Thwarting Streamripping, is it really worth it? [Technical]

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Jay
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Thwarting Streamripping, is it really worth it? [Technical]

Post by Jay »

Intro
Ah yes, the age old issue of streamripping. It's become the new underground way to get music and with shoutcasting becoming so popular its simply swamped the Internet Radio Streams using the technology. Why has this happened? The simple answer is because SHOUTcast is easy to rip, not only that but alot of SHOUTcast stations use winamp to broadcast which means that the songs just come straight off the player like they do when you listen to winamp. Usually including nice long dead air spaces to tidy up the process with cuts using the title streaming technology. Yes they use the technology against you.

Is it really worth bothering about?
Some broadcasters think so, especially when they invest a lot of time and effort into keeping their stream clean, crisp, legal and self funded. Typically you should worry about this type of activity if you broadcast copyrighted works which you have not been given the right to physically distribute by download or hard medium. If you own the works that you broadcast or have the rights to allow them to be downloaded and I mean all the rights for every speck of audio coming off the stream then you have nothing to worry about, unless you want to worry about it.

I have heard that you can use a b or c to stop streamripping, is this true?
Well, it all depends on what you have been told. There are many myths floating around about what works to stop someone from streamripping you, and I will be honest when I tell you that there is nothing you can do to stop it. You have a better chance at stopping rain or a meteor colliding with the earth. The fact is, if it is audable to the user then it is recordable. Real Networks thought they had it when they made their codecs closed and proprietary, I can tell you that it is easiy circumvented by using sndrec32.exe which comes free with a Windows system or a simple Mini disc or Tape deck. Heck even nowadays you can pick up a DVD recorder that can do it.

So just give up right?
Wrong, the fact is you have power, you are the source of their music. So use that capability against them. You have several options at your disposal which make streamripping not quite as nice as it could be:
  • Broadcast at a lower bitrate.
    That's right, while you might be thinking this is a bad move, in actuality it's a great deterant. No one wants a crappy version of a song, they want hifidelity without that their rip is mighty useless unless you house some rare stuff. Maybe this isn't right for you, maybe you don't want to punish your listeners for the actions of a few, well...
  • Embed jingles, promos and sweepers, or even talk over the music
    Terrestrial radio has been doing it for years, why not follow their lead, talk over that music embed all the promos to your station you want. Turn it into an advertising bananza by essentially watermarking their rip. If they trade it to friends then you get word of mouth advertising without spending a dime. The trick with this is to make it seemless, no dead air at all. Stream ripping programs love to try to detect silence to know when to slice the mp3 off from the stream. Without it they have to rely on the song title purely and that never works out right especially if you...
  • Advance/Delay song title changes
    You can use simple song crossfaders like sqrsft's crossfader to totally mess up the moment of title change from the actual stream. With the right settings you can have delays or advances as high as 10 or 20 seconds. This will keep stream rippers from making a nice library of music out of your program list. And to wrap it up one should...
  • Crossfade
    Yes by simply adding crossfading to your stream not only does the stream sound more professional but it will make stream rips come out with other music blended in to the ripped music. It equates to bad rips.
Conclusion
You simply cannot stop the unstoppable, many have created little scripts which ban based on user agent and whatnot. There has also been mention of dirtying up the title stream. These approaches will give immediate results but those ripping your stream will catch on and quickly circumvent it. Programs now are built to pass custom user agents which a ban script would have to rely on. So typically a streamripper will now be seen as Winamp to the server. The fact is that their is nothing that a stream ripping program cannot duplicate from a regular clients request like winamp or WMP. You might as well not install such silly things. As far as dirtying up the title stream. This type of activity will only make your life miserable by messing with your statisitics unless your encoder is holding stats for you, it's just a bad idea and a stream rip program could easily be modified to character match the title stream to remove the garbage that has nothing to do with the title.

Hopefully I have given you some insight into what stream ripping is and what you can do to deter it.

Feel free to leave a comment if you feel that I have missed something. Do not reply with questions. Questions should go in the Audio Streaming forum. Questions will be split from this thread and moved to appropriate forums.
- Jay
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Post by shoebox »

one thing to add is that you can send meta data to your servers that will update the song title to whatever message you want..

So, for example, you can have a little text advertisement that the listener's client will receive as the current song artist/title. If you set this to appear every x seconds you will definately make it harder for ppl using the "auto file naming" features on the stream rippers.
djclae
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Post by djclae »

We're working on this now in the Spacial Audio forums here:

http://www.spacialaudio.com/forums/view ... highlight=
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Post by webranger »

Why are we worried about streamrippers?. Tacit obedience to the law requires that licensed broadcasts do not promote streamripping, but past that, there isn't any real responsibility to stop it.

Yeah, it's a bandwidth thief, but OH WELL.

I banned an IP I thought was a streamripper and it turns out it was a friend that really liked my web, and just watched it a lot.

I'm glad he dropped me an email.

