CopySafe DRM Demo Portal
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Digital Rights Management (DRM) for eBooks and PDF documents
PDF Rights Management Demo The most secure document protection solution on the planet.
User-Guide : Troubleshooting Document Quality  
Enhancing Document Appearance and Quality
CopySafe PDF Reader Differences

The first thing to realize is that the CopySafe PDF Reader is the most secure document reader on the planet and that it should not be confused with other applications like Adobe Reader. Unlike all other PDF readers, the CopySafe PDF Reader does not utilize Adobe resources or any of the free open-source resources. Instead, the CopySafe PDF Reader uses proprietary code and resources and that is what makes it the most secure solution for document protection and also why it cannot be exploited.

File Naming Convention

While a lot of today's applications can be forgiving and allow the use of all types of characters and spaces in file names, it is not good practice for any files distributed via the web. Also, the use of many non-alphabet characters in file names can cause errors when being processed by server-side applications. The fact that some applications have no limitations with file naming does not suggest that CopySafe PDF is improperly designed but rather that those applications are much more simple and have been designed for simple people with little no computer experience.

To prevent errors the CopySafe PDF Protector software will replace problem characters and spaces when converting a PDF document to protected format. When uploading a document via the DRM control panel all illegal characters will be replaced prior to conversion so that the embedded file name (the file name compiled into the encrypted document) is acceptable. Some character usage to note:
  • Always use alphanumeric letters (a-z) and numbers (0-9) only without spaces.
  • Brackets, apostrophes and inverted commas should never be used in a file name.
  • A dot (.) can only be used once as part of the file name extension, ie: ".doc" and ".pdf".
Documents uploaded via the DRM control panel will have the author's ID number prefixed automatically, for example "100251_Document.ENC". The use of the ID number prevents the chance of any conflicts caused by different authors uploading or using the same file name.

Changing File Names of DRM Documents

If your company is using their own DRM portal and uploading .ENC files for DRM protection then those file names should never be changed after they have been encrypted by the CopySafe PDF protector software. This is because while the real file name may be embedded inside, the upload process can only see the physical file name. For this reason we no longer allow the upload of .ENC files to the free DRM service that we provide from our own server. All documents uploaded to our server are converted by the server-side version of the Protector to ensure that the file names used are acceptable and that the embedded file name is the one registered in the system.

When a document is uploaded to the server, prior to conversion its file name is checked to ensure that it complies with naming convention and any illegal characters and spaces are replaced to create a more suitable name. Then the file is encrypted and saved as that new file name with the new name embedded inside. It is this "embedded" file name that the reader sends to the DRM server for authorization.

Embedding the file name inside the document ensures that users cannot exploit the system by altering file name. The .ENC document is most securely encrypted, including document header, and only the CopySafe PDF Reader can interpret it and thus send an encrypted request to the DRM server. The response from the DRM server is also encrypted so it cannot be exploited.

After a document has been uploaded to the DRM portal and recorded in the system, its file name can be changed, however we strongly recommend adhering to our acceptable file name convention to ensure that your users do not suffer broken downloads and 404 error messages when downloading. For example your DRM file may look like "100254_prof_jane_blakely_-_maths_0001_a3.enc" but you can now change it to something more easily recognized by your students. So you can down this file, rename it to something like "MySchool_Maths_Term3.enc" and then deliver that file by email or download from your website. Here it is safe to change the name because the Reader will use the "embedded" file name.

Acceptable Media and Content

CopySafe PDF is a secure document solution and it is ideal for protecting documents created by Microsoft Office tools such as Word and Publisher. Acceptable content includes most images and text, but other media such as audio and video files are not supported. If sound and video is to be protected then one should choose another solution, one that is purposefully designed and better for protecting that particular media. For example, embedded video and 3D objects are not supported and if your media is video then CopySafe Video will be the best choice.

While most image file types can be displayed on your computer, some are not suitable for use in web applications. See the section on image quality below.

Original Documents and PDF Converters

Today there are many different applications available for converting documents to PDF and not all of them comply to the PDF standards used by everyone else. For example, some special effects that Adobe Acrobat version 9 and later use for transparency and CSS style are only supported in Adobe Reader version 9 and later. Our PDF resources do support Adobe Reader features but only to version 8, after which Adobe has been employing many new tricks that only their reader can interpret, most of which are commonly used in "advertising" brochures and thus for general (unprotected) publication.

If using Adobe InDesign or Adobe Acrobat version 9 or later, the missing information (shorthand) can sometimes be restored by saving or "optimizing" the document for compatibility with Adobe Reader version 8 or less. While the latest version of Open-Office seem to produce compliant documents, it was not always the case and documents created by older versions of Open-Office, while they may have been legible in Open-Office reader, they did not survive encryption.

All documents created in Microsoft Word or Publisher and converted to PDF using Acrobat 8 or earlier will be perfect replicas of the original.

