Re: Restricting PDF copying

Subject: Re: Restricting PDF copying
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: Dan Goldstein <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 17 May 2006 10:23:50 -0400

Dan Goldstein wrote:

Posting a PDF file on a shared network. The PDF is secured against
printing. Is it possible, using either Acrobat or Windows settings, to
secure it against being copied?

The goal here is not to keep out the bad guys -- nothing can do that.
The goal is to restrict copying by good guys, when they forget which
files are not supposed to be copied.

I presume you're not asking about copying content from the PDF, which you can restrict the same way you restrict printing. You're asking about saving a copy of the downloaded document, right?

There are expensive solutions, and there are complicated solutions. The expensive solutions involve digital rights management (DRM). I haven't kept up with all the latest wrinkles, but basically these systems deliver a custom-encrypted copy of the document to the individual user, and that copy can be set to expire. I think all of these systems still require that the user be connected to the network in order for the the document to phone home and make itself readable, but that may have changed.

The complicated solutions involve writing the PDF on the fly, from content stored in a database, and adding a big red endorsement at the top of every page as you do so that reads "DOCUMENT EXPIRES ON [today's date]." Or there may be third-party plug-ins that can add that stamp to an existing PDF.

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Restricting PDF copying: From: Dan Goldstein

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