Protecting PDFs from copying, printing and adding available share time

Community Beginner ,
Mar 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021

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Quick breakdown. 

We provide 3D kitchen designs in the form of PDFs

We would like to be able to protect them from being printed, screenshot if possible. 

We would also like to be able to send them with a 'self destruct' built in after a certain time limit. Unknowns to the customer. 

 

Is this possible?

 

Thanks in advance, 

Wayne

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Comment review and collaborate PDF, PDF forms

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021

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...

We would like to be able to protect them from being printed, screenshot if possible. 

By @Wayne5E30

 

To prevent printing, restrict it in the PDF's security settings.

  1. File / Properties / Security tab.
  2. Select: Password Security. (Note, the password will be set for you, not for your end users).
    • Do-Not-Print_01.png
  3. Check the option: Restrict editing and printing...
  4. Printing allowed: None
  5. Changes allowed: your choice. We usually recommend Commenting, Form fields and Signature (option 3).
  6. Enable copying of text, images and conent: UNchecked.
  7. Enable text access for screen readers: CHECK (this allows accessibility)
  8. Change Permissions Password: this is YOUR password to be able to adjust these permissions when needed in the future.
    • Do-Not-Print_02.png

You'll need to save the document in order for the settings to "take."

 

The "self-destruct" will have to be custom coded. Maybe one of our script gurus will chime in on this. If they do, you'll have the advice from some of the best coders in the world.

 

Bevi Chagnon | Designer & Technologist for Accessible InDesign + PDFs |
Books & Classes | PubCom

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Mar 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021

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Preventing taking screenshots is impossible.

 

"Self-destruct" is only possible in Mission Impossible movies... In the real world the closest you can get is to protect the file with DRM technology which will prevent it from being opened after a certain time. This kind of protection costs a lot of money to apply, though.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021

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I think 'self destruct' was more of a way of saying that the link to that design that we send would have a life span that we control automatically. 

We know we can switch off the link manually but it would be good to be able to send the design out and after say 7 days the link expired. 

Apologies for dramatising the process.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021

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Removing the link will not work. When the user view the PDF file he/she has already a copy of the file.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Mar 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021

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Please ignore the idea that you can use PDF security settings to prevent printing, this is just ignored by many apps, utterly worthless.  If you have the necessary budget (5 figures, maybe 6), skills and resources (24/7 server, customer tech support), you could go down the DRM path. 

 

Can you stop a screen shot? Who cares. Point a camera at the screen. People do it all the time. 

 

I am very concerned at what you seem to propose, that what you sell would stop working WITHOUT THE CUSTOMER BEING TOLD. This would open you to legal action. You must be open about selling time-limited info.


Essentially though, welcome to the world of online selling where nothing can effectively be protected, whatever your budget.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021

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I think the context might of been blown out of proportion.
Im not trying to hoodwink the customer, we have great relationships with
our customers generally.
There has been a massive increase to our workload due to the pandemic and
people are wanting new kitchens.
Each customer we go and see we spend 2 hours on site then a further 6-10
hours on a plan on average.
In normal circumstances we would be winning the majority of our contracts
from these plans and our customer service.
Under these circumstances we are dealing with a lot of customers who will
never use us but know we do very technical 3D renders that they can take
elsewhere and get a poor imitation.
I know that I can never completely eradicate this I am looking at ways that
I can better the ratio.
The simple fact is that we can spend 3 days working to gain 1 days
employment and thats not sustainable long term. Ive been doing this 17
years and its only a bubble that will eventually burst.
Wayne Dodd
Little Kitchen and Bedroom Company

LittleKitchenCompany@GMail.com
07841657714
Website
Check out our work on social media

Our brochures
The Kitchen Book

1909 Kitchens
Kindred Bedrooms


Kessebohmer clever storage


Caesarstone worksurfaces
Consentino worksurfaces
Egger Laminate worktops 2020

Bosch
Siemans
Smeg
Neff
1810 Sinks and Taps

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Mar 02, 2021 Mar 02, 2021

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This kind of thing is always a question of balancing effort and expense v. security and reliability.

You can spend a lot of money on DRM protection and it will work very well.

Or you can spend a medium amount of effort and resources and protect the file relatively well, meaning a willing-enough user will still be able to work around your protection, and it might not work in all circumstances, but it will work some of the time and might deter 80% of people from trying to get around it.

Or you can spend very little effort and just accept this loss as a part of business. And if it's taking you 3 days to set up these designs then maybe you should charge your clients for that work, too... You can deduct it from the final price if they decide to go through with it finally.

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Mar 02, 2021 Mar 02, 2021

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An example of a "middle of the way"-type security is a script that can be embedded into the file that will check the current date and if it's past some pre-defined value will automatically close the file.

Now, that will work in many cases, but not in all. For example, if the file is opened in a non-Adobe viewer it's not likely to work. Also, if JavaScript is disabled it won't work. And of course, if they user changes their system date to an earlier one it won't work, too...

So the question is whether or not it's worth the effort of implementing it at all.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 02, 2021 Mar 02, 2021

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Doesnt sound like it is, ha and it also sounds like its above my ability.
I have had some great suggestions, thanks
Wayne

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Most Valuable Participant ,
Mar 02, 2021 Mar 02, 2021

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I can develop it for you, if you wish, for a small fee.

You can contact me privately via [try6767 at gmail.com] to discuss it further.

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 02, 2021 Mar 02, 2021

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Thanks,
the fee based route is something we have been contemplating for a while.
Appreciate your help,
Wayne

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