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Secure documents protected from all copy and save

Document Security & Copy Protection

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 them will 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:
  • Forwarding of documents to other or unauthorized persons.
  • Protecting the contents of a document from copy.
Preventing forwarding and unauthorized distribution

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 (DRM).

Copy protecting documents from all copy and save

While a document is open, a user usually has the option of copying its contents by:
  • Sending the document to a printer or file converter.
  • Using a file conversion program to extract the original content.
  • Drag-and-drop of the text and images to the desktop.
  • Highlighting by mouse select and copy-and-paste to the clipboard.
  • Using Ctrl C or Print Screen to create a screenshot of the page.
  • Using screen capture software to create a screenshot of the page.
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.

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 grabbers.

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 process.

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

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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