May 24 2009

This is the reason adobe have issued the DMCA removal request for rtmpdump – the tool which allows saving of downloaded rtmp streams from sites that use the rtmp streaming protocol. I’ve had some more clarification. The DMCA removal request by adobe does not claim that rtmpdump infringes any copyright of adobe, but it claims rtmpdump can be used to infringe copyrights of others. It says in the letter:

The rtmpdump utility hosted on (see URL below) can be used to download copyrighted works, such as those on

Well isn’t this kind of like saying that web browsers can be used to download copyrighted works – and almost all web site content is copyrighted; Maybe adobe should issue a DMCA removal request on Does the fact that rtmp is used necessarily mean that the user cannot save the stream for time-shifting, fair-use or legitimate archiving purposes? The content could even quite possibly come under a creative commons license which can allow indefinite storage, copying and distribution with the right attribution.

As ever, I wonder what adobe’s motivations are here. Maybe adobe just don’t want their highly obfuscated protocols to become widely implemented in open source projects? Or maybe their protocol is sold on the basis of rtmp streams being secure and non-downloadable and now they must face the fact that it was not the case? Who knows? Is this just another example of the Emperor’s New clothes?

It would appear that the rtmp and rtmpe protocols have now been documented in detail according a story that just broke on slashdot.

I’d like to encourage readers who value such tools to nominate rtmpdump for Best Multimedia Project on Sourceforge. Just click the icon.

Update 24th May 2009: The entire letter can be now be viewed at


  • On May 24th, 2009, Daniel Palmer said:

    DMCA issue.. but the site they suggested the tool could be used against is for a British television broadcaster. Doh.

    • On May 24th, 2009, Jakimaze said:

      I too wonder where the problematic part lies for Adobe.
      And secondly, if that part fits on a medium sized t-shirt…

      • On May 24th, 2009, Kronalias said:

        Right, my vote’s in.

        If you do it (and it would be *really* nice if you did) you need to click a confirmation email from to get your vote in …

        … so don’t use an invalid email addy please!

        (a) Nice one, Paul Battley, for bringing this to our attention!

        (b) Wouldn’t it be nice if zillions of people replied on Phil’s board saying that they’ve voted?

        (c) Isn’t it brilliant to see how 1.6 has suddenly become so easily available?

        Cheers, K

        • On May 25th, 2009, Ewan Marshall said:

          As a DMCA takedown notice is notification to take down an unauthorized copy of copyrighted works at the penalty of perjury that this is the case and that the person is authorized to issue the takedown notice on behalf of the copyright holder.

          DMCA takedown notices are not to be used against software that allows the circumvention of technilogical protection measures. And rtmpdump doesn’t even do that.

          • On May 25th, 2009, Denver Gingerich said:

            See for more details on why Adobe is pursuing this. It appears to be because rtmpdump circumvents RTMPE, which, under the DMCA in the US, is illegal as RTMPE is considered a technological protection measure. took down rtmpdump so as not be be liable under .

            • On May 25th, 2009, linuxcentre said:

              I believe it’s also to do with the SWF verification ‘content protection’ feature – although you do need to enable RTMPE to use this feature in Flash Media Server.

            • On June 20th, 2009, David said:

              I’m curious to know in which parallel universe Adobe were browsing the channel 4 website
              (The 5th link in the list of pages that they supposedly visted on the 6th of May)

              • On June 20th, 2009, linuxcentre said:

                I have it on good authority that he’s a friend of Earl’s.

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