CopySafe PDF DRM Portal
Current server time: 2017-04-27 21:18  [
Digital Rights Management (DRM) for eBooks and PDF documents
PDF Rights Management The most secure document protection solution on the planet.
User-Guide : Protection Settings  
Getting Started
  • See Help - Getting Started in the top dropdown menu.
Document Preparation
Protection Settings
User Management
eBook Management
Email Functions
Document Delivery Options
Statistics and reports
Administrator Options

Getting Started

How Our DRM Works

Our DRM Portal portal caters to eBooks and PDF documents which are copy-protected with the added protection of DRM. To distribute documents in copy-protected form only, you do not need to use this DRM Portal. Only documents that are to be controlled by DRM need  be registered here. DRM manages access to documents by checking the access privileges assigned to both the document and the user.

Adding New Documents

On your Documents page, there is a link to click to Add New Document. The most reliable PDF conversions are created by the server-side version of CopySafe PDF Protector. Documents created by the server are more reliable because there is less chance of making errors with file names and so on, especially with the URL to use as the DRM authority for the document. It is most important that the file name that gets embedded inside the document perfectly matches the file name stored in the database. These files can be renamed after conversion and recording by the server. For more information about uploading see the Getting Started guide.

Document Preparation

CopySafe PDF caters for documents created using standard PDF format. It may not support features support by other proprietary readers. For example, embedded video and 3D objects are not supported. Some special effects that Acrobat 9 and later use for transparency and CSS style are not supported. However all documents created in Microsoft Word and converted to PDF using Acrobat 8 or earlier can be encrypted and protected as perfect replicas of the original.

Watermarks, bookmarks and hyperlinks are supported. If the converted file differs to the original, check your methods. If using Adobe InDesign or Acrobat 9 or later, always "optimize" or "save" the document for compatibility with Adobe Reader 8 or less. Note that Adobe products work best with other Adobe products. This means that documents created using Acrobat 9+ and expecially InDesign may only display properly when viewed using the latest version of Adobe Reader.

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

Bookmarks and Hyperlinks

Bookmarks are supported but there are bookmarks and there are hyperlinks. Bookmarks work within a document and hyperlinks work for URLs on the Internet. Consequently you cannot call a bookmark from the Internet or call a bookmark from one document to another.

One of the features that our Word to PDF converter used in the upload section has is auto bookmark creation. It will automatically create bookmarks from all headings and existing bookmarks. Not sure of what the current settings are but it has been tested and proven and there is nothing wrong with those bookmarks. Nor do we see any errors in bookmarks or hyperlinks in documents that we create. So if you do have errors in your document, look at the method used to create them.

Document Conversion

As of May 2103 our DRM Portal includes new document conversion tool to cater for Word and other other formats. These uploads can now be converted to PDF and then encrypted as protected documents automatically by the server. In fact, if you have doubts about the integrity of your own PDF converter, by using our server-side PDF conversion you can be assured of 100% compatibility.

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 of 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 may also find that an image quality setting of 60% looks as good on a computer as one at 100% quality but with a dramatic reduction in file size. If in doubt 8-0% image quality always looks good and reduces file size daramatically.

File format is also important. GIF images do not always look as good when the document's page has been rescaled. However JPG and PNG images fare well. Do NOT use transparent images or any images that have transparent backgrounds. File mode is also most important as images of CMYK are meant for commercial printers and should not be used here or in any wprojects used on the web. The proper image mode to use for CopySafe PDF and other web projects is RGB.

Uploading Documents

Demo accounts are limited in file size that can be uploaded; otherwise, there is no limit in file size. Some documents converted and stored in this portal are 90 MB and more. While this may have been necessary to register the document in the system, delivering that same document from the server may not not good practice because if a user reads it from the web, every time they open the document they have to download it all over again. So to encourage your subscribers to read locally, get them to download and save the document to their computer.

