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Thread: How to protect .swf files from download?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000


    Okay. I'm now finding large quantities of downloads of my .swf files. The files were published with the "protect from import" option. So here's what I really need to know:
    1) How are people downloading these?
    2) What does the "protect from import" publishing option do, if it doesn't actually protect from import?
    3) Aside from the Flash file publishing "protection" option, is there any way files can really be protected from download or stealing?
    4) If .swf files have been downloaded, is the Flash Player file all people get, or can the jpeg/gif files and actual code begot too?
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2



    Burak KALAYCI

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000

    Protect .swf?

    Please let me know how I can protect my .swf files online.
    Thanks tons for your input.

  4. #4
    At builder.com Flash section there's an article titled Protect Flash From Theft by David Emberton.


    Burak KALAYCI

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000

    Protecting Swf Files

    i know that when i have ripped .swf files from sites i have been able to get the gifs jpegs and sounds and the sequence of the frames but no code or anything (which is unfortunatley wha ti was looking for).

    i know that i havent found a .swf file i couldnt get at . . but that doesnt mean its impossible to protect them. . the ones that ive found the most confounding involve embedding the swf ina frameset and using complex javascript to write out the name of the .swf file. . so that i cant directly see the name of the file. . it requires MUCH more thought . . .

    hope that helps

    faux stout

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    the infamous Burak surfaces to flashkit..good to see you.

    "not even alpha" hehe

    never got a chance to say thanks so i will say it now...


  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000

    Protecting swf files

    Without actual testing my own theory I've seen this done with other file types. THough I'm not sure how perl scripting will effect how the file is outputted though.

    Using SSI, you could use a perl script to access a protected directory, which only accepts calls from the server itself, pull the swf file and stick it into the actual html file. They don't know where the file is and can't get to it without bypassing the htaccess protection method. If your having a real big problem with it, it's worth th try.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000

    Lightbulb Experts

    Thanks to you all for your generous input here in
    regards to helping us learn how we might be able
    to better project our valuable and copyright-owned
    professional studio work (for .swf files, outside of
    any Digimark operations.)

    It appears that we may possibly have to hire an
    advanced programming expert to help us conduct
    some of the suggestions contained in this thread,
    since this stuff is way over our heads, including mine.

    If anyone here has any further ideas, I invite you to
    please contribute your input, as we're still assessing
    our best options, and it would be much appreciated.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    WI, USA

    HTML content

    As long as the person is able to see the source (most often everyone is) of the .HTML page which has the .SWF inserted, it is very easy to see the name of the .swf file.

    Protect from import will protect the SWF's original source, no sounds will be presented nor any actions or movie clips...

    For people to access the Flash content on your site, viewing the SWF is necessary, but no one could actually steal or edit your copyright if protect from import is enabled. All they can do is download it and just view the animation or whatever it is in the SWF.

    Regards, NIck

  10. #10

    simple method

    Usually the way I do protect my swf.,,is very simple..

    It's not perpect solution but works charm.

    I add a code that check if _url is valid or it is specified one in the first frame so that if it's not correct the movie won't play..

    or more perfectly,
    I put "load movie" during preloading..and the loaded movie has the script above and set the variable in the main movie ...that will be a key to play the movie or control the main movie.

    or you can combine the method with server-side script.

    However, there is no way to prevent your flash movies from being hacked by a serious guy. Never!

  11. #11
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2000

    SWF protection

    Here are my answers....

    1) How are people downloading these?
    Anyone can easily download a swf by accessing a site that uses flash.In order to watch a flash site obviously the swf is downloaded into the user pc.It can be found in the temp folder.

    2) What does the "protect from import" publishing option do, if it doesn't actually protect from import?

    Protection here,does not mean that you can stop the file from being downloaded.Instead it prevents the swf file from being imported into flash again to be edited as mention.Hey is does you can experiment it yourself.Publish a movie (check the protection option) see if you can import it again.Ans :You can't. That is the use of this option.

