Document Security & Copy
Generally, when people talk about "document security", they are
referring to a server's resistance to common exploits or the
obscurity of a document's location on a server. But when we
start talking about document security in respect to "copy
protection", there are few solutions that can protect documents
from unauthorized use and also protect their content from being
copied while open to view.
Most document protection is not for mission critical use
Today document protection is a popular topic and many developers
have exploited the need by offering what are mostly useless and
superficial protection solutions; useless because they offer
little to no protection at all and cannot be recommended where
the protection of intellectual or otherwise classified
information is mission critical.
How such applications even exist is supported by the naivety of
end users who do not realize that implied "security" does not
necessarily mean "secure", and also because of the naivety of
the developers peddling the solution, that is,
if they have any integrity in the first place. One only has to
perform a web search on "protect documents" to appreciate how
many different approaches and concepts currently exist. Further exploration of
be disappointing and could leave one with the impression
that real protection is not possible.
There are mainly two (2) areas of protection to consider when
dealing with documents:
Preventing forwarding and unauthorized distribution
- Forwarding of documents to other or unauthorized persons.
- Protecting the contents of a document from copy.
While it is impossible to restrict the duplication of files to
send to someone else by email, download or on disk, it is
possible to limit and restrict access to those files by the
person receiving it, so that it does not matter who receives the
file when they will not have permission to open it. This type of
protection is commonly referred to as Digital Rights Management
Copy protecting documents from all copy and save
While a document is open, a user usually has the option of copying its
Most of these options can also be activated by using hotkeys such as "Ctrl C" for copy to the clipboard and so on.
But even after disabling menu options in the reader, pages are still at the mercy of screen capture.
- Sending the document to a printer or file converter.
- Using a file conversion program to extract the original
- Drag-and-drop of the text and images to the desktop.
- Highlighting by mouse select and copy-and-paste to the
- Using Ctrl C or Print Screen to create a screenshot of the
- Using screen capture software to create a screenshot of the
Copy protecting all file formats
To properly protect any document a custom reader is required to
ensure that the file remains intact and that the usual copy/save
menu options are not available. For example it is not possible
to protect a Word document unless that document is encrypted and
then you need a reader that can decrypt and display Word. MS
Word cannot do this so you need to create a custom reader and
Word resources are not open source. The same applies to almost
all other file formats and for each file type you will need a
reader. So a common file format is needed to narrow the field. Because PDF is a file format that most have heard of and
because there are many PDF converters available today,
converting most files types to PDF can be easy and economic.
Limitations and requirements
Today we have many different operating systems (OS), all of
which fall into distinct family types such as Windows, Linux,
Android, MacOS, etc. So designing a copy protection solution
becomes most difficult and while it might be possible to provide
readers that prevent and limit copy and save actions, it is not
possible to do so effectively for all operating systems (OS). Yes, there are solutions
available for all OS but they have so many holes and they can be so
easily exploited that you may as well not use protection. For
example, how can anything be considered as being "protected"
when all it takes is a click of the Print Screen button to
capture a page or part thereof?
However there are worthwhile solutions for Windows computers.
ArtistScope, the founder of copy protection for the Internet and
leading developer of DRM since 1998, provides the most secure
copy protect solutions that are supported across all Windows versions since XP,
so that 92% of all
Internet users are supported. The remaining 8% is a mixture of
OS, 2% of which are comprised of search engines and media
ArtistScope document protection
ArtistScope provides a CopySafe Service that is second to
none when it comes to preventing copy from all methods including
Print Screen and screen capture. CopySafe Web was first released
in 1999 and it is supported on all Windows computers. Then in
2008 CopySafe PDF was released with DRM options that
revolutionized Document Rights Management. Unlike its
predecessors ArtistScope DRM could not be exploited and its DRM
could not be removed. Others providing document protection
claimed that what ArtistScope DRM does was impossible because they couldn't understand it. For example it
took LockLizard more than 2 years to imitate the ArtistScope
Total control document management
ArtistScope DRM provides total control management over all
documents and users with immediate effect on any changes made,
even on documents that may already be saved to a user's computer
or out in the wild on CD. From a control panel (web form) in the
DRM Portal an author can suspend a user's account, retire a
document, change its expiration or change its print
restrictions. Because the reader always "phones home" to check
permissions before opening any DRM protected document, control
of a document subscription stays in the hands of the author.
Publishing documents with CopySafe PDF
Protection is by far the most secure solution for documents, especially
when DRM is applied. Documents can not only be distributed
securely by email, download or on CD, but they can also be
displayed on web pages. In fact, CopySafe PDF is the only
document solution that can display PDF on web pages while being
protected from all avenues of copy and save including Print
Screen and screen capture.
CopySafe PDF can be displayed from any web site
CopySafe PDF can be added to any web page regardless of which
programming language is used. If you are
using a CMS and/or have limited HTML skills, ArtistScope
provides a variety of free modules for integrating CopySafe PDF
with most popular CMS solutions:
Download and evaluation
You can download the
CopySafe PDF Protector software for free trial and you can
also create a demo account in the
CopySafe DRM Portal.
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