Continued from page 1
- Pros: Can prevent unauthorized distribution of file since file must be activated by online server.
- Cons: User must be online to register file; Can't move file to a different PC; Can't prevent access after chargeback or refund. ---
Active Password Protection: Each time user attempts to access file it checks an online server to confirm usage rights and permissions for user.
- Pros: Prevents distribution or copying of file; File Owner can revoke access to file after chargeback or refund; Access permissions can be changed and applied in real-time.
- Cons: must be connected to net to register and/or access file; User may not be able to move file to another PC; User registration can be somewhat cumbersome and difficult for some customers. ---
EVALUATING PROTECTION SERVICES
When looking to protect your digital information any protection system or service that you consider should have a few basic security bases covered.
For software and executables:
1. When opening file, a protection system must not save or copy an unprotected version of file to windows TEMP directory or anywhere on your PC for that matter.
2. The system should automatically prevent password sharing and access by unauthorized parties. This will prevent document from being passed around or distributed illegally since it can't be opened unless you are authorized.
3. It should have some method to revoke or cancel access for refunded or fraudulent users.
For PDF documents, providing adequate protection requires a bit more security as their are many more ways to obtain a protection free copy of document.
Any PDF protection system must cover three bases above, as well as:
* It must prevent emailing of file and exporting or extracting pages from file. * It must prevent copying file and text to clipboard * It must prevent redistilling of file and printing to PDF * It must prevent unlimited, uncontrolled printing of file * It must watermark all printed pages * If using Adobe Reader, company providing protection service must be an authorized Adobe DRM provider.
WHAT ABOUT COST? IS IT WORTH IT?
Is $300 a year too much to protect your copyrights? Definitely not. Protection costs money, but if your business is making money then it's a cost of doing business.
Is it for you? I don't know. Selling a few low priced applications a month probably won't warrant any sort of protection, but if you generate a substantial income from your software or information distributed is of a critical nature to your business, then you need to protect your intellectual "capital" at some level.
Personally, I believe that some level of protection should be implemented on any piece of software or document that is of any value to you. You should never mass distribute a file in an unprotected format. Otherwise you will be scrambling when you find someone misusing it... if you find them!
It's easy to listen to those that say "don't worry about it" (a common reply to document protection topic) until someone is actually stealing from you. Then all you can do is worry about it, but it's too late really. The damage is done. You can't take something back once it's out there unprotected. No amount of legal threatening is going to phase someone in Prague who just doesn't care about your copyrights.
Anthony Ellis is the creator of File Secure Pro, a file protection and delivery system that allows authors to securely distribute, monitor and control usage of their intellectual property. Please read more about the system at http://www.protectyourfile.com/