    3) Aside from the Flash file publishing "protection" option, is there any way files can really be protected from download or stealing?
    Of course the above method is not 100% effective.There are programs out there that can crack a protected movie to become unprotected.Other then the above method you would have your name on the movie itself.When you publish disable the option in flash (things like rewind option) disble them!

    4) If .swf files have been downloaded, is the Flash Player file all people get, or can the jpeg/gif files and actual code begot too?

    Your actual code is still protected unless they crack the swf file.But I am afraid your gif and swf file will in their pc.Still in tact.

    Good Luck,

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2000

    No real way to protect it

    1. Even if you use the Protect feature there are tools that will open up SWF's.

    2. There is no way to prevent a SWF from being downloaded if it is on the web and available to the public. If you don't want the possibility of people stealing it then the only solution is to not make it public. This goes for anything on the web.

    3. It is still possible (and easy) to rip the images from a SWF. The easiest way to rip a picture from a SWF is to use the [ALT] Prnt Scrn key while the Flash is playing. Then pasting into an image editor. There is no easy method of protecting any work from this.

  13. #13
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2000

    Lightbulb You guys are awesome!

    Thank you to you all for your excellent input.
    (I hope the questions weren't too "newbie"
    for you. ;-) We don't mind .swf files being
    downloaded of course per se, it's just the
    copyright material which is of concern, and
    the fact that we don't know what's being done
    with files, work, etc. Alas, I certainly realize there
    is only so much "control" on the web.

    Thanks Nick, choosh, Rajaant, johnie and others
    before. I really appreciate your input.

    From the great (and various) info shared, it
    seems there are differing opinions among some
    people in whether .swf *content files themselves*
    (ie; gifs, jpegs, etc) can be garnered. From some,
    I understand this not possible, from others, yes.
    I hope Nick's right! We're concerned less of course
    about the code itself (since we're not big wiz-bang
    programmers, there are far better sites in that realm,
    and this another issue for programmers themselves
    in regards to how they feel about their own work.
    As a studio, we aren't concerned at present if code
    taken (code copyright is still a debatable issue with
    some programmers anyway), yet do certainly in the
    actual content files themselves. We need to protect
    these as do all studios. Thank you for your interest
    and consideration in this, guys.

    My feeling is the same; that if we need take this
    farther, I'll have to look for an expert to work with,
    whom could help work a solution for us. Cheers!

  14. #14
    I think there might be a solution:

    make 2 swf files: main.swf and second.swf

    main.swf will use external load movie code to load the second.swf file
    second.swf file will be the file we want to be protected.

    For someone who is not to familiar with flash won't crack the second.swf file.

  15. #15
    Gangsta Yoda™
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    But the second swf will still need to be downloaded too so it would just be a way to mask the actual filename I think?

    Are your swf files embeded with the flv file too?

  16. #16
    Knows where you live
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Most of the solutions here are as easy to bypass as typing about:cache into firefox. You are going to have to assume that they will have a downloaded copy of your file and all its dependencies (simple even without caching).

    From there, you can obfuscate, build in protection and make your file painful to crack, but frankly, all you are doing is playing the delaying game, and there is no way to protect your art and sounds.

    Google flash decompiler, quite a few of them have trials and you can sift through your file.

    Basically it comes down to this:
    Flash is an open format.
    If it is on the internet, it can be downloaded.
    All assets (pictures sound etc) cannot be protected.
    Code can be obfuscated, but is still obtainable with enough time (think weeks to years on anything of complexity)

    Nik is incorrect, any worthwhile decompiler will have the entire .swf and assets sorted into folders within seconds. Encryption can help, but if the flashplayer can read it, there will be a way to get to it.

    Frankly, protecting code is hard enough, trying to protect anything else is futile.
    Last edited by 691175002; 10-31-2007 at 07:02 PM.
    The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
    - Walter Bagehot
    The height of cleverness is to be able to conceal it.
    - Francois de La Rochefoucauld

  17. #17
    Gangsta Yoda™
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    What about using a watermark during flv encoding?

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