Printing a PDF with printing not allowed

Printing a PDF with printing not allowed

Post by Aandi Inst » Tue, 25 Aug 1998 04:00:00




>I have a PDF file I want to print, but printing is set to "not allowed"
>in Document Security. I can't stand to read PDF's on a monitor and I NEED
>to print it. How do I get around this security crap? There must be some
>workaround to get it through a printer (HP Laserjet 6).

1. Get Acrobat Exchange.
2. Ask the document creator for the password to unlock it, then unlock
it with Save As on Acrobat Exchange.

Otherwise, respect the document owner's wishes.

---------------------------------------

Imposition and booklets for PDF - http://www.quite.com/imposing/

 
 
 

Printing a PDF with printing not allowed

Post by Robert J. Nilan » Tue, 25 Aug 1998 04:00:00


Quote:>> I have a PDF file I want to print, but printing is set to
>> "not allowed"  How do I get around this security crap?
> 1. Get Acrobat Exchange.
> 2. Ask the document creator for the password to unlock it,
> then unlock it with Save As on Acrobat Exchange.
> Otherwise, respect the document owner's wishes.

If you can contact the document creator, you might as well ask them
to send you a new PDF with printing enabled, and save the price
of the full Acrobat product.

The "owner's wishes" are usually either thoughtlessness or wishful
thinking.  "Printing:NotAllowed" does not in fact really work.
All it does is frustrate users of the document.  Anyone with a
reasonably high monitor resolution can use the [PrntScrn] key (in
Windoze) to copy part or all of each page to the clipboard, edit
and assmeble hi-res page images in an image editor, then print
them.  Similar hacks exist for Mac and Unix.  If you can see it,
you can print it.  Nothing in Acrobat PDFwriter, Distiller, Exchange
or Reader can prevent this.

Speaking as someone who creates a fair number of PDF documents,
I've never disabled printing.  I do routinely disallow changes,
but even that isn't terribly secure, as anyone who can print the
document can print it to a PostScript file and edit that, as well
as re-Distill the .ps it and edit that in Exchange.  This points
up about the only use for "Printing:NotAllowed" - it makes it much
more difficult to create a forged version of a PDF, but still not
impossible.  Anyone worried about forgery needs a more secure
document format than PDF.

Regards,                                        1001-A East Harmony Road
Bob Niland                                      Suite 503

Unless otherwise specifically stated,           Colorado     80525   USA
expressing personal opinions and NOT
speaking for any employer, client or
Internet Service Provider.

 
 
 

Printing a PDF with printing not allowed

Post by Steve Rindsber » Tue, 25 Aug 1998 04:00:00


<Anyone with a

Quote:> reasonably high monitor resolution can use the [PrntScrn] key (in
> Windoze) to copy part or all of each page to the clipboard, edit
> and assmeble hi-res page images in an image editor, then print
> them.  Similar hacks exist for Mac and Unix.  If you can see it,
> you can print it.  Nothing in Acrobat PDFwriter, Distiller, Exchange
> or Reader can prevent this.

No, but on most systems, the results obtained and the work it takes to get
there would certainly be enough to discourage most of us from trying. <g>
 
 
 

Printing a PDF with printing not allowed

Post by Robert J. Nilan » Wed, 26 Aug 1998 04:00:00


Quote:>> use the [PrntScrn] key (in Windoze) to copy part or all of each page
> No, but on most systems, the results obtained and the work it
> takes to get there would certainly be enough to discourage most
> of us from trying. <g>

True. I have a 1600x1200 setup, and make extensive use of screen
caps when there is no other way to translate a displayable image,
such as when I need to give someone else my own images WITH callouts,
my source image files don't have the text, and the recipient doesn't
have my publishing app.  Displaying the composed page and performing
a screen cap is usually easier than printing to .EPS and discovering
which of my image editors refuse to read that particular flavor of EPS.

For users with video cards having generous VRAM, configured for
huge logical desktops, capturing an entire page at once with decent
resolution is a snap.

For users at a more typical 800x600, they'd have to assemble perhaps
six separate screen captures of each PDF page to get useable paper
page.

Which leads to the key word in your response: "discourage".  The
astute user knows that printing is actually possible when a PDF is
coded for Printing:NotAllowed. It's just difficult.  It is not a
serious barrier, just an apparently deliberate annoyance.