Most authors use our DRM Portal for subscription management only and then advertise and sell their eBooks from their own web site and several online eBook outlets. So if your document is huge, say 60-100 MB, then it is not important that you have it on our server. So what some clever authors do is create two (2) versions of their eBook that use the same file name. The short version is uploaded to our server to register the document in the system, and the larger full version is distributed on disk or form a download site after purchase. That short version could also serve as a tantalizer; a sample with excerpts taken from the full book.

Protection Settings

Document Settings

There are different protection options available for DRM that for vanilla copy protection. If you "copy-protect" only then your document will have its settings embedded inside and thus not require user approval by the DRM server. Consequently, they will be protected from all methods of copy but nothing will prevent users from sharing.

Only by employing our DRM can you prevent users from sharing your documents. While DRM requires that the document be registered in the DRM database and that the user needs to be online to gain permissions to use that document, it is actually a much more flexible method. For example, you can vary a users permissions or change a document's settings at any time with immediate effect, even applied to documents already saved to a user's computer or out in wild on CD.

Unique User Identification

Unique user identification is one of the most important features of our DRM because it enables the Administrator to assign access rights to individuals and ensure that those rights cannot be shared. When the DRM is applied, visitors are identified by their unique computer signature by the DRM Portal which, after initial registration, will automatically recognize their repeat usage. This unique user identification also enables the system to track the usage of each visitor so that view and print limits can be enforced, and expiration can be applied by calendar date, number of days or even number of hours (starting from the user's first use).

Expiry Dates

Different rules apply when DRM is applied to a document. Normally, the expiry date is embedded inside the document and you have the option to nominate time checks by an online time server or use the user's local computer time. Using local time, however, can enable a user to alter their computer time to exploit that limitation. When applying DRM to the document, the expiry date is not embedded but is instead recorded online, where you have more control to update it at any time. Also, if you are dependent on online time, your expiration setting can never be exploited. Regardless of where a user is located or where the DRM server is located, expiration settings via DRM will always be governed by Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), so expiry dates will always finish at midnight GMT.

Expire By Number Of Days

As an alternative to using a set date, on which a document should expire, authors can set the number of days instead. These days are calculated afresh for every time a user will log in from the starting date of a document. This option is most useful for limiting a subscriber's usage to a document starting from the date that they first open that document. So, even though the document may have been in circulation for a long time, like with CD distributions, the user will be able to access it for n number of days from when they start using it, which could be next year or the year after..

Expire By Number Of Hours

Authors can also set the number of hours which are calculated afresh for every time a user will log in and use the document from the time it was first used. This option is most useful for limiting a subscriber's usage to a document, starting from the time that they first open that document. Even though the document may have been in circulation for a long time, like with CD distributions, the user will be able to access it for n number of hours from when they start using it, which could be any time that the Administrator assigns.

Password Protection

Setting a password only applies to documents that are copy-protected only, and not for DRM. Passwords are unnecessary with DRM-protected documents because the user's access rights are instead enforced according to their unique computer signature.

Group Assignment

A Group is the key to rights allocation between documents and users. All documents need to be assigned to a group and an author may have one or many groups, each one used for a different department or level in their tutorial. Documents assigned to a Group become accessible to all users under that group. Moreover, you can also nominate users from other groups found in "Whitelist" selector in the group's settings. A variation to this rule is possible by using eBook assignment (see eBook section).

Group White-list

The Group Whitelist can be used to add users who belong to other groups. Any user added in a group's whitelist can access all documents belonging to that group just as if they were a member of that group.

Print Limitation

When converting a document for copy protection only (no DRM), the print limitation options are simply to disallow (default setting) or to allow printing. However, when DRM is applied to your page or document, not only do you have the option of allowing or disallowing printing, but you can also limit the number of prints that are allowed per user from 1 to 999,999 times. DRM print limits can be varied at any time and may apply to "occasions" and not to the number of copies made on each occasion. For example, if a printing limit of one (1) is applied, then each user will have permission to send the document to the printer once after which, they cannot print that document again on another occasion. But once a document has been sent to the printer, it is out of the realm of any controls and the user can then nominate to print 1 or 100 copies.

