How to protect standards and other publications from unauthorized use

Publication Standards

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How do you protect standards and other publications from unauthorized use?

Do you manage an enterprise that is involved in publishing different kinds of documents? You may be releasing standards publications. As a large publisher of such publications, your target audience subscribes to your documents on a periodic basis.

Yet, as the developer of standards, you probably worry about distributing them electronically without having them fall into the hands of unauthorized users, especially since you intend to generate revenue from the subscriptions to your standards publications. So, you need to safeguard your documents from being copied or shared without your consent.

The objective is simple, there should be no misuse of your standards documents. To ensure this, you need to exhibit control over the manner in which your authorized users access the files. This is where PDF Digital Rights Management (DRM) security can be useful.


With a DRM solution in place, you can provide time-based access to your users. So, the access to different standards documents will expire once the end date has been reached. Thereafter, the users will have to renew their subscriptions to further access the documents, generating more revenue for your enterprise.

Once you assign an expiry date to a publication, your end users do not necessarily have to purchase the whole publication subscription. You can even allow certain users to have one-time access to such files.

But, despite such security measures, there is always the chance of unauthorized users accessing your documents (which may be downloaded on a server where the authorized users access them).  That is why DRM solutions always use encrypted content to ensure that unauthorized users cannot do anything with such access since the content is always in an encrypted format.

With your enterprise PDF security tool, you can apply additional controls over the standards content once it is decrypted to prevent authorized users copying content.  Such controls cannot be removed, even when data decryption takes place in the memory, as the decrypted content never gets written to the disk.  Also, features such as “Save File” or “Print to PDF” will never be made available with a good PDF DRM tool to prevent decrypted content being made accessible.

As the publisher of such standards publications, you will also not want to be authorized or unauthorized users printing and then creating multiple copies of your documents for distribution. And, you may argue that by disabling the “print” feature for all your users you can ensure copy protection and prevent unauthorized distribution.

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However, there may be cases when you need to allow certain users to print some documents. In such scenarios, you can allow only a limited number of copies to be printed per user, and ensure dynamic watermarks are created when printing. Such watermarks will reveal the identity of the user printing the document in the form of the username, company name, email address, and so on. No person would wish to have such information revealed in a piracy scenario.

Additional security features in a good PDF document security tool will always disable “screen grabbing”, enable you to lock documents to specific devices, IP addresses and countries, and have the ability to revoke the content at any stage.

So by using PDF document security with DRM, all standards publishers can continue to publish their standards in a secure way, without losing control over the content to ensure copy protection.

How to protect standards and other publications from unauthorized use