Rtmpdump causes discomfort for Adobe

In January "Adobe announced plans to publish the Real-Time Messaging Protocol specification, which is designed for high-performance transmission of audio, video, and data between Adobe Flash Platform technologies. This move that has followed the opening of the AMF spec has been received with varying degrees of enthusiasm from the RIA community." Unfortunately for Adobe this proclaimation has come round to bite them rather painfully in the wotsits.

The problem is a tool called rtmpdump. Adobe has had to issue a DMCA removal request for rtmpdump on Sourceforge. This utility is apparently at the heart of the IPlayer desktop I was praising so fervently a few posts ago - I must confess I have not authenticated that bit of information so it may be completely incorrect - quote me not. Rtmpdump acts by presenting itself to the rtmp streaming server as the client *.swf. As a result it is able to poach rtmp stream data from the server and make it accessible for download. In itself this was not that much of a problem however, rtmpdump it seems can also extract RTMPE protected files. This is the source for Adobe's concern and mine actually (I hate setting up the framework for RTMPS and RTMPE was an easier more accessible fix - obviously no longer).
I have been told by one of this blog's readers lkcl that rtmpdump implements the SWFverification schema. My warmest thanks.

Fabio Sonnati explains it thus:
"rtmpdump acted mainly as a Flash Player emulator as it mimics the rtmp(e) protocol from handshaking to encrypted streaming.
Acting as the specific SWF (thanks to SWFverification hack), Rtmpdump was able to substitute the original SWF, connect to FMS and grab the protected RTMP(E) stream."

It does seem then that Adobe feels that rtmpdump "can be used to download copyrighted works". Apparently certain Channel4 content that was supposedly rtmpe protected has already been poached by the usage of this utility.

Sourceforge has taken down rtmpdump from its site. The furore has exposed a whole gang of rtmp ripping tools. For starters there is a non-rtmpe version now renamed flvstreamer. It will do all that rtmpdump does without the support for rtmpe ripping. Then there is the get_iPlayer tool a utility providing access to the BBC IPlayer content. I do not see how that helps much though as the BBC IPlayer desktop provided the same functionality. So except stolen fruit tastes sweeter there's really no point in that. In addition the source code of rtmpdump v1.6, with the get_iplayer application removed is available here.


lkcl said...

"Furthermore, it was also able to circumvent SWFverification schema."

this is factually incorrect. it _implements_ the SWFverification schema, it does _not_ quotes circumvent quotes the SWFverification schema.

aYo ii said...

Thanks a lot. I'll correct the blog post

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