Note: When printing is allowed, the user can only send to a real printer; they will not be able to send to a network printer because anything seen as a "virtual" printer such as printer-drivers, that convert files, cannot ever be allowed because it would undermine the essence of print protection. To better understand why, printer drivers (virtual printers) can convert your documents to PDF and these can also convert documents to many other file formats. Unless you want to enable users to convert your protected documents back to normal PDF, forget about supporting virtual printers.

Print Anywhere

Warning: Normally virtual printers are not allowed because they include printer-drivers that are used for converting files to different document types. For example a PDF converter is a printer-driver that converts files to PDF. Consequently, allowing a user to use virtual drivers printers can enable them to create an unprotected version of your document.

Remote View

Remote viewing means displaying a document on a virtual computer, while viewing that computer's desktop from another computer. For example, Windows, Mac and Linux computers can run other operating systems (OS) in a partition. By installing Windows in a partition created by VMWare or Parallels software, the media can be exposed to unprotected copying because the software that should be preventing copy may not be running or even installed on the computer that is making the remote connection. This happens even while it may be running on the computer that is displaying the media. The option to allow remote viewing is available but it is not recommended. It may be useful for authors who are working from Mac computers for proofreading purposes but be warned that it opens your document to exploitation.

Allow Capture

This option can enable a user to use Print Screen or screen capture software to copy your document's content. The default setting is to prevent all copy and capture.

User Management

Adding New Users

Authors can add new users to any Group that they own. Users can be added using the main form, which can include extensive information about their company contact details and private comments for their own internal use. From a user's edit page, authors can make adjustment for many different settings that govern group membership, author status and the information that they themselves can or cannot change. Alternatively, an author can use the "Quick Add" option, which only requires the input of an email address. You can also add clients as eBook users (explained below).

Adding Bulk Users

This feature is available to the master administrator only. New users can added to the DRM Portal in bulk by copy-pasting from a CSV file 20-50 rows at a time. The bare information required is Firstname, Lastname, Email and Password. If a password is not assigned or is less than the required minimum of 8 letters, the system will generate a random password for the user. This form provides selection for group to assign and the option of emailing each new user with a welcome message containing their log-in details and instructions for installing the CopySafe PDF Reader.

Adding eBook Users

Ebook user rights differ from Group member rights. Group members can access all documents assigned to their Group. In contrast, eBooks are assigned to the user, which allows one to become a member of a Group (or several Groups). They may also have several eBooks assigned to them from many different authors. eBooks can be assigned to a user manually or the process can be automated from a successful online transaction such as those that use PayPal. To add an eBook user manually from the "eBooks" page in your control panel, click on "Add eBook user", select the eBook and type in the individual’s email address and password. You don't have to worry if it is an existing customer or if the user is already listed in the database because the system will check all records and update accordingly.

Note: Demo accounts are affected by automatic expiration so if you add an eBook user who happens to already have a "demo" account, then their status will be updated and that expiration will no longer matter. Such users will no longer be "Demo" users and their account privileges and indexes will be changed for accessing eBooks only.

Computer Identification

The very first time that a user opens a protected document, the CopySafe PDF Reader will ask them for a username and a password to register their computer signature in the database Should they change computers at a later date, they can always log into the system using the same username and password to update their details.

User Document Rights

The main point to realize is that by adding users to various Groups, you are enabling them to access any documents that have been assigned to those groups. Users can also access any documents belonging to groups where they are included in the whitelist for that group. Documents also have white-lists. When a user logs into their Control panel a document list will show them which documents have been assigned to their group. That list may or may not include documents from other groups for which they have been white-listed. Users can also be assigned documents directly by using eBook assignment. Ebook assignment is a one-to-one basis or rather, a book-to-user basis that operates independently from all rules related to group access.

