Planet PDF Forum Archive

Planet PDF ForumWowsers! This is page is old, head to the LIVE Planet PDF Forum. It features more than 10 conferences, covering everything from beginner to in-depth developer and pre-press discussions. If you wish to continue... one & two archive covers 1999-2011 (160,000 pages).

New Forum | Previous | Next | (P-PDF) Developers

Topic: Is this legal? (modifying my own PDF file)
Conf: (P-PDF) Developers, Msg: 78650
From: adamb
Date: 12/27/2002 01:43 PM


I am using a developer that has almost finished coding a utility for me that will allow a 'search-and-replace' function on PDF files.

eg. Throughout my PDF document, I will have special place holders such as this:

##PDFtag1##, ##PDFtag2## ....etc

Now, via a HTML FORM, this utility will take whatever text is entered by the user and it then basically creates a new PDF file exactly the same as the original except that the place holders will contain the substituted text.

Now, my question relates to files that are deemed as 'protected'. One of my PDF files I was testing ("test.pdf") is 'protected' - here is what my developer's interpretation of why this file can't legally be modified:

>You can check for yourself that "test.pdf" is protected by >clicking on that gold key near the bottom in Acrobat (not >Acrobat Reader).
>The idea is that inside any PDF file there is a special zone >called 'trailer'. Into that zone there might be an attribute >called /Encrypt. If present, that attribute may mean two >things:
>1. some of the information inside the PDF is encrypted (and >the viewer prompts you for the password, which is NOT >stored inside the PDF file);
>2. the file is otherwise protected. There are various levels of >protection, ie. checkmarks one has placed when creating >the file: don't allow changes, don't allow adding >annotations, don't allow printing, don't allow copy&paste, >and a few others. While in a 3rd party viewer/editor (such >as the one I'm writing for you) these attributes can be >overridden, it is clearly marked in the Adobe documentation >that while PDF file format is open for anyone to use without >royalties, one must adhere 100% with those attributes and >restrictions the original author has placed on a particular >PDF file. Otherwise whoever wrote the editor/viewer is >breaking the Adobe license. As such, I've adhered 100% >with their requirements, and if I detect /Encrypt attribute, I >won't process further the respective PDF file and present >the user a nice message explaining the reason, then exit.

Is what my developer says above true? Would I be breaking any laws by allowing these 'protected' files to be processed by my utility? Keeping in mind that:

- I created (and own) the original "test.pdf" file myself.

- The resulting new file would still have all of the exact same attributes as the original except that the text would be replaced where necessary as indicated by the place holders throughout the document.

Many thanks for your comments!


PDF In-Depth Free Product Trials Ubiquitous PDF

Debenu Aerialist

The ultimate plug-in for Adobe Acrobat. Advanced splitting, merging, stamping, bookmarking, and link...

Download free demo

Debenu PDF Tools Pro

It's simple to use and will let you preview and edit PDF files, it's a Windows application that makes...

Download free demo

Five visions of a PDF Day

In the world of PDFs or as we like to say Planet (of) PDF, a year isn't a real PDF year without an intense few days of industry knowledge sharing.

May 15, 2018
Platinum Sponsor

Search Planet PDF
more searching options...
Planet PDF Newsletter
Most Popular Articles
Featured Product

Debenu PDF Aerialist

The ultimate plug-in for Adobe Acrobat. Advanced splitting, merging, stamping, bookmarking, and link control. Take Acrobat to the next level.


Adding a PDF Stamp Comment

OK, so you want to stamp your document. Maybe you need to give reviewers some advice about the document's status or sensitivity. This tip from author Ted Padova demonstrates how to add stamps with the Stamp Tool along with related comments.