So why do content creators set Printing:NotAllowed?  I contend that
they either think it does what it claims (because they are ignorant
of screen cap), or they simply don't think about it at all.

When you encounter a pointlessly restricted PDF, email some feedback
to the entity that published it.  Point out that the document
creator is needlessly inconveniencing and alienating people
(customers), and that Printing:NotAllowed in fact doesn't do what
most authors assume it does.

Regards,                                        1001-A East Harmony Road
Bob Niland                                      Suite 503

Unless otherwise specifically stated            Colorado     80525   USA
expressing personal opinions and NOT
speaking for any employer, client or
Internet Service Provider.

 
 
 

Printing a PDF with printing not allowed

Post by Kyler Lai » Wed, 26 Aug 1998 04:00:00



><Anyone with a
>> reasonably high monitor resolution can use the [PrntScrn] key (in
>> Windoze) to copy part or all of each page to the clipboard, edit
>> and assmeble hi-res page images in an image editor, then print
>> them.  Similar hacks exist for Mac and Unix.  If you can see it,
>> you can print it.  Nothing in Acrobat PDFwriter, Distiller, Exchange
>> or Reader can prevent this.
>No, but on most systems, the results obtained and the work it takes to get
>there would certainly be enough to discourage most of us from trying. <g>

I thought I might stay out of this, but...

This is ridiculous.  Try
        http://www.ecn.purdue.edu/~laird/PDF/pdf2ps
and tell me how discouraged you get.  I agree
that doing screen grabs is tedious and typically
results in poor quality, but it's also a dumb
way to bypass the print disable "feature."

(Realize that this does not work for *all* PDF
files, but seems to for most.  Please tell me
if you hit a snag.  I have other methods for
just removing security altogether from those
problem files...)

Given all that...I agree with Aandi that you
should attempt to respect the owner's wishes
and try to work with the owner to get usable
documents.

I do not, however, feel that we have
sufficiently discussed the ethics/legalities
of a document owner making known his wishes
that users only view his document "on-screen".

What does "on-screen" even mean?  Is it o.k.
to use CRT, LCD, plasma displays only?  What
if it's projected on a wall?  How 'bout if it
is painted directly on the reader's retina,
        http://www.mvis.com/html/technology.html
pumped directly into his optical nerves or
even put on a "paper display"?
        http://www.sciam.com/1998/0998issue/0998techbus1.html

I feel that document owners who provide
"unprintable" documents are contemptuous,
stupid and/or naive.  (Pretty bold statement,
eh?  Go ahead; convince me to revise it.)

--kyler

 
 
 

Printing a PDF with printing not allowed

Post by Steve Rindsber » Wed, 26 Aug 1998 04:00:00


Quote:

> When you encounter a pointlessly restricted PDF, email some feedback
> to the entity that published it.  Point out that the document
> creator is needlessly inconveniencing and alienating people
> (customers), and that Printing:NotAllowed in fact doesn't do what
> most authors assume it does.

You may not be giving enough credit to the authors of the docs.  There have
been times I've done print-restricted PDFs and there will be again.
Personally, I suspect that any form of copy protection can be broken one
way or another, given a determined and intelligent user.  I wouldn't rely
on PDF to protect highly confidential information, certainly.  On the other
hand, if I were trying to make a living by publishing a magazine in PDF
form, I'd be reluctant to allow Everyman to run off as many copies as he
has friends (leaving aside his ability to make copies of the PDF for them
nearly as easily, of course).  

The ground rules would insist that I format the thing for screen-friendly
use, so this wouldn't be an undue hardship.  And the thing would be
undertaken in certain knowledge that somebody out there would find a way to
circumvent my intentions for the document.  If for their own convenience,
fine ... anybody who works that hard at it has earned it.  If they're doing
it in order to steal my work, it's another story.  

 
 
 

Printing a PDF with printing not allowed

Post by Steve Rindsber » Wed, 26 Aug 1998 04:00:00


Quote:> Given all that...I agree with Aandi that you
> should attempt to respect the owner's wishes
> and try to work with the owner to get usable
> documents.

> I do not, however, feel that we have
> sufficiently discussed the ethics/legalities
> of a document owner making known his wishes
> that users only view his document "on-screen".

As the work belongs to the author, isn't it up to the author to set the
terms under which it's distributed?  What's meant by "on screen" seems not
to be the issue you make it.  There's nothing in Acrobat to restrict the
sort of screen you choose to use.  There is the ability to (attempt to)
prevent printing.  I think we all have a pretty good idea what a printer
is.

