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Securing PDFs with passwords

Jul 7, 2013 8:03 PM

I've been attempting to secure a document to prevent the copy - pasting of text, but it doesn't seem to work. I set the password, and then leave unchecked the tick box to enable copying and pasting of text. After saving the document, when I open it in Preview I can still copy and paste text.

 

I've now tried this with copies of Acrobat Pro 7, Acrobat Pro 9, and Acrobat Pro X - none seem to work properly.

 

Very frustrating - any help appreciated.

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2013 2:57 PM   in reply to pixelmap

    Preview is a buggy application. You should contact Apple and report this

    bug to them... There's nothing else to do about it.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2013 3:01 PM   in reply to pixelmap

    You should do exactly the opposite, actually. Use Acrobat Pro and tell your users not to use Preview, but stick with Adobe software, like Reader. Preview will corrupt your PDF forms and does not follow the PDF specifications correctly.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2013 3:04 PM   in reply to pixelmap

    PDF is an ISO standard, not a format owned by Adobe (any more). And yes, Preview is buggy because it's not following that standard correctly.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2013 3:05 PM   in reply to pixelmap

    Reader is a free application that can be installed by anyone, on any operating system...

    Anyway, if Apple's buggy application works for you, that's fine. Just keep in mind your files might not work so well if someone with a PC tries to open them, or even someone on a Mac using Reader or another PDF viewer.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2013 3:10 PM   in reply to pixelmap

    It's likely the security settings you apply with Preview (or Apple's PDF engine) are not going to work well (or at all) on other platforms. No technology is 100% secure... The closest you can get is by using DRM.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2013 3:22 PM   in reply to pixelmap

    OK, if you say so... I think this discussion has ran its course.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2013 8:04 PM   in reply to pixelmap

    The content copy restrictions entry as defined in ISO 32000 is a request to the rendering application not to allow copying. It does not encrypt the content, it is not designed to be in any way 'secure', but a compliant renderer must abide by the entry when it's present. OS X Preview fails to implement the ISO standard in this respect, but that's Apple's decision.  Apple have never claimed that their software is ISO-compliant, but Adobe Acrobat certainly is.

     

    When you apply a user (permissions) password using Adobe software you are shown a warning prompt explaining very clearly that third-party software may not respect it. If you dismiss the warning without bothering to read the warning, it's not Adobe's fault.

     

    If you want a PDF file to be truly secure against copying, you have to use DRM. That's why people with high-value documents pay a great deal of money for LiveCycle.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2013 9:06 PM   in reply to pixelmap

    No, it's simply that Preview is recognizing its offspring. Open that PDF in other applications (Firefox, Safari, Foxit, EzPDF, etc) and see what happens.

    pixelmap wrote:

     

    Furthermore, I was also pointing out that there are better ways to accomplish the same thing - using the built pdf-maker in OS X.

     

    It may not be ISO-compliant - but it WORKS.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 8, 2013 1:41 AM   in reply to pixelmap

    Wouldn't it be nice to have something that worked for everything?

    Good point. If only there was some sort on International Standard describing how it should be done and everyone would adhere to it...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 8, 2013 6:52 AM   in reply to pixelmap

    Nice but impossible. The concept of an 'open standard' such as ISO 32000 is that anyone can build software to read the contents of a file. It's up to the programmer if they ignore some parts of the specification, so there will always be people releasing programs that ignore your permissions request. They may claim it's because they're anti-copyright or want to allow fair use, or that they just didn't have the time to write that bit of the code. Nobody can stop them.

     

    pixelmap wrote:

     

    Wouldn't it be nice to have something that worked for everything?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 10, 2013 3:59 PM   in reply to pixelmap

    Copy protection in PDF is a very old (perhaps 15 years old) technology. At that time Adobe Reader was the only game in town. As techology advanced the copy protection does not make sense anymore. Even with expensive DRM solutions you can always take a picture of the screen with your high-res cell phone camera, OCR the image, and then copy and paste it anywhere you want.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 10, 2013 4:53 PM   in reply to pixelmap

    The time you spent on this thread after you got the first expanation was a complete waste of time, as was mine trying to edicate you, which you refuse to do. Looks like you just like to vent.

    What do you want: that Adobe removes this feature from Acrobat/Reader? Contact Adobe for that. This forum does not have the power to do that. Or use certified standards-compliaent software (like Adobe Reader). Or complain to Apple that they do not obey international standards. But do not waste time of other peoples who are trying to help you understand the reality of the situation.

     
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