Thank for replying. Does this mean that what I am asking cannot be achieved?
If I allowed the secured PDF as a download instead (because it could not be embedded) and they tried to edit it with their PDF software I assume the encryption on it and restrictions (e.g. no copy and paste) would still be enforced? Especially if they are using a non-Adobe PDF program?
I apologise for the silly questions but I am just new to the whole thing and I am trying to get my head around the best way of hosting PDF documents online and keeping them secure.
If I allowed the secured PDF as a download instead (because it could not be embedded) and they tried to edit it with their PDF software I assume the encryption on it and restrictions (e.g. no copy and paste) would still be enforced?
Not a correct assumption. Some PDF software respects security and some doesn't. This has nothing to do with whether it is embedded or downloaded.
Many people face this issue, but it is best to just get used to the idea that what you put on the web can be saved, shared, emailed, copied and recirculated. That's how the web is. Even if copy/paste wasn't allowed, the user could just do a screen capture and paste that. If that weren't allowed they could photograph the screen. And for some of the older generation, it even occurs to them to retype what they want...!
Thanks for the reply.
What, if anything, can be done in this situation? Anything at all?
The only way to truly protect a PDF file from being used for extraction is to deploy it with LiveCycle DRM. That's very expensive but the Acrobat Family will always respect the permissions settings, and no third-party software can open LCDRM documents.
As Test Screen Name says, that doesn't stop someone from taking screenshots and OCR-ing them back into PDFs as if they were a scanned sheet of paper - but they cannot extract the original fonts, vector graphics, interactive elements such as scripts, layers, forms, media, etc. so it depends on what the PDF contains as to how 'protectable' it really is.