Copy protected web hosting for PDF and video

How to Copy Protect PDF Documents

Protect PDF DocumentPortable Document Format (PDF) is an open file format created by Adobe Systems in 1993 for document exchange. In the beginning, Adobe Reader was not available for free and the documents were bigger than the original text files. Today, there are many PDF creators and readers to choose from, all of which can create what looks like a PDF document, but they may not be identical or fully compatible in cross-matched readers.

PDF still remains as the universal format for the distibution of documents that can be read on all computers and devices, mainly because any type of file can be converted to PDF. Other file types like Word DOC and XLS files cannot be viewed on all devices so conversion to PDF is the best solution. eBook is a term used for douments published as books, however they require aspecial readers so distributing eBooks as PDF makes more sense, especially when considering that as PDF they can be copy protected.

Simple Copy Protection for PDF

We use the term "simple" because it is just that. Here, the PDF has been encapsulated similar to a ZIP file with expiry date or password protection. Unfortunately this method has given DRM a bad name because a web search can produce many apps that remove that expiration and password protection to extract what is a normal PDF inside.

Other "simple" methods may include encrypting the file for use in a generic reader like the Adobe PDF Reader. Again, such protection is easily exploited even if the decryption process is built into the Adobe Reader because its PDF files can easily be decompiled to extract their content. In fact there are many apps available today that will convert PDF to a variety of other file types.

Best Copy Protection for PDF

To properly protect PDF documents, encryption and a special reader is needed to ensure that the doument cannot be extracted and displayed to render it vulnerable to copy. That reader needs to be specially designed to prevent all methods of copy including save, print, screenshots and recording. The avenues for exploit are many and the solutions that prevent them all are few.

But first one needs to decide how they want to distibute copy protected PDF. Do you want users to download and read on their desktop or do you want them to read your document online. These two scenarios are very different and they each have pros and cons.

Copy Protecting PDF for the Desktop

CopySafe PDF Protection software provides three (3) output options. Protected PDF can be created for desktop viewing, with or without DRM to prevent sharing and distributed by email, download or on disk. Or protected PDF can be encrypted to include domain lock for display on web pages using one of our add-ons for popular CMS like Drupal, Joomla, Moodle and WordPress.

CopySafe PDF provides the most secure copy protection and DRM for PDF but it requires a Windows computer. While that can be ideal for corporate networks and select clients, if you want your documents readable on all devices including mobile phones, you need to use an online reading solution. It is not viable to use desktop readers on all devices (including phones) is because their platforms are unstable and easily exploited.

Copy Protecting PDF for Online Reading

Copy protecting PDF for display on web pages has many advantages over desktop reading due to ease of management and control:

  • The document is more easily updated.
  • Users will always have the latest version.
  • Changes to protection settings like expiration and DRM take immediate effect.
  • Supported across all computers and devices including mobile phones.

The following solutions can be read from all devices including Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone and Android phones:

  • ArtistScope Site Protection System (ASPS) requires a dedicated server or VPS to copy protect all media displayed on a web page.
  • Copy Protected Web Hosting is a web hosting service that includes copy protection, DRM and file storage for images, PDF and video.
  • SafeGuard DRM is a WordPress plugin that will add access rights to any web page or post.
  • SafeGuard Media is a WordPress plugin that will add copy protected images, PDF and video to web pages and posts.
  • SafeGuard Webmail will copy protect email and team messaging including images, PDF and video. No website required.

Beyond Copy Protection : DRM

By using Digital Rights Management (DRM) you can have total control over a user's access rights and their privileges to view, print and how many times they can do these actions. While "password protection" is considered to be DRM is not that effective when paswords can be shared. The DRM options available with CopySafe PDF, SafeGuard DRM plugins and the Guest Video hosting service cannot be exploited because the user's unique computer signature is used to identify them and validate their access rights. When each user first claims their access rights, their device is recorded and their account locked to that device. Consequently passwords and login details cannot be shared.

As the author, any changes that you make to a document or the user's permissions will take effect immediately.

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