Quote:

> I feel that document owners who provide
> "unprintable" documents are contemptuous,
> stupid and/or naive.  (Pretty bold statement,
> eh?  Go ahead; convince me to revise it.)

A:  I don't get the impression you're really ready to be convinced

B:  As I'm a sometime-member of the contemptuous/stupid/naive class
described above, it would be bad for your m*health to listen to me in
any case.

PS:  We're contemptible, not contemptuous.

 
 
 

Printing a PDF with printing not allowed

Post by Kyler Lai » Wed, 26 Aug 1998 04:00:00



>> Given all that...I agree with Aandi that you
>> should attempt to respect the owner's wishes
>> and try to work with the owner to get usable
>> documents.

>> I do not, however, feel that we have
>> sufficiently discussed the ethics/legalities
>> of a document owner making known his wishes
>> that users only view his document "on-screen".

>As the work belongs to the author, isn't it up to the author to set the
>terms under which it's distributed?

Yes, the author can be as unreasonable as he likes.
It's the user's fault if he agrees to the
distribution method and then finds it lacking.

But...legally/ethically, what's the big deal?  I'm
given a document to read.  Why shouldn't I display/
project/print/pulse the document as is best for me?

Quote:>What's meant by "on screen" seems not
>to be the issue you make it.  There's nothing in Acrobat to restrict the
>sort of screen you choose to use.  There is the ability to (attempt to)
>prevent printing.  I think we all have a pretty good idea what a printer
>is.

O.k., so explain it.  I listed several output devices.
None of them should be limited in use by the "no
print" option of PDF?

What does define a "printer" for you?

--kyler

 
 
 

Printing a PDF with printing not allowed

Post by eva ken » Wed, 26 Aug 1998 04:00:00



--snip---

Quote:>I do not, however, feel that we have
>sufficiently discussed the ethics/legalities
>of a document owner making known his wishes
>that users only view his document "on-screen".

>What does "on-screen" even mean?  Is it o.k.
>to use CRT, LCD, plasma displays only?  What
>if it's projected on a wall?  How 'bout if it
>is painted directly on the reader's retina,
>    http://www.mvis.com/html/technology.html
>pumped directly into his optical nerves or
>even put on a "paper display"?
>    http://www.sciam.com/1998/0998issue/0998techbus1.html

>I feel that document owners who provide
>"unprintable" documents are contemptuous,
>stupid and/or naive.  (Pretty bold statement,
>eh?  Go ahead; convince me to revise it.)

>--kyler

Your post made me feel happy/smug. I came to the same conclusion
on my own. I just published an E-cookbook in PDF and left it
unprotected. I hope I will not be ripped off, but I didn't feel I had
the right to dictate to the reader how to use the product he/she just
paid for. What if they want to read it in the bath tub on paper and
then recylcle it in the same room :-)  ?

Eva

<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<><>O<>O<>
Eva Kende author of Eva's Hungarian Kitchen and
Eva's Kitchen Confidence
Please visit my home page
http://www.banff.net/users/ekende
<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<><>O<>

 
 
 

Printing a PDF with printing not allowed

Post by Anthon » Thu, 27 Aug 1998 04:00:00



>It is not a serious barrier, just an apparently deliberate annoyance.

It may be a subtle reminder that the contents of the PDF are copyrighted and
reproduction is not authorized.

Quote:>So why do content creators set Printing:NotAllowed?  I contend that
>they either think it does what it claims (because they are ignorant
>of screen cap), or they simply don't think about it at all.

See above.

Quote:>When you encounter a pointlessly restricted PDF, email some feedback
>to the entity that published it.  Point out that the document
>creator is needlessly inconveniencing and alienating people
>(customers), and that Printing:NotAllowed in fact doesn't do what
>most authors assume it does.

And in so doing, you'll let him know that someone is printing his
copyrighted material, which might be useful to him, if he decides to sue or
prosecute.

--
Anthony

 
 
 

Printing a PDF with printing not allowed

Post by Anthon » Thu, 27 Aug 1998 04:00:00



>But...legally/ethically, what's the big deal?  I'm
>given a document to read.  Why shouldn't I display/
>project/print/pulse the document as is best for me?

Maybe the author doesn't want uncontrolled hardcopy drifting around.  Some
documents might be pretty confidential.

