PDF "access permission control applied"

I recently installed the "pdf unlock" app that was supposed to remove "access permission control" from pdf files.  It worked once so I thought my problems with this issue were solved but...

I just ran it on a new pdf file and it failed.  So every time I try to highlight text I get "access denied; Access permission control applied".  It makes me crazy, because  it makes no sense because the pdf file I'm trying to highlight is the manual I copied from the CD that came with my Canon camera!  Why would Canon apply it in the first place and, more impotently, how can I get around it, so I can highlight the text in my manual.
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Hi Mike,

Two ideas for you:

(1) Print it to a PDF print driver. There are many excellent, free ones out there. Two of them are Bullzip and doPDF.

(2) Decrypt it with QPDF. The command is:

qpdf.exe -decrypt in.pdf out.pdf

After doing one of these, you may be able to mark up the converted version. But with both of these techniques, it is your responsibility to be in license compliance, i.e., to make sure it is legal to perform the function. For example, you may see a dialog box like this:

Regards, Joe

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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:

I just realized that this is the same answer I gave you last year (to, essentially, the same question):

Of the three products I suggested (Bullzip, doPDF, QPDF), which ones have you tried? I just tested QPDF on the Canon EOS Rebel T3i manual (324 pages) and it works perfectly. In the Security tab, everything (except Printing) is Not Allowed in the original doc (that is why you can't use the highlighter tool on it). After running QPDF on it, everything is Allowed, and Annotations work perfectly (note that the Title Bar has (SECURED) in the original doc, but it is gone in the QPDF version). For example, here is a yellow highlighter working perfectly in that manual:

yellow highlighter working in Canon camera manual - QPDF
However, I will give you the same caveat as last time — it is your your responsibility to be in license compliance, i.e., to make sure it is legal to perform this function. Regards, Joe

Update: I just tested printing the original manual to Bullzip — also works perfectly:

yellow highlighter working in Canon camera manual - Bullzip
Regards, Joe
mikecox_Author Commented:
Thanks for the f/u; wish I'd remembered, it's a little embarrassing /-:  

I knew I'd asked before, just forget where. I asked it again because I was looking for a smartphone app and found PDFunlock at the Play Store. I installed it but it only worked once for some odd reason!  I've run it several times on this pdf file and it still refuses to unlock the file.

Since my first post I've ungraded to WIN8 on my 2 computers and, since I don't have this problem very often, your solution fell off my radar. I am going to add it to Evernotes so I will be able to find it the next time I need it!

Thanks, again (-:
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mikecox_Author Commented:
I like it, thanks!
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
You're welcome, Mike. As an additional follow-up, I was concerned about the legal aspect of this, so I wrote to Canon asking if this is permissible. Good news — the answer is YES! Here's my exchange with Canon on 4-April-2015:

Joe W:
I like to place electronic annotations/markups on PDF manuals, such as yellow highlights, red arrows, sticky notes, etc. Many PDF readers/viewers/editors can do this, including numerous software products from companies like Adobe, Foxit, Nuance, Tracker, and others. However, I just downloaded the Canon EOS Rebel T3i manual from your website (http://gdlp01.c-wss.com/gds/0/0300004720/02/eosrt3i-eos600d-im2-c-en.pdf) and found out that it is not possible to place electronic annotations on it. The Title Bar of the manual shows "(SECURED)", and the Security tab shows that everything (except Printing) is Not Allowed.

Since Printing *is* Allowed, I am able to print the PDF to a PDF print driver (such as Bullzip, CutePDF, doPDF, etc.). The resulting PDF does *not* have "(SECURED)" in the Title Bar, and the Security tab shows that everything is Allowed. I am able to place annotations on the version of the manual created by these PDF print drivers. There are also other ways (besides a print driver) of obtaining the same result, that is, a new PDF which allows annotations.

My question is this: is this usage of your manuals legal? If it is not "normally" legal, may I have your permission to use your manuals in this fashion? It is important to note that I use the manuals only for personal, private, non-commercial purposes - specifically, to place electronic annotations on them, as an aid in enhancing the value and effectiveness of the documentation.

Thank you,
Joe Winograd

If you are using the manual for private purposes, you can make digital modifications to the PDF.


<name of rep omitted for privacy reasons>
Technical Support Representative
mikecox_Author Commented:
That is good news but I wish I understood why they secure their pdf user manual; it makes no sense to me.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
It's probably a legal issue, because it is copyrighted material. I'm not an attorney, but I'm guessing their legal department told the documentation department that they must create "secured" documents in order to support the copyright designation. Just a guess from the cheap seats. :)  Regards, Joe
mikecox_Author Commented:
Sounds good to me :-)
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