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seeking options to sell personalized pdfs

Printed From: Foxit's Planet PDF Forum
Category: Lets Talk PDF
Forum Name: PDF Security
Forum Description: Discuss security options for PDF including basic protection and DRM.
Printed Date: 25 Feb 2020 at 1:09am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.10 -

Topic: seeking options to sell personalized pdfs
Posted By: dostl_ba
Subject: seeking options to sell personalized pdfs
Date Posted: 28 Sep 2017 at 10:47pm

I am about to setup an online-shop to sell certain pdfs (sheet music). Obviously I dont want to find those files on file-sharing platforms sooner or later. This will be a very small business for a very small group of interested users.

On purchase via PayPal, the files will be send by email.

The buyers shall have the right to print as many copies as they like, but not republish it in anyway.

Now I want to "personalize" the files before sending them out, so that it's really a personal copy of the purchaser. Ideally s/he is not able to remove that personalization. The tool I will use for this in the background is "pdftk" - I assume it is known here.

Certain options come to my mind:
1) pdf-stamping the name of the customer to the paper. (e.g. a license notice in the footer: "This copy is licensed to Will Smith")
2) adding metadata to the fields (e.g. License: Licensed to Will Smith)
3) setting owner and/or user passwords and restrict what can be done with the file.
4) even more advanced options (digital signatures)

My evaluation:
1 and 2 are technically not safe, but I dont know how likely it is that a standard user can hack pdf
3 : not sure how secure it actually is, and it is inconvenient for the buyers.
4 : no experience here - is it possible with pdftk? what are the preconditions ? is it safe?

Years ago, sheet music was (illegaly) hardcopied and distributed among fellow musicians. This can and will happen in my case as well - anyhow digital security nowadays must be good enough to avoid publishing copyrighted material all to easy on the internet.

[EDIT] In another post I saw: - Looks as this is the standard way to get "cheap" protection ? Can I assume it is "good enough" ?

Any recommendations ?

Posted By: try67
Date Posted: 01 Oct 2017 at 11:22pm
Basically, unless you spend thousands (or even more) on DRM protection, there are no security measures that can't be overcome by someone willing enough to do so. The question is how much you're willing to spend, and how strong the level of security that you want to achieve should be. Stamping the user's name on the file is a good deterrent, but someone with the real tools and knowledge can remove it quite easily (unless you flatten everything into an image, in which case it's more difficult). So it's a balance act between ease-of-use, cost and security. You'll need to find what's the right combination for you.

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