View Full Version : .pdf protection to avoid file sharing...

03-28-2010, 01:10 AM
Hello all. Can someone recommend the best/most cost effective .pdf protection? For instance, I heard of a program that essentially creates an individual password for an ebook so that it can only be read on that computer or device etc. and since this is always unique to the downloader, the file cannot be shared on a p2p program.

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide...

03-28-2010, 01:20 AM
Any protection you can add to a PDF already has an existing crack out there. Which means that most PDF "security" devices end up annoying legitimate readers of your work, while the pirates can get past them anyway. Many of the theoretically "more secure" versions are annoying enough that some people who would buy a PDF otherwise will actually go get a cracked version for free instead, so that they don't have to deal with the password locking and such.

That said, I'm sure there are many security devices out there that you can add to the PDF, to lock out all sorts of features. Just keep in mind that you're more likely to annoy legitimate readers than pirates with those sorts of approaches.

03-28-2010, 01:43 AM
I see. Thats a bloody shame then.

03-28-2010, 02:35 AM
I would recommend against it. If they can share the file they can share the password. And if a paying reader loses the password, as they inevitably will, this function will annoy the heck out of them.

Mac H.
03-28-2010, 07:35 AM
I agree with the others.

From the reader's point of view it's like having a book publisher say "I'd like to stop the buyer reading the book in any chair except the one they happened to be sitting in when they started the book."

If it had such protection, I wouldn't buy the book.
If I found out AFTER I bought the book, I'd crack it to save a useful version for backup purposes - otherwise if my laptop has an issue I would have lost the book forever.


03-28-2010, 12:13 PM
There's also the element that file sharing and piracy can be seen as a form of free advertising - someone who buys your work can email it to a friend, who may turn around and buy your next book, it's no guarantee, but the more people who have read you are the more people who know of you, and are the potential for a larger fanbase.

03-28-2010, 10:40 PM
Equally it can be seen as theft, because they can not only recommend the book but pass on the stolen copy. I, personally, have an entire free novella for promotion, I do what I can to shut down large-scale organised pirate downloads without going crazy. (Not, occassional swaps between friends).

03-30-2010, 04:04 AM
People actually pirate books? Seems kind of silly to me.
I wouldn't purchase a book in any form if I needed a password just to read it.

03-30-2010, 07:40 AM
The only anti-copying method that I've seen that seems reasonable is "pdf personalization". The idea is to stamp the recipient's name/email onto the document. Legitimate users see that their name is on the document, but there are no annoying access control issues. If someone puts a copy up on their webpage, you can track back to whose copy it was.

www.docmonk.com (http://www.docmonk.com) has a service doing this for pdfs, at $0.10 a file for moderately large quantities. Depending on your needs this could be a nice solution.