Watermarks, Bookmarks and Hyperlinks

Watermarks, bookmarks and hyperlinks are supported. Bookmarks provide hot spots for jumping from one page to another page within the same document. Hyperlinks point to resources outside of the document such as a web page on the Internet. Bookmarks or hyperlinks in one document cannot be used to link to bookmarks contained within another document even if they are in the same folder or disk.

Sometimes transparent images are used for watermarks, by starting with a black and white logo and then applying transparency until it appears lighter in color and less obtrusive. As already mentioned, image transparency is not supported in our PDF resource so if your grey watermark now appears black, you will need to replace it with an image that is already grey.

Originally a watermark may have been applied to a document as a form of protection or to signify ownership. However when using CopySafe PDF you no longer need any other protection so it may be easier to simply remove the offending watermark. If the PDF is not locked you should be able to edit it with Adobe Acrobat and remove the watermark.

If the converted file differs to the original, check the methods used in the original document.

The most reliable tools for standardized output are Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat version 8 or older.

Image Quality and Resolution

Images of poor quality, ie: over-compressed images are not recommended. However attention should be paid to their size and resolution, otherwise the document can end up being an unnecessarily huge download size and a nuisance to your subscribers. . For example, a resolution  higher than 96 DPI (dots-per-inch) is wasteful as most computer monitors are only good for 72-96 dpi. Images that come directly from cameras and scanners can be up to 600 dpi and need down scaling. GIMP is a popular and sophisticated image editor that you can use and it is free to download. The overall dimensions of the image may also need some attention as editors like Word will auto-fit an image to a page, regardless of whether it is 800, 1000 or even 3000 pixels wide. As a rule, an image that is roughly 800 pixels wide will fill the width of an A4 page.

You should also find that an image quality setting of 80% looks as good on a computer as one at 100% quality but with a dramatic reduction in file size. For example by reducing image quality to 80% you can reduce the image file size from 400-600k down to only 40-100k.

File type format is also important. Acceptable image types are BMP, GIF, JPG, JPEG and PNG however GIF images do not always look as good when the document's page has been rescaled to a different size.

Do NOT use any images that have transparent backgrounds or have been had transparency applied by a document editor.

File format is also most important as images of CMYK are meant for commercial printers and should not be used in encrypted documents or web projects. The proper image format to use for CopySafe PDF and other web projects is RGB.


Document Displays a Blank Page

If the .ENC document shows in the CopySafe PDF Reader as a blank page, go back to the original file to see which application was used to write it and which application was used to convert it to PDF. If a watermark was applied with transparency then the watermark may need to be removed. Otherwise see the notes on originals and conversion.

Document Displays Odd Characters

Most languages are supported by the CopySafe PDF Reader so if some letters are being replaced by odd characters then perhaps the font used was not a common font and was not embedded with the document.

However if the document is open-source or an amateur development then the only solution will be use a proper editor. Please note that when copy-n-pasting from a questionable document editor to Word or a similarly professionally made editor that the errors in style and font formatting can also be copied across. In such cases it is most recommended to copy from the original editor to Notepad and then copy from Notepad to the new editor. This method will lose any unseen font formatting which may be the root of your problem.

Document Displays a Different Font

If the .ENC is displaying a different to that used in the original document then it may mean that you have used a non-standard font and you did not opt to embed the font in the document. Not everyone may have the same fonts installed on their computer, especially when considering different languages and locales. Both professional and amateur writers need pay careful attention to the extent of their audience, and while there will always be a tendency to make things look a little more special, the general KISS principle should be observed (keep it simple stupid).

Some points to note about font selection are that a) it may not be installed on the user's computer; b) it may not look so good or be legible when the document is rescaled; c) the user's screen resolution may not be as fine as yours; and most importantly d) fonts like Times Roman are used as default fonts because they are the most legible when it comes to reading bodies of text. Now the average amateur may like to argue this point and the first thing that they need to realize is that as the author they know what it says so to them it will always be legible regardless of the font style used. So if you really want your end user to be able to comprehend what they are reading, start by using the most legible font. Question: why is it that after a few hundred years of print and font development that newspapers and paperbacks are still printed in the same old font? Answer: because those fonts will always be the most legible!

Watermark Appears Too Dark

If your watermark appears in a light color in the original but looks too dark in the .ENC document then it may because the watermark used transparency to lighten it which is not supported here. The simplest solution is to remove the watermark completely. By using Adobe Acrobat you can edit the original document and remove the watermark.

Images Showing Dark Background Instead of Page Color

If an image looks too dark or is showing unwanted image area then it may be because transparent GIF or PNG images have been used. GIG and PNG images are supported but their transparency is not. The remedy is to replace the image with one that has no clear areas. The same applies if the document editor has applied some sort of transparency or cropping of the image.

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