How To Protect PDF Documents With PDF Protection Software & Why It Is Important For Online PDF Documents

PDF is a commonly used format because it is cross platform and almost everyone has a PDF Reader installed, whether it be the Adobe Reader or one of the many other desktop readers. But a lot of authors wrongly assume that by converting their Microsoft Word or other text style document to PDF format, that they are protecting it and preventing its content from being copied or extracted.

Well that may have been true 20 years ago when the planet was inhabited by computer novices, but today even novices can easily find and select from a plethora of software designed to convert PDF to any file type that they like, and some will do that regardless of any password or print control embedded in the PDF document... especially if the PDF remains readable by a generic PDF reader.

So to properly protect PDF it needs to be converted by PDF protection software for use in a proprietary PDF reader, one that is designed to check for embedded copy and print restrictions and decrypt the PDF document for display.

Why Encrypt PDF Documents?

Without encryption the PDF contents can easily be extracted and regardless of whether the PDF file is stored on a web server and linked from a web page or embedded on a web page, search engines and download software can still obtain the document and extract its content.

Copy Protecting Online PDF Documents

Online schools are becoming more and more commonly used and there are a lot of them displaying their lessons in PDF and video from web pages. But while their website may be using Moodle or another LMS system for the website core, displaying copy protected PDF on web pages is most difficult today because when normal web browsers are used, the effect and control of copy protection is diminished due to the restrictions of what is now allowed to run in those web browsers. For example, there will be no protection from screenshots or screen capturing software because normal web browsers are no longer empowered to do what it takes.

That is why the CopySafe PDF Protection software is used where protecting the intellectual property of course content and structure and thus protecting the livelihoods of those teachers is paramount. CopySafe PDF Protection provides the most secure and most effective protection from all methods of copy and its DRM for desktop reading provides the most secure prevention of sharing by locking PDF documents to a user's computer.

For protecting PDF displayed on web pages, CopySafe PDF Protection is the only solution that can be displayed on a web page while preventing all methods of copy.

Alternatives For Online Document Protection

Some time ago normal PDF could be embedded on a web page with options removed from the toolbar that enabled copy, save and print. But changes in Adobe Reader put an end to that. Normal PDF could also be used in conjunction with website protection software to add an additional layer of protection to prevent copy while the age is on display in a web browser. But those days are also gone due to that PDF toolbar.

But website protection software can be used with PDF rendering that does not use Adobe Reader resources. For example, there are some JavaScript solutions that will dissemble a PDF file and then display its contents on a web page so that it still resembles a PDF document. But what is presented is not the actual PDF file. However it should be noted that that PDF solution cannot be pure JavaScript because it would then surrender the location of the original PDF file. So it should use some server side scripting such as PHP or ASP to read in the PDF contents.

So as long as the original PDF is not on display and not easily located, almost any PDF rendering solution can be used in conjunction to effectively copy protect the PDF while on display when used in conjunction with a good website protection software, and by "good" I mean one that does really prevent all methods of copy and screen capture.

Good Website Protection Software

The choices for good website protection software that effectively prevent all copy and exploits are limited today due to the limitations in modern web browsers. Consequently there are only two choices available and that is because they are designed for use in the only web browser that designed for copy protecting websites.

Websites on dedicated or virtual servers with admin rights to install software at system level can use the ArtistScope Site Protection System (ASPS) while websites on shared hosting servers (cheap hosting) can use the CopySafe Web Protection software. Both solutions require the ArtisBrowser web browser for user access.

ASPS is compatible with CopySafe Web, CopySafe PDF and CopySafe Video and they can be used side by side. However if you a virtual server, ASPS is the recommended solution because it provides the upmost protection from all copy and extraction including via packet sniffing software. ASPS provides a secure encrypted tunnel between the website and the user's browser (ArtisBrowser) in which no copy, save or print is possible unless the site owner specially allows it.

Author: William Kent
Date: 6th May 2020

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