We’re looking to build an Adobe Reader plug-in to open DRM protected PDF files. We read about the Acrobat Reader Integration Key License Agreement (RIKLA) and related material from here. However, we’re not clear about the specific steps to set up a strategic partnership with Adobe to create DRM plug-ins and pricing details. The link given for “digital rights management (DRM) Acrobat Reader plug-in” is broken.
How do I go about creating a DRM plug-in? The steps are unclear. The email address provided on the above mentioned page does not seem to reply. There is no other Adobe Dev Support contact I have to contact Adobe.
Well, you'd start by making a DRM plug-in that worked with Adobe Acrobat. That is the basic start for all Reader plug-ins.
The last time there was a page it talked about $25K or $50K per annum as typical for DRM, from what I remember. Anyway, https://opensource.adobe.com/dc-acrobat-sdk-docs/devnet/rikla.html gives an email you WILL need to contact to navigate the process. I suspect Adobe demand serious oversight so they can do quality control on your DRM. There are historical reasons for their great care.
This is my recollection, with no inside knowledge. Years ago, Adobe created PDF encryption and they created plug-ins. They created a sample plug-in with some token (worthless) encryption as a way of showing what could be done, and where the real encryption would be. Someone took the sample and turned it into a "real" security product by changing the name, but not replacing the worthless sample encryption with any actual security. So far, so good. But what happened next was surprising: Adobe got the blame for this. Their reputation was damaged, actually quite badly.
So there we are, there's one theory. Another theory is that Adobe see that people are using DRM to protect valuable stuff, and don't see why - since they do most of the work by making Acrobat Reader - they shouldn't get a big cut of the action.
We could start with Acrobat plug-in, but Reader is critical for use-case too.
Also, we have mailed the RIKLA support email address mentioned on https://opensource.adobe.com/dc-acrobat-sdk-docs/devnet/rikla.html already. It's been quite some time and we're yet to hear back from them. Hence, I asked for help here.
Just to confirm, license agreement is not required for Acrobat plug-ins right?
Appreciate the history on Adobe's position on plug-ins!
That's correct, you can develop for Acrobat without a specific license (beyond the specific restrictions in the SDK license itself, if you had to accept one). I say you start with Acrobat to emphasise that Acrobat is a requirement for development - there are many questions in this forum from people who want to develop plug-ins for Reader, and who do not want to pay for Acrobat. Also, it allows your devlopment to proceed through the time consuming Reader plug-in licensing process.
You need to contact Adobe directly for that. We have no say or influence regarding this process. I can tell you I once sent such a request and never heard back, so I abandoned the project.
And you don't need to get any permissions to create an Acrobat plugin, no.