it wiith Axinom DRM.

What is the difference between using "begin_date" / "expiration_date and “start_datetime"/ "expiration_datetime" in the Axinom License service message and the entitlement message?

The “Begin_date” and the “expiration_date” is mentioned in the Axinom License service message. So the “Begin_date” and “expiration_date” is specifying the active period of the “Axinom License service message”. If the Message is inactive, License Service will reject the request. The License service message consists some inner messages. Entitlement message is specified inside the License service message.

The “start_datetime” and “expiration_datetime” is mentioned inside the entitlement message, as a property for the license configuration. So “start_datetime” and “expiration_datetime” specifies the active period of the license. If “Axinom License service message” is active, regardless of the license active period, license will get generated. But license can be used only within the specified time period inside the “License configuration”.

Browsers, clients and devices

Does Axinom DRM support playback on Mac and Windows PCs?

Yes. Axinom DRM can be used with virtually all DRM-capable players available. The decisive factor is the respective platform’s DRM support. For example, the Google Chrome browser supports Widevine DRM on Windows and Mac OS, whereas Microsoft Internet Explorer and Edge browsers support PlayReady on Windows. See an overview of DRM technologies supported by different platforms in the DRM Introduction

Does Axinom DRM support mobile devices, such as Android devices, iPad, and iPhone?

They are all supported. Android supports Widevine DRM (check ExoPlayer for Android), whereas iOS devices come with a built-in support for FairPlay Streaming (check Native iOS Player).

Widevine can also be used on iOS using iOS Widevine CDM.

Check video players for more information.

Can Axinom DRM be used with set-top boxes and connected TVs?

Yes. Set-top box and Connected TV manufacturers integrate support for DRM technologies into their devices more and more. The vast majority of devices support either Microsoft PlayReady or Google Widevine.

Do your players support offline playback?

Generally, yes. Our iOS and Android based players support download of DRM protected assets and offline playback. Our HTML5/JS based players will support this feature when the underlying browsers support it. At the point of writing this, it is not yet the case. However, support for offline playback is in the making at some browser manufacturers.

Can I use 3rd party players with Axinom DRM?

Yes. Axinom DRM does not impose restrictions on the use of 3rd party players. Check out our 3rd party player page. Among the players/SDKs we successfully tested are

Technology

What technologies can I use to integrate my portal/backend with your service?

There is no restriction regarding the technology you use for your backend/portal. Any technology capable of consuming Web services (such as PHP, Java, ASP.NET, node.js, etc.) can be used to integrate with Axinom DRM.

What DRM technologies does Axinom DRM support?

Axinom DRM supports Microsoft PlayReady, Google Widevine, and Apple FairPlay Streaming. Using these three trusted DRM technologies, our customers can reach an extremely broad set of client devices.

Do you support adaptive streaming technologies?

Axinom DRM can be used in conjunction with MPEG-DASH, CMAF, HLS, and Smooth Streaming.

Do you support download, progressive download, and streaming scenarios?

Yes.

We have a large Video portal up and running, but currently with no DRM. Can we integrate Axinom DRM into our existing infrastructure? How?

Yes. Our cloud-based Axinom DRM platform features a rich Web services API that can be used by any website or portal to create license rules. A typical workflow could look like this (many other possibilities exist):

For the description below, it is assumed that the content is already encrypted and published to some media server or CDN.

  • Step 1: The user navigates the customer app/website and decides to watch some content. The user clicks the “Play” button.

  • Step 2: The web portal/app backend processes the request and verifies the eligibility of the request. If the verification is successful, the web portal/app backend creates an Axinom DRM message that describes the usage rights for this particular request. It encrypts and signs the message and passes it to the requesting client device.

  • Step 3: The player application on the client device starts downloading the DRM-protected video. It determines the license acquisition URL (this information is typically contained in the asset manifest) and prepares a license request. It sends the license request together with the Axinom DRM message to the Axinom DRM license service.

  • Step 4: Axinom DRM license service receives the license request, verifies the integrity, and analyses the Axinom DRM message and prepares a respective license response which it sends to the requesting device.

  • Step 5: The player continues downloading and starts decryption and playback of the video.

Troubleshooting

How to fix "The request data does not represent a valid Widevine request" error message?

If you receive the error "The request data does not represent a valid Widevine request" when using Axinom DRM with Widevine in the proxy mode, the request body might be transformed. Double check whether the proxy or some other component is doing the transformation. Try remove or bypass the proxy and see whether you get the same result. If the result is still the same, please contact product support for further help.

How to fix "License denied. Your device security level (Level3) is too low for any of the keys in the Entitlement Message" error message?

If you get the above error message, the widevine security level you are using in your token is not compatble in the device you are trying to play the content.As an example, the chrome browser on the desktops will only support widevine security level 3 (L3). So you won’t be able to try playback in a chrome browser with a token specifying L1 security level usage policy.

How to fix "Invalid license request. DRM client models with revoked certificates are not allowed to receive licenses" error message?

This error message indicates that the CDM of the browser has been revoked by Google Widevine.This revocation of certificates is nothing related to Axinom DRM. What happens is, Google maintains a list of device type certificates that are considered valid and allows the respective devices to receive DRM licenses. This list is being maintained by Google on a daily basis. For example, if Google determines that a specific device type’s Widevine CDM implementation has been “hacked” or for other reasons is not considered secure anymore, then Google can remove this device type certificate from the above-mentioned “white list”. Any DRM license service, including Axinom DRM, continuously downloads updates of this white list from Google, typically on a daily basis. If a device type is removed from the list then any devices of that type will not receive DRM licenses going forward.

So updating the Chrome browser typically updates the CDM and you can still update the CDM version manually. With Firefox, rarely auto-update doesn’t work. You still have to do it manually, maybe this is only for Linux.

If users cannot update the Chrome browser version, then they can still try to just update the Widevine CDM.

They can navigate to "chrome://components/" and look for “Widevine Content Decryption Module” (the current version of the CDM will be displayed next to this). There should be a button “Check for update”. Then if the updates are available, user can get the CDM version updated by them selves.

If you need further explanations or clarifications, please feel free to contact "Axinom Product Support".