How To Copy Protect Documents?
A commonly asked question is "how can I protect my
documents" to which there can be no answer until the
situation is broken down because there is no one way to copy
protect all documents. Of course then the response is "I
want to copy protect all my documents including MS Office,
Excel, OpenOffice, PDF and PowerPoint".
And here is where the problems lays because it is absolutely
impossible to copy protect any of these files while they can
still viewed in their native viewer. For example if you take
a MS Office file like Word and encrypt it, then MS Word
won't be able to open it. And so it goes for all other file
formats. To copy protect anything, first it needs to be
encrypted so that it can be preserved until such time as it
is safe to display its contents, and to display an encrypted
document of any type you need a proprietary viewer (one
especially designed for the task).
To Copy Protect Documents For Online Or Offline Use?
Again we have too many scenarios to protect, because there
is a huge difference between viewing a copy protected
document online than there is to viewing a copy protected
document offline, and the difference is not where most
people assume it is. It's a common belief that when you read
a document online that it's not downloaded, and that you are
reading from the web. Well that couldn't be more wrong and
it's surprising how many people, especially those in the IT
industry, don't realize this.
Regardless of whether you read a document or web page online
or download a document to your computer, in all cases that
file gets downloaded to your computer, and it's read from
your computer! The only difference is where it read from and
the tools used to read it. For example anything read from
online is downloaded to what is known as the "Temporary
Internet Files" folder which is your web browser's caching
folder. Caching is designed to save time and data by storing
anything that you read online so that page refreshes and
revisits to the page don't require another download. Web
browsers do not hold cache forever, and although cached
files used to be difficult to use directly, the browser
makers have since changed that. When downloading a document
you usually get the option of saving that file to wherever
you like an can easily locate it at any time.
The tools used to view online and offline content will also
differ. For viewing protected documents online you need to
use a web browser and in the case of special document types
and situations where a document has been embedded into a web
page, you will need to use a plugin to decrypt it ready for
Using A Suitable Document File Format
As mentioned earlier, to provide proper copy protection for
all document types, a proprietary reader is needed.
Unfortunately this is not practical because then one would
need a different reader for each and every type of document
and the for each type, one would need a local reader and a
browser plugin for reading online. Not such a problem one
can say? Well it is because for most of these file formats
resources are required which are protected parts of their
parent applications and not for exploitation by developers
without licensing. For example to display Word document
online or offline will require teh latest version of Word to
be installed on the user's computer. For PowerPoint and
Excel it's the same and any developer tapping into these
resources will be subject to licensing from Microsoft. Adobe
requires similar licensing and it's not cheap.
Paying out to license a multitude of document APIs is not
feasible considering the current state of the copy
protection industry where IP theft comes before innovation,
but there are some solid alternatives when the field of
document formats is narrowed. Some developers have been
wrapping different file formats into Flash. Now Flash is a
sophisticated medium and they keep finding new ways of using
it, but there will always be the same problem with Flash.
While Flash can effectively be copy protected by a shadow
application, anything protected by Flash on its own is most
vulnerable. But no great loss there anyway because the file
types that can be embedded in Flash are still very limited.
Copy Protecting Documents For Online View
For the copy protection of documents while viewed online,
from a web site using a web browser, there are two (2) most
solid options available. Each solution provides a most
secure scenario and copy protection from all methods of copy
and save including Printscreen and screen capture software.
Copy Protecting Documents Online Using A Web Browser
This method utilizes a web browser plugin to decrypt copy
protected content and apply a layer of controls to prevent
copy and capture of the content while displayed. The
solution is simple to deploy and most effective because if a
user doesn't have the plugin installed they are redirected
to download and install. Only when the plugin is installed
and active can a user view the copy protected content. The
only solution capable of providing such diverse copy
protection while supported in all Windows web browsers is
known as CopySafe Web and will prevent copy of a web page
and anything displayed on that page whether it be images,
Flash, PDF or video. For evaluation please see the
CopySafe Web demos online.
Copy Protecting Documents Online Using A Secure Web
While using a plugin to copy protect documents viewed online
can provide a most secure viewing scenario, due to the
inherent nature of web browsers and the fact they are are
not designed with content protection in mind, the situation
is not ideal and a much more secure environment can be
created by doing away with general use web browsers and
restricting the view of your content to a secure web
browser, one specially designed to protect web content
instead of exploiting it. The only web browser specially
designed for this task is the ASPS Web Reader. ASPS, which
is short for the ArtistScope Site Protection System,
provides an encrypted stream from server to the Web Reader
which is not decipherable by any other browser or web tool.
Anything that is displayed in the ASPS Web Reader is
properly protected from all manner of copy without any
threat of data leakage or cache retrieval. For evaluation
download the ASPS Web Reader and explore the demo
links from its start page. This solution is most ideal for
online tutorials that use PDF and Flash.
Copy Protecting Documents For Local View & Offline
Viewing copy protected documents offline, from files
downloaded or received by email and saved to disk, is a
different scenario again because instead of using a web
browser we need to use a proprietary reader. This scenario
is also more precarious for copy protected documents because
they can be easily forwarded onto others and redistributed
without the author's permission.
But before we go into how to extend copy protection to
prevent unauthorized distribution, let's look at the
document types that can be protected. Earlier we discussed
the various file types and their resource dependencies, and
also the need for a custom viewer for each format. So now
let's get real and trim the tree.
Let's look at the PDF format. PDF documents are commonly
used for everything from contracts to invoices and
brochures. In fact there are so many different types of file
converters available for creating PDF from almost any type
of file, that it's no surprise that PDF has been chosen by
most developers for their document protection solutions.
There are many diverse solutions for document protection
solutions based on PDF, and there are many different ways of
protecting PDF documents. Password restrictions and expiry
dates are the commonly used protection methods and there are
a multitude of PDF readers that provide these options.
Unfortunately those same applications refer to their apps as
being for copy protection which can be frustrating for
anyone looking for real copy protection... that is,
preventing ALL methods of copy and save. When looking at the
options for properly protecting a PDF document, there is
only one application that is secure from all exploits, and
for document authors, especially eBook authors, it is not
only the most secure and economical copy protection solution
for documents, but it's also available with a host of
goodies for publishing and distributing an eBook.
The CopySafe eBook Store
CopySafe PDF provides the most secure copy protection for
documents, protecting a document's contents from all manner
of copy and save including screen capture. CopySafe PDF documents
can be distributed by download and on disk and can be read
locally whether online or offline. CopySafe PDF users are
entitled to free use of the CopySafe DRM Portal to further
extend the protection of their documents to prevent onward
forwarding and unauthorized use.
The publishing service provided by the
CopySafe eBook Store has it all covered!
- Upload PDF and convert to copy protected document
- Extend document protection to prevent unauthorized use
- Free listing in the CopySafe eBook Store shopping cart
- Online tools for managing document rights and
- Online book cover designer to create promotional cover
- Online sales using credit cards and user tracking
- Totally free of any commissions or royalty
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