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Protecting and tracking PDF documents?

Jul 18, 2012 12:07 AM



We are about to build our new website and need to find a solution to make downloadable PDF documents available for both clients and registered members of our (3) new website(s).


A colleague I spoke to, however, told me that we need to find a solution of some sort to protect against unwanted distribution of the PDF documents that we make available through our website(s).


Initially, I had no idea of how to do this since this is a major issue for companies around the globe that are already struggling with piracy, but he then mentioned something about the Adobe Tracker software.


Does anyone know if that is possible through Adobe Tracker? I've read a bit about this software, but it seemed very vague on what it is it really does?


Perhaps any expert Adobe Acrobat users in here can help me with some answers on this particular topic.


Thank you very much!

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 18, 2012 5:53 AM   in reply to ufoldager

    You're talking about DRM so want to look at LiveCycle Rights Management Server (part of LiveCycle Enterprise Suite 3), but it's expensive, and integrating a DRM solution with an existing website sales/download front end can be challenging to say the least.


    Tracker is a helper app bundled with Acrobat and Adobe Reader, and is used to collate responses for shared reviews and forms. It has nothing to do with document protection.

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    Jul 18, 2012 9:12 AM   in reply to ufoldager

    Yes. Secure. Any password security is easily bypassed. DRM is the only way to secure pdfs. However, if you are giving away your content for users who sign in don't sweat the small stuff. Watermark the pdfs at creation if you insist. Print your company's name in white on white background and sue the heck of anyone who you catch infringing. Or prominently display your company's name on the files and be happy for the free advertisement when your materials are distributed. People pay lots of money for publicity.

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    Aug 1, 2012 11:39 PM   in reply to ufoldager

    If a watermark is placed on a layer, it can be removed in 3 seconds. If it's part of the page content but has not been merged into the underlying objects (so they exist behind it) then it can be removed in 4 seconds as there's one extra mouse click.


    It's important to understand that PDF is an open standard, so if you can see a PDF on-screen in non-Adobe software, you can do anything you want with it. Only Adobe software guarantees to respect the security permissions on a file, so by using LiveCycle DRM you gain two advantages - the file can't be cracked by hand, and it won't open in anything other than Acrobat and Adobe Reader.

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