Multiple Accounts

It is not possible for a user (unique computer) to be a member of more than one group. However a user can be associated to an unlimited number of groups and documents by adding them to their whitelist.

Multiple Computers Assigned To One Account

An author has the ability to allow each user to use up to three computers with their account. The default setting is to allow one computer only and authors should note that allowing extra computers, especially with the option of changing those computer identities at any time, will invite exploitation and enable sharing of your document.  Between 1-3 computers can be enabled in group settings or 1-3 computers can be enabled in a user's settings. Neither setting over-rides the other. For example, a group may be set to allow only one computer, which means that all members of that group can only use one computer with their DRM account. But any one of those users can be assigned 1-3 computers independently.

The computer list assigned to an account has priority in that computer ID 1 is the only assignment that can be updated from the Reader. So when adding or updating a Computer ID from the Reader it will always be Computer ID 1 that is used. To add second and third Computer IDs to an account the user needs to log into their Control panel and click the link for Account Details. If they are indeed allowed more than one Computer ID then a link will be provided for them to update those IDs from their web browser. How this works is quite simple... they must be using the computer that they want to add. The instructions on that update page are straightforward. If the first Computer ID is blank it will be possible to add the first computer from that update page also.

If ComputerLock is applied and all Computer Ids are full but the user wants to change one, the they need to contact their author so that one can be deleted. Once deleted, the user will then be free to add a new Computer ID.

Computer Lock - Prevents Computer Change

While it is convenient to allow a user to change the computer that is associated with a single account when needed, some authors may see this as an opportunity where a user can exploit one. For example, while it may be convenient to change computers from office-to-office or office-to-home when needed, a user can also use that opportunity to lend their user account to other persons who may not have been authorized by the author. To prevent such exploitation, an author has the option of applying Computer Lock. Computer Lock is applied to individual user accounts from the user's edit page. When this is enabled, a user cannot update a computer from the Reader once it has been set. For a user to change a locked computer ID, the Author must be contacted for permission so the user’s ID can then be removed. This will enable the new computer to be accepted and recorded. The default setting is to allow computer signature changes.

Access Lock - Prevents Access To The DRM Web Portal

If it is desirable to prevent users from logging-in to change their contact details, an Author can apply "Access Lock". Access Lock is applied by editing a group’s settings and is group-wide. This means that if Access Lock is applied to a group, then only the Author will be able to log into the portal. Access Lock does not affect a user's rights to access documents on the computer. The default setting is to allow access to the Control Panel.

Name Lock - Prevents Real Name Changes

Where an author needs to identify users by name, allowing them to change those names can therefore break familiarity. For this reason, there is an option that can be set to prevent users from changing their first and last names once both have been nominated. Only one letter is needed to qualify as a name. Name Lock is applied in a Group's settings and affects all users in that Group except the author. The default setting is to allow first and last name changes.

User Check

This option can remove the requirement for a user to be authorized before viewing a document. When "User Check" is disabled any user can open the document, regardless of whether they have an account in the DRM Portal or not.

eBook Management

eBook vs Document Management

There is a vast difference between user rights for eBooks and for documents that must be understood before setting up an eBook distribution. DRM rules for documents are simple: All members of a group can open all documents that are associated to that group. But the rules for eBooks are quite different because individual books can be assigned directly to users and eBooks from different authors can be assigned to the same user. However, they both start out the same way—as documents. Then, that document can be changed to eBook status at any time but it needs to be moved to a group that has no users, unless you want all members of that group to access it. Therefore, it is highly recommended for you to create a separate group to store all of your eBooks and not assign any users to that group immediately. Instead, let their rights be added as eBook users when that time comes. The document can be moved by editing the setting from your Documents page by clicking edit and then changing the group in the dropdown selector.

eBook Conversion For Online Sales

For detailed instruction for converting Documents to eBooks and preparing them for online sales, please see the Getting Started guide.

