PDF file security

Started by DGG_Brian, June 28, 2011, 03:06:39 PM

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DGG_Brian

Hello, this is my first post here. I've been a lurker for a short while.

What has been your experience with PDF security? If I were to sell a PDF file, what if any authentication or security measures do you use to prevent unauthorized file copying and printing? Or is this even worth the trouble?

Thanks in advance for any replies.

DDG_Brian

Mike Sugarbaker

PDF DRM can be broken by pretty much anyone who wants to break it and is willing to stick with the relevant Google searches for a little while.
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lumpley

I've never considered PDF security worth the trouble.

-Vincent

DGG_Brian

That's kind of how I see it. I wouldn't want rights management to hamper getting my game out there. Also that DRM software is so expensive (at least from my searches).

pawsplay

The best security is to price your PDF at the level where none of your (realistic) customers are going to pirate it.

reaction

Quote from: lumpley on June 28, 2011, 05:27:10 PM
I've never considered PDF security worth the trouble.

-Vincent
As a point of data, I've pirated every book Vincent has ever published. I've also bought at least one copy of each. Dogs was the first indie game I ever bought, which probably never would have happened if I hadn't been puzzling over the pdf,trying to figure it out.

Thunder_God

Not worth it.

A quick jaunt to 7chan shows you people de-watermarking most games coming out with watermarks.

As for DRM... I've never purchased a pdf of a game with DRM. DriveThruRPG originally had a weekly PDF for free with DRM. Now that they don't support them, I can't open them.

I guess if I had purchased them I could re-download the new watermarked versions, but what if I tried to open them again and DTRPG weren't there anymore?

PDF security is a joke, honestly. It means not anyone can crack it, but someone will, and they'll spread it.
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Richard

Quote from: pawsplay on July 05, 2011, 11:22:47 PM
The best security is to price your PDF at the level where none of your (realistic) customers are going to pirate it.

Very much this.

It should also be noted that people who pirate stuff tend to buy afterwards too. Although this article relates to the music industry, I would be inclined to believe it holds true for all fields: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/apr/21/study-finds-pirates-buy-more-music
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Ron Edwards

I can add a one-company data point to Richard's post, in that a number of customers admit to me, out of the blue, that they used a pirated download as a kind of stepping-stone or shopping-window on the way to buying my books. I have no way to know how many people pirate them and then don't buy them, or how to separate people in that category from those who wouldn't have bought them anyway, but at least I know that someone downloading a pirated copy isn't automatically a lost sale for me.

Best, Ron

Aisha Bennett

PDF copy protection is not obtained by preventing people from copying physical files. You should make sure that the files being copied should be of no use. The secret here is to make sure that the cryptographic key used to decrypt the files cannot be passed on to others. This can be achieved by making the decryption key is not visible to people.

tymotzues

There was also a statistic provided in a publication report on the RPG industry which showed respondents to a survey on RPGNow and Drivethru that any form of PDF security (even watermarking for some) meant that they would not purchase the product. The two highest scoring features were password protect (which as mentioned is a bit of a joke) and preventing copy and paste.
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Finarvyn

Quote from: Ron Edwards on September 20, 2011, 02:18:54 PMI have no way to know how many people pirate them and then don't buy them, or how to separate people in that category from those who wouldn't have bought them anyway, but at least I know that someone downloading a pirated copy isn't automatically a lost sale for me.
And I suspect that folks who obtain a pirated copy and don't buy are probably also folks who don't play the game anyway. When I get a free PDF I look at it and either I buy a real book or forget about it altogether.

Quote from: tymotzues on March 19, 2012, 03:49:43 PMThe two highest scoring features were password protect (which as mentioned is a bit of a joke) and preventing copy and paste.
I agree. I hate both of those. I have bad vision and part of why I like a PDF is so I can blow it up on my computer screen. If I want to use the rulebook in play I copy-paste important parts into a Word file so I can blow up the font size. If I can't do that I don't really want the PDF.
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