how Security PDF protect the file

Simon Chen
Simon Chen used Ask the Experts™

recently I purchase and standard document PDF file from a website, and it said this is single license and only can download on one computer and print once. it's not allow to move to the server, so now just wondering how this PDF work, after download on my local computer,
1.can I still be able to copy to other place?
2.if I print the sencond time ,can they detect it? did PDF have this auto send out alert function?
3.did PDF had protect function like that?
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The answer is that it depends how the security is applied. Standard PDF security on any Pdf does not provide a level of sophistication that sends alerts back to an author.

I also don't think you would be technically restricted to copy it to another location. It seems more a license agreement specific term than a technical feature. Depending on your local jurisdiction I am not sure whether such a term would be binding as you should have the right to backup your data which would in itself be a copy to a different location.

The only way this PDF could be restricted to print twice or open from a different location is if it has DRM (Digital Rights Management) enabled which will create a wrapper to detect if it is run from a different PC.

So if the file is DRM protected it will stop you from using the file from a different location, which makes sense as otherwise you could just copy it and distribute it whilst the author is selling it. If it is not protected by DRM you should clarify with the author that you do not intend to distribute it and ask what you are allowed to do under license.

Simon ChenNetwork Administrator


Thanks Captain, is there any way I can find out if this PDF is DRM protected?

Normally security is defined in the Document Properties. If you open this in Adobe and go to File > Properties or Document Properties depending on the version you have, go to the Security tab and see what identifier has been used.

If it says No security it is not protected at all, if it has security applied it will specify which.

Just report back what you find


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