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Old 03-13-2009, 02:41 AM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: London
Posts: 451

Originally Posted by RJ Emery View Post
The intention here is not to surreptitiously notify me of who has or is reading the document. I would put a notice at the top of Page 1 advising readers that opening the PDF does 'phone home.' I distribute the document to a few select others, and they are free to pass it on, but I wish to know who all is reading it.
As I said, this is way above the scripting capabilities of PDF, and you still can't force people to run the code in their PDF viewer of choice. Even if you were to create your own application that required authorisation before decrypting embedded PDF data, there's still no guarantee that someone wouldn't then extract the data thereafter and pass that on. (Depending upon whether they thought it worth their time and effort, of course.)

The password protection and security in PDFs, suggested by Terrie, is trivial to break. For a long time, OS X's ColorSync Utility would accidentally strip password protection and security settings from PDFs by simply resaving the PDF document...!
I routinely get sent PDFs with security set, and the first thing I do is to remove it, so that I can print, cut and paste, etc.

Once it's out there, it's out there.

I have PDF files on my website for people to view, and the statistics I get from my ISP shows me how many people have viewed each PDF file and webpage each month. However, searching the web, I've found people hosting their own copies of my PDF files. I've asked them to put link to my site instead, saving them bandwidth and ensuring that their version is up-to-date, if I make changes. But not all of them comply.
Meh. At least it's still got my name on it. If they were passing it off as their own work, or charging for it - or hosting content which I sell, rather than give away, then I'd be peeved at the very least.

Last edited by Benwiggy; 03-13-2009 at 03:02 AM.
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