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PDF Document tracking (1x1 "web bug" pixel to record when it gets opened)

Posted on 2003-02-21
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Last Modified: 2008-07-03
Hi,

I want to include something in my PDF document so I can record when it gets opened.

I can already do this with Word, Powerpoint, Excel, HTML and Email (see http://www.ReadNotify.com to see this working) and it works by embedding a link to a 1 pixel transparent image that comes from my CGI server.  I can easily see when my file has been given to someone else when I get a new IP address and browser string arrive at my web server.

eg: <img src="http://www.g07cfz5pcfldn0.readnotify.com/ms.asp?g07cfz5pcfldnA&">

Is there any way to do this in a PDF file?

How???

Each time I try - it "takes" my graphic from my server and keeps a copy of it (so it never asks again), even though the server includes all the correct HTTP anti-cache headers etc.

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Question by:ChrisDrake
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11 Comments
 
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:weed
ID: 7994056
There are some SERIOUS privacy issues involved here. Most people dont want their files "phoneing home".
0
 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:webwoman
ID: 7995012
Exactly...
0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:ChrisDrake
ID: 7998262
Given that I'm trying to detect the theft of PDF files, it's pretty darn obvious that the theives are going to want to cover their tracks!

Serious demerit points must go to "weed" - I quite clearly said it was MY pdf file, so magically conferring ownership of the file to the user who ends up with it (you said "their files"...) illustrates gross disrespect to us artists and authors! - not to mention wasting my time with a stupid answer, and ruining my chances of getting a serious reply now!

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LVL 30

Accepted Solution

by:
weed earned 80 total points
ID: 8000445
If its on someone elses computer, and is transmitting information without their consent, whether they stole the PDF or not, youre violating their privacy. Period. If you dont like that, that's your problem, not ours. We're just stating the facts. Doesnt sound like you want the facts though.
0
 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:webwoman
ID: 8003838
If you don't want people to 'steal' your PDF, don't put it on the web. It's that simple.

Have them ASK you for it, in an email or a form, and THEN send it to them. Of course, once you send it to them you can't control what they do with it, but you'll at least know who's got it. Or don't even send them a PDF -- send them a HARD COPY, in non-repro blue ink, so it's pretty much impossible to photocopy.

If it's that critical, it doesn't BELONG on the web. So don't put it there.
0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:ChrisDrake
ID: 11166500
There are no answers here - just silly irrelevant opinions - question should be erased.
0
 
LVL 30

Expert Comment

by:weed
ID: 11166754
Seems you didnt actually read what we said.
0
 
LVL 20

Expert Comment

by:Venabili
ID: 12554875
I stay behind my recommendation -- EE is not the place for asking for hacks and so on and in this matter weed's answer is the only acceptable answer here. The Asker may not like the fact that this is the truth but that is not a reason for deleting the question.

Venabili
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