How to set a PDF expiry date ?

New Here ,
Feb 28, 2018 Feb 28, 2018

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This seems to be a common problem and I cannot find an answer.

I send out a lot of sensitive docs in PDF form that I would like to ensure are not able to be open or read after a certain time.  How do I achieve that ?

I have a subscription to the Document Cloud.

Thanks

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Feb 28, 2018 Feb 28, 2018

DRM (“Digital Rights Management”) is not a built-in tool in Acrobat or Reader. There are (typically very expensive) third party tools for this that most often require an administrative server. That having been said, PDF files using such “protection” may not necessarily be protected or be even readable in non-Adobe PDF viewers.

          - Dov

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Feb 28, 2018 Feb 28, 2018

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DRM protection is the only reliable way.

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New Here ,
Feb 28, 2018 Feb 28, 2018

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Is DRM an inbuilt feature of the product or it a 3rd party tool/product ? If 3rd party can you recommend a product to accomplish this ?

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Feb 28, 2018 Feb 28, 2018

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DRM (“Digital Rights Management”) is not a built-in tool in Acrobat or Reader. There are (typically very expensive) third party tools for this that most often require an administrative server. That having been said, PDF files using such “protection” may not necessarily be protected or be even readable in non-Adobe PDF viewers.

          - Dov

- Dov Isaacs, former Adobe Principal Scientist (April 30, 1990 - May 30, 2021)

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New Here ,
Feb 28, 2018 Feb 28, 2018

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OK thank you - seems crazy to me that this type of thing isn't baked into the basic product.  I certainly don't want to add complexity or hassle for my document recipients.   Ugh !

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Feb 28, 2018 Feb 28, 2018

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It is impossible to really “bake this into the basic product” since it involves a serious amount of expensive, complex software that is beyond the scope of a desktop product. (Adobe does have a server-based DRM produce, LiveCycle, but it is very expensive and complex to deploy.)

          - Dov

- Dov Isaacs, former Adobe Principal Scientist (April 30, 1990 - May 30, 2021)

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New Here ,
Aug 14, 2020 Aug 14, 2020

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Expiring PDF documents would be a game-changer for a lot of people in a lot of industries. It is not impossible, just tricky. Spotify, Apple Music, all the streaming services do this.

It would be useful for training companies and anyone else selling intellectual property to be able to grant a license to content that expires and can be renewed. 

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New Here ,
Aug 14, 2020 Aug 14, 2020

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Further evidence of this being possible: if I stop paying for Creative Cloud, it stops working... we would like the same capability... 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Aug 14, 2020 Aug 14, 2020

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No one said it can't be done. In fact, it already exists (it's called DRM, see above in this thread), it just costs a lot of money to implement it, the same as it costs a lot of money to do it for a piece of software, or any other type of digital asset.

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New Here ,
Jun 18, 2021 Jun 18, 2021

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Dov Isaacs, so you mean to tell me that People have gone to the Moon, sent space probes to Mars, and put a Tesla in orbit of Earth but this is IMPOSSIBLE?

 

I'm not sure what country you're from, BUT in America, "impossible" doesn't exist. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 24, 2021 Jun 24, 2021

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There is also this solution:

https://www.pdfscripting.com/public/Lite-Document-Security-Description.cfm

 

Thom Parker - Software Developer at PDFScripting
Use the Acrobat JavaScript Reference early and often

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 01, 2018 Mar 01, 2018

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While DRM is the only reliable way to do this, there are some low bar solutions that you can use to basically keep honest, or non-developer from using the file past a specific date.

Such as the lite security technique shown on this example PDF:Search Downloads

This sample is behind a subscription site.

Thom Parker - Software Developer at PDFScripting
Use the Acrobat JavaScript Reference early and often

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New Here ,
May 19, 2020 May 19, 2020

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Thom, could you provide me some insights or links to information on how to do the "low bar solution" that you mentioned?   Thanks much...   Steve

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 19, 2020 May 19, 2020

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Here's a page describing the downloadable PDF file that is both a sample of the technique and a tutorial on it.

You have to be a member to gain access to it.  

https://www.pdfscripting.com/public/Lite-Document-Security-Description.cfm

 

Thom Parker - Software Developer at PDFScripting
Use the Acrobat JavaScript Reference early and often

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 19, 2019 Oct 19, 2019

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I recommend no one use this website. See my review of it here: https://community.adobe.com/t5/Acrobat/how-to-prevent-pdf-files-save-locally-or-forward-the-to-anyon...

In short, the protection it offers is easily overcome and it is not clear who (or what) is behind it, that you're giving access to your sensitive files to...

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