Email Functions

Welcome Notices

When adding or editing a user or new eBook user, you have the option of sending an email message to that user. At the bottom of the edit page, there is a checkbox to tick and a message area. When ticked, whatever message that you type into the box will appear as a standard message added from a template to remind the user of their login details. To see how this works, you can try editing your own details (author status is required).

Newsletter Distribution

From your document menu, you can select a file to send as a newsletter. You have the option to select which users or groups to send to and which file format to send. The best practice is to send a test email to yourself first so that you can proofread your message and the output. If the message is found to be acceptable, simply click backspace to select the new recipients or group. The newsletter function is intended to send an attachment and is governed by the document that you select to initiate the process. However, if you want to send a newsletter without an attachment, you will have the option of removing that part from the page that presents a preview before sending.

Zipping Executables For Email

ZIP may or may not be available, depending on the server setup as it requires a server side DLL. On our DRM portal, ZIP is available and when this option is used, the recipient will receive the attached ENC document in ZIP format. Note: Using the ZIP option is strongly recommended as it will ensure that the recipient saves the file to disk, before unzipping. This is better than trying to open an ENC file from their mail client. Most mail clients who like Outlook Express only know about a limited range of file types and .ENC is not one of them. Trying to open one from a mail client will only result in error. Unless your users are familiar with CopySafe PDF documents, it may be best to eliminate the chance of error and always send them zipped.

Support Requests

Emails sent from within the portal will automatically be addressed to the owner of that user's Group.

Message Templates

Templates can be created and used for all mail functions including the mail functions for adding new users, editing of users, adding eBook subscriptions and the newsletter. If you have created a template for a particular function then your template will be used, otherwise the message sent will use the default message set by admin. Once created, you cannot delete a template but you can set Active = No to cancel its use.

Document Delivery Options

Delivery By Email

You can deliver protected PDF (.ENC files) by email as attachments but only if they have CopySafe PDF Reader version 3.0 installed will they be able to open them direct from the mail client. it is possible that the recipient may have problems opening them direct from the email especially if the mail client especially if the user does not know what to do with an .ENC file. If you have a lot of users still using version 2.0 Reader then it is recommended to send any attachments in ZIP format.

What is ZIP? For those of the old school who don't use WinZip, 7Zip or Rar, the latest versions of Windows include ZIP as standard. To ZIP a file, right click on it and select "Sent to Compressed (Zip) folder". To UnZip a file, right click on the file and select "Extract All".

Delivery By Download

Whether sending a download link by email or listing it on a web page, it is most recommended to point to a zipped version of the file, unless you are using the hyperlink that is provided from within your DRM Portal. For example, the link to a non-zipped file should look like http://copysafe.net/drm/file.asp?tp=2&id=100001. Here, a special web script (file.asp) is retrieving the document by ID and providing it as a download to your web browser in chunks (especially useful for large downloads). Without a function like this, a web server will not know what to do with an ENC file and only deliver an error, especially considering that your protected documents are delivered from below the site root.

So, unless you use the hyperlink as described above, you should send all document downloads to zipped files.

As of version 3 CopySafe PDF Reader, ENC files sent as mail attachments can be opened directly from most mail clients (if the reader is installed).

Delivery On Disk

Your protected documents can also be distributed on disk. USB memory stick, CD or DVD disks are different ways to store and distribute your documents. When circulated on disk, your documents do not need to be zipped. For convenience, good practice includes providing a copy of the CopySafe PDF Reader installer and instructions or an index of your files, for example, a list of the Titles beside their file names. The CopySafe PDF Reader is a free download to the public and you have permission to include it in your distributions as long as the installer remains as provided by ArtistScope.