15 minutes of Google will tell you how to rip anything, except maybe DRM windows media, but that would take an hour... Real also seems to be jealous, but certainly not secure.

I'm not saying to ignore it, but my goal is better content and quality. I have no interest in being a cop.
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Post by djclae »

The music I play is somewhat rare in the target market, and I cannot in good conscience facilitate file trading.
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Post by Lonestar101 »

i wanted to say thank you for the information. your advice regarding - setting crossfading - did the job on the stream rippers (or at least it appers that way)

thank you again!
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schrikg
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Post by schrikg »

I'm using a computer with no soundcard and winamp.
Works perfect with the out_null plugin but it can't cross-fade.

Does someone know of a cross-fade plugin running with winamp without a soundcard ?
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Post by Freak On A Leash »

Very interesting.... I remember good times when Napster was a free file sharing service.....
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Post by Lane »

I don't actually consider stream ripping illegal, any more than my vcr or tivo are illegal. If I want to hear a broadcast, but will be sleeping at the time, or am otherwise occupied, I can stream rip it to hear it later. It's called fair use.

That said, I will still cross fade, talk over, and other wise render the song 'impure'. What I won't do is anything that attempts to block people who might be using stream rippers. I *might* kick people who are connected an extremely long time, but for other reasons. And I mean like 8 hours long. I don't consider it polite to hog a connection beyond the length of time you'd be at work etc. Some people might leave a stream up and walk away, so kicking them gives someone else a chance to connect, even if they are to set to auto reconnect.

Oh, and about work places. I was thinking about *not* kicking a workplace that was using a relay or proxy server. This might be something I would push on a website. In short, as a network administrator in a workplace, they might be encouraged to set up a proxy for certain web stations so people on the intranet can listen, where they otherwise ban direct connections. This idea here is save on bandwidth over their internet connection. If people like my station, and want to listen to it at work, they could solicit having it added to a proxy server. In short, I would avoid kicking a relay or proxy server, but might kick long lasting regular connections. Steamcast would be great as a relay within an intranet, and I might even tar up version that is preconfigured to relay my station.

What am I getting at? Instead of seeing people as the enemy, see them as an opportunity. Work with the attention you're getting. It could be worse. You could be ignored instead.
mattjohn
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Re: Thwarting Streamripping, is it really worth it? [Technical]

Post by mattjohn »

It's actually much worse than this.

Streamripping is the technology symptom which the copyright aggregators are trying to cure.

SoundExchange believes that in order to prevent streamripping, that Internet radio must be streamed in a protectable format. This is pure sophistry, as you can copy any music which you can hear. But if this restriction is passed into law (possibly as the codification of a private agreement between SoundExchange and DiMA), SoundExchange would then have the right to declare invalid the licenses of any of the Internet radio Stations which stream in unprotected formats, such as MP3 or Vorbis, largely leaving only folks streaming in Real Audio, Windows Media, or that format from MRT.

This is a totally innapropriate demand.
kevin85
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Re: Thwarting Streamripping, is it really worth it? [Technical]

Post by kevin85 »

hey guys thanks for all the info! i really learned a lot!
zcrown99
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Re: Thwarting Streamripping, is it really worth it? [Technical]

Post by zcrown99 »

I agree, what's the difference between this and tivo? The music industry has changed so much in recent times regarding copyright law...some for good, some for bad. The internet has made the industry completely different from what it was even a few years ago, where we can now make, if not perfect, then almost perfect recordings of audio at home. It's interesting to see how this has effected artists and labels alike. I remember a few years back how a certain band (ending in -allica) came under fire for opposing music file sharing and were (and possibly still are) looked at as greedy. Artists that hope to survive this have GOT to be smart and not try to alienate their fan base, while trying to keep whatever integrity the music biz still has left intact.
trinkida
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Re: Thwarting Streamripping, is it really worth it? [Technic

Post by trinkida »

Governments try to influence the market more and more. I'm not talking about the arrival of Vevo and such, rather about Limewire being taken out and many torrent and newsgroup sites. I still think this is an odd thing. Music and film industry have changed. People download their movies and TV series but that doesn't mean that the industry suffers from it. In fact, Avatar (2010) sold the most cinema tickets worldwide ever.

As far as music goes, concert ticket prices have quadrupled in the past what, 20 years or so? CDs used to be an artist's main income and now it's concert tickets and iTunes. With the internet around, people will always have access to free sources. Hunting down websites, podcasters or uploaders isn't gonna change a thing. I find it unbelievable that this raid is still going on.

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mrkstinn
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Re: Thwarting Streamripping, is it really worth it? [Technic

Post by mrkstinn »

not sure that industry changed about copywriting they were always against taht and they remain where they are
dabby33
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Re: Thwarting Streamripping, is it really worth it? [Technic

Post by dabby33 »

I'm not sure if I'm willing to sacrifice all the title streaming right now though. I'm pretty sure my regulars would go nuts. How about if I change the script so it just adds extra junk to the end of the title every 3 minutes or so?
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