--
Anthony

 
 
 

Printing a PDF with printing not allowed

Post by Robert J. Nilan » Thu, 27 Aug 1998 04:00:00



> Maybe the author doesn't want uncontrolled hardcopy drifting around.
> Some documents might be pretty confidential.

PDF with Printing:NotAllowed is *not* the way to control confidential
documents.  Even if PDF-P:NA actually could prevent printing, making
even a viewable-only document available in any electronic form is an
invitation to disaster, as electronic documents can be "copied"
and redistributed with far greater ease than paper ones.  Matt Drudge
would love it if the White House would use PDF for all their internal
memos, and rely on P:NA for security :-)

PDF OpenPassword has some uses in this regard.  I've used it to
create sensitive documents that are made available via ftp behind
a corporate firewall.  Anyone in the client enterprise can see the
files, but only people who have been provided the password can open
them.  The firewall keeps the rest of the world out, and the internal
users are presumed to not be determined crackers.  Over time, of
course, the passwords need to mutate or they become generally known,
as careless authorized readers share it with unauthorized readers.
These were all documents which only needed to stay confidential
for 6-9 months anyway.

I would not use OpenPassword on the web at large.  PDF security is
reportedly not that robust.  I might use it on an emailed document.

If I were making available a pay-per-copy document, I would not
rely on any PDF security feature to protect my copyright.  I might
still use PDF as the data format, but I'd look into other protection
methods, such as rapid customizing of each copy to the purchaser
(watermarks, checksums, buyer ID on each page footer, etc.), so
that any electronic or paper copying beyond the license agreement
would at least threaten traceability.  Even this is not foolproof.

As it happens, I'm writing a book that I'd like to make available
on the web, but it may well have to be confined to print editions,
because there isn't any way today to provide an e-book with the
same level of copy-deterence that a paper book has.  

PDF-Printing:NotAllowed isn't the answer.  It generates illusory
security and heaps of ill-will.

Regards,                                        1001-A East Harmony Road
Bob Niland                                      Suite 503

Unless otherwise specifically stated,           Colorado     80525   USA
expressing personal opinions and NOT
speaking for any employer, client or
Internet Service Provider.

 
 
 

Printing a PDF with printing not allowed

Post by Gerry McFatrid » Thu, 27 Aug 1998 04:00:00


On Tue, 25 Aug 1998 18:01:55 GMT, "Steve Rindsberg"

snip...

Quote:>hand, if I were trying to make a living by publishing a magazine in PDF
>form, I'd be reluctant to allow Everyman to run off as many copies as he
>has friends (leaving aside his ability to make copies of the PDF for them
>nearly as easily, of course).  

Duh, so why bother stopping someone from printing?!?!?!?

I subscribe to many ezines which I invariably print out cuz I can't
read them onscreen while swinging in my hammock.

If any of those wouldn't let me print it out it I doubt that it would
have me as a customer for long.

 
 
 

Printing a PDF with printing not allowed

Post by Kyler Lai » Thu, 27 Aug 1998 04:00:00



>Your post made me feel happy/smug. I came to the same conclusion
>on my own. I just published an E-cookbook in PDF and left it
>unprotected. I hope I will not be ripped off,

*I* am much more likely to be stopped by someone
who makes a reasonable request than someone who
attempts to use force to keep me from doing
something I consider reasonable.

--kyler

 
 
 

Printing a PDF with printing not allowed

Post by eva ken » Fri, 28 Aug 1998 04:00:00




Quote:>*I* am much more likely to be stopped by someone
>who makes a reasonable request than someone who
>attempts to use force to keep me from doing
>something I consider reasonable.

>--kyler

I may have stars in my eyes, though I am well past that age, but still
believe people live upto our expectations. A locked document says:
"I think you are dishonest thief." So why should he live upto that
expectation? I am sure there are circumstances where precautions are
called for, but for me it's not the right path. At this point I can
only hope that my book will become so sought after that someone would
want to steal it.
At the same time I have features (pop up notes, bookmarks, links) that
the printed version can't reproduce. I hope that *will* give people
the incentive to buy a copy of their own. We'll see.

Eva
<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<><>O<>O<>
Eva Kende author of Eva's Hungarian Kitchen and
Eva's Kitchen Confidence
Please visit my home page
http://www.banff.net/users/ekende
<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<>O<><>O<>

 
 
 

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Any help appreciated.
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