How do I Capture Streaming Media?

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  • Written By: T. Webster
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2019
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Capturing streaming media from the Internet can be tricky. Unlike a photograph, it's not as simple as right clicking on media files and saving them to your computer. Media files can be saved — it just takes a few more steps. Whatever method you choose, make sure you are not violating copyright laws.

Special software is sometimes used to capture streaming media. This software may only work if the video is not protected by digital rights management (DRM). DRM uses encryption to restrict the ability to capture streaming media. This prevents others from copying the work, altering it, or selling it.

Another option is getting a software program that makes a screen capture of a video. This is similar to capturing images on your computer desktop. You may notice that screen captures of a video produce a quality that is not as good as the original.

Be aware that today's media-capturing software may not work tomorrow. Those who create and own media on the Internet continually look for new ways to encrypt their work. This makes it much more difficult to capture. If you buy software to capture media, consider the price and whether you can return it if it does not work.


It may also be possible to capture streaming media from the Internet via your temporary Internet files directory. You may be able to find the file there and save it to your hard drive. This may not work if the file is encrypted. Once again, special software may be needed to capture and save streaming media from the temporary file.

Capturing audio from the Internet can be as easy as recording it and saving it to your computer. Similar to saving video, software may be required. Also make sure you are not violating copyright laws when capturing music or presentations.

Downloading media is less likely to get you into trouble with copyright laws if you are using the media for personal use on your own computer. You cannot distribute it to others or sell it. Distributing it to others includes posting the video to a social networking Web site or sending it through an email.

If you buy a software program to capture streaming media, make sure it is not gaining access to the media in an illegal fashion. You could get into trouble if you use a program that attempts to override copyright protection or tamper with other software. If you purchase the software over the Internet, make sure it is from a reputable company and does not contain malicious adware or spyware.


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