View Full Version : text protection help
02-03-2002, 05:59 PM
my q is along the lines of the previous msg
im searching around but can't find something simple to embed in a text file to stop copying or emailing or icq-ing etc
printing is ok, just not forwarding
any ideas on copy-protecting content? some kind of digital watermark maybe? it can be simple, it's just a simple deterrent, a hacker would eat me alive anyway
02-03-2002, 06:02 PM
It isn't possible to prevent people from copying or saving the contents of a text file displayed on one of your web pages. Once the web page has been displayed on their computer, the file has already been saved in their cache.
02-03-2002, 06:14 PM
but i didn't mean text from my site - i mean a file downloaded from a locked members area, accessed by password. is it possible to embed something in this to stop it being copied or forwarded?
02-03-2002, 08:35 PM
Originally posted by daniel santos:
... i mean a file downloaded from a locked members area, accessed by password. is it possible to embed something in this to stop it being copied or forwarded?
This would be a function of the file-type that your users are downloading and what application you used to create the file and what application they use to view it.
For simply text files, I'd say, "No." I can't think that there is any way possible to do what you want to do with a simple text file.
I have seen some stuff done with .pdf documents, where the document can't be copied from within the .pdf viewer (such as Adobe Acrobat Reader). However, if I recall correctly, the file itself was easily copied and passed along.
In general, unless you put some type of copy protection into the file itself, the file will be able to be freely copied and passed along. Copy protection is something that large companies spend lots of time and money on and are still very unsuccessful at preventing unauthorized copying of the files. I wish you luck, but think that the prospects are bleak.
When you save a PDF file with Acrobat (the full version) under Security you have the following options:
-Specify Password to Open the Document
-Specify Password to Change Security Options
-Do Not Allow Printing
-Do Not Allow Changing the Document
-Do Not Allow Selecting Text and graphics
-Do Not Allow Adding or Changing Annotations and Form Fields
Of course people could still share the PDF file with the password needed to open it, or I'm sure there is probably a way or a tool to crack a protected PDF file. For that matter, if people really wanted to pass along the information they could just do a screen capture page by page and share the images, but at least you could make it more difficult to distribute.
02-04-2002, 10:46 PM
Why not just write a simple script that changes letters to pictures? You're going to need to get about 100 tiny pictures (1 for each character), but once the browser had cached them, it would be quick to load. Copy & paste would be a no-go, although a script could probably be run on the HTML to 'decode' it. A deterrent, and if done correctly might look kind of cool. Of course, it might also be a royal pain to create and view. Can't say I've tried it, but the script would be easy to write.
Just a thought!
Let's see, you would have to put it in a 600 pixel fixed witdth table, or else you couldn't keep letter-images from wrapping to the next line and breaking words apart. And the html file size would be at a minimum 4x larger this way. One of the nice things about html/text is that the viewer can adjust it to be easy to read. One of the nice things about PDF files is that they are already setup to print perfectly, and you can also zoom on screen if you like.
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