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How Does USB Copy Protection Work?

In this article we will detail how the Nexcopy USB copy protection solution works. Before we start there are important definitions we must all agree upon. As in today’s market place there are multiple vendors using the wrong definitions to explain copy protection.

Copy protection is different than encryption; although copy protection does use a form of encryption in the overall solution.

Encryption is scrambling up data and requiring a password to piece all the data together and display it. Once the password is entered the data can be viewed. The potential security issue is the user who entered the password can now do anything they wish with the files, print, save, share, etc.

Copy protection is different in two ways. First, there is no password required to view the data. Second, the files cannot be saved, printed, shared, streamed when viewed by even the most trusted user.

The later, copy protection, is what most people want when it comes to multi-media files like PDF, video, audio and HTML pages. Most users want the data to be seen by as many people as possible, yet the data cannot be saved, shared, streamed, printed or screen captured.

So with that in mind, let us review how the Nexcopy solution works for USB copy protection.

Here are six bullet points regarding features Nexcopy provides which others do not:

  • Copy protected content plays on both Mac and Windows computers
  • There are no Admin rights required to play the content
  • There is no installation required on the host computer
  • The content runs 100% from the flash drive
  • The USB stick is write protect, so files cannot be deleted or changed
  • The solution is both hardware and software, ultra-secure

The Nexcopy USB copy protection solution runs with the assumption the content owner does not want to share the data with even duplication service companies. It is assumed the content owner wants total control of the data before, during and after the USB duplication process.

Here are the steps for using the Copy Secure drives as the content owner:

  1. Content owner receives USB drives from Nexcopy.
  2. Using the free Nexcopy software (Copy Secure Wizard) the content owner will data load the drives.
  3. The software will copy, up to, three drives simultaneously, using any available USB ports on the host PC.
  4. Note: For large scale production Nexcopy does offer a 20 target USB duplicator system.
  5. Once the drive is loaded, Nexcopy includes two additional files (MacViewer and PCViewer) on the USB.
  6. The “viewer” programs are what decrypt and display the file.
  7. The “viewer” is secure in that it blocks saving, printing, screen capture and much more.

Those are the steps for the content owner. Below are the steps by the end-user who receives the drive:

  1. The end-user will receive the flash drive and connect it their computer.
  2. User will access the USB and see only two applications, the MacViewer and PCViewer.
  3. Depending on their computer system (Mac or PC) the user will open either the MacViewer or PCViewer.
  4. It’s important to know; the “viewers” do not require installation or Admin rights to run.
  5. The viewer will list all the copy protected files on the USB.
  6. The viewer will open any file the user selects and display it as expected.
  7. Tip: The viewer has an option to auto-open a specific file, if that is required by the content owner. For example, an instructions PDF or video the content owner wants the end-user to see first.

TIP: It is impossible to restrict someone from copying files off a flash drive, USB copy protection is no different; however, the copied files will not play. If a user copies a file off the USB stick and opens it, in say Adobe Reader or Windows Media Player, they will receive an error message saying the file is corrupt… that is true because the file is encrypted. Only the Nexcopy viewer applications can open the file(s).

The Copy Secure solution uses both hardware and software for the encryption and security of the USB. The free Nexcopy wizard utility to data load the drives will only work with Nexcopy licensed media. The wizard utility is Windows only, because there are specific commands which must be sent to the USB which can only be done in a Windows operating system environment. However, as stated earlier, the copy protected content will play back in both Mac and Windows computers.

The copy protected content will not play back in SmartTVs or car stereos.

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Rich Gates

Administator for GetUSB.info GetUSB.info started in 2004 with the concept of providing USB information for everything USB related. At the time, USB was gaining momentum and every day new products, articles and news became published. Today, the site is focused on bringing technical information, tricks and hacks to USB related products. The site does publish off topic information as well, to keep the variety up. Please visit the footer area of any page if you or your company is interested in article or product placement via purchased advertising.

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USB copy protection with digital rights management for data loaded on USB flash drives.

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