Selling Documents Securely – What You Need to Know

As a content provider, you probably already know that creating or bringing information together is not easy. In fact, you may be researching information every day to compile into a PDF or other document format. Given that you spend a lot of time doing this, you might want to be compensated for the content you provide. After all, is that not the way of the world? You provide value and are paid for it so you can feed yourself and keep producing more of the same. This is the case in any profession.

However, with the internet and electronic documents, there seems to be a group of people unwilling to pay you for the information you provide. They want to read your PDF book, report or article, without paying for it. Unfortunately, others wish to facilitate this free use of your documents. As such, not many authors of electronic books or publishers of digital information get paid what they are owed as there is always some revenue slipping through the cracks.

Sell documents freely

If you are such an author and have had enough of this trend, you can opt to use a DRM system. Digital Rights Management is the only known comprehensive solution at the moment that can effectively be used to counter pirates where PDF documents are concerned. And, by incorporating such a solution, you will include the following protective measures.

Preventing Document Copying

Perhaps what makes a pirate’s job so easy is the ability to make copies on a computer in quick, easy steps. The easiest way to make a copy is the save or save as features. Using only a few clicks of the mouse or a few keyboard shortcuts, a user can save a replica document under a different name. The user will thus have made another copy on his or her desktop. If a document thief cannot do this, he or she will be forced to look for other means to make a copy. And, PDF DRM is capable of curtailing the save and save as features.

Another very easy way to make a copy is the copy and paste features. Luckily, a DRM solution enables you to prevent these features from working as it stops the users from being able to transfer what is on your document to an insecure blank document that they are trying to create. Again, document thieves are usually relentless and, when one method does not work, they will try another one.

Preventing the Print Screen Function

Another way users could try to make copies is by printing the document into a paper format. Once they have done this, they can re-scan the paper back into a PDF version which would then have no controls of the original protected electronic document. Some individuals may even try to print to file which is more or less like using an advanced save as feature. The result is a document you have no control over.

DRM proponents have realized this and countered by allowing you to stop printing, including printing to file. However, you may sometimes need to allow printing for some of your files. In such cases, a PDF DRM system enables you to control the number of prints and ensures that what is printed is a paper file and not another electronic document.

Applying Watermarks

When you do allow printing, it is imperative that you make it harder for document thieves to scan the printed document back into PDF. This is where watermarks come in. A dynamic watermark will display the user’s details on screen and on any printed copies. As such, if you were to find your document on a torrent site, the prosecution would be easy as you would be able to identify the source of the leak. Knowing this will serve as a deterrent to many potential document pirates. Best of all, there are many watermarking apps available for iPhone and Android that can easily allow you to watermark your documents while on the go.

Controlling Use Periods

Some documents are only viable for a certain amount of time before the content becomes outdated. In such cases, you may want to allow limited time use for the files. With the expiry controls in a PDF DRM system, access will be automatically revoked at the time you specified, allowing you to manage these types of files better. However, you have to make it clear beforehand that the purchase of your document enables a user limited time with the document; otherwise, they could take you to court.

License Transference

As people pay for your documents, you might need to give them a little freedom. After all, they are used to being able to do what they want with their other purchases. Therefore, you at least might want to allow them to use the document with a few devices, such as both their PCs and their tablets. A PDF DRM system also has a feature that allows this and so it is up to you if you are going to allow it or not.

Conclusion:
If you are going to protect your revenue stream, the measures discussed above are just a few of the best you can take. However, for you to have any chance of preventing the piracy of your work in digital form, it is clear that a PDF DRM system is a requirement. What other way do you think stands a chance to protect your income?

Zee

Online Entrepreneur & CEO/Founder of Thetic Blog.

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