Delivery By Newsletter

Your protected documents can also be distributed from you DRM Control Panel by using the Newsletter option. To send a document to one of your users or a group of users, start from your document list and click on the envelope icon in its table row. The next page will invite selection of the user/s or group to be recipients and whether to send the .ENC file attached or as a download link. Unless your subscribers are experienced, it is strongly recommended to send the .ENC as a download link. That way they will not try to open it directly from their mail client and get into trouble (mail clients won't know what to do with .ENC files). As a download, they should have the sense to save it to disk first so that the CopySafe PDF Reader will be acknowledged as the reader for this type of document.

Saving To Disk vs. Opening From The Web Or Mail Client

If a user saves a document to their computer they will not have to download it again, unlike when they open documents directly from the web or their mail client. This is because when a document is opened directly it is saved to a temporary folder (cache) for which there is no access for re-use, except by downloading it all over again. The impact of this phenomenon is that when saving to disk, they only download it once. But when reading from online, they will download it every time they open it. So if your document is a few MB then the persistent downloads can be punishing to both your web service and the user's data usage.

Statistics & Reports

Statistics & Usage Counts

Authors can monitor and check the usage reports per document and user. Those reports show each request for a document, who requested it and when, including success or failure and even the reason for failure. Reports also show when users have logged into the Control Panel. All admin operations are also logged. Reports are paginated, sortable by column and expandable. For example, clicking on a user in the recent documents list will report all requests made by that user.

Purging Data

The maintenance and removal of old and unwanted records is entirely the Author's responsibility taking note that that removing records will affect usage and print counts. To reset the usage count of a particular user, sort the usage by user and then tick off the records to be removed. Otherwise, the option for selecting all records on a page will tick all checkboxes on that page.

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Administrator Options

The Administrator is usually the main account and the owner of the DRM Portal. Additional to options available to Authors, Administrators have total control over all aspects including:

General Security Policy

General security policy can be managed by settings available in the Administrator's Control Panel and how the portal scripts are configured. From the Control Panel, admin can add and edit new groups, users and documents. The portal's main settings file can be edited for all sorts of common data such as the site's folder locations, database location, page title and many more items that are common to the portal's web pages.

Author Management

Authors may add new users and give them permission to enable them to share author roles for management of their documents and users. However, the Administrator also has the right to suspend an Author account. When an author's account is suspended, all items such as the author's documents and users are also suspended, enabling the owner of the portal to police delinquent accounts that are naturally governed by usage fees, etc. During installation of ArtistScope DRM, especially when installed by the ArtistScope team, the DRM portal can be customized to suit any page design and security policy. For example, on this site, visitors can register for a "Demo" account which can be automatically activated by proving one’s identity via a challenge email. Demo users can then log in to evaluate the solution, but under limited conditions. Demo users cannot create new groups or publish any documents, except to the demo group and those documents and demo accounts are set to expire within 14 days. While they may still be able to log-in and use the Book Cover Designer, they lose access to all other document functions. This is an example of custom security policy and anything is possible by simply editing the scripts that manage those functions.

IP Ban & Networks Allowed

Users can be banned by IP number or network and exceptions to the rule can also be set. For example, you can ban a network but permit an individual IP number. Likewise, you can allow a network and ban a single IP from it. For example, to ban an ISP you can set 100.100.100 or 100.100. You can also set 100. but be warned that you will also ban any IP numbers or networks that contain "100". In the main settings file for the DRM site you can set to allow all networks except those listed, or deny all networks except those listed.

Subscription Billing

Portal owners can add subscription billing by charging authors some fees. The portal includes inbuilt options for monitoring and managing subscriptions billed periodically (by month) or by usage (hits). In either case, the owner should ensure that Authors pay their fees in advance.

Billing By Period

Periodic billing enables authors to have unlimited usage by paying a set rental fee for the month/period. Billing by period can be chargeable monthly, quarterly or yearly, during which time the author/user has unlimited access. At the end of the period, the account will need to be renewed to continue access to the protected documents.

Billing By Validation Hits

Billing by "hits" measures the number of validations that an author's users perform, a "hit" means the request that is sent to the DRM portal every time a user opens a document. If an author is billed by "hits", then their account will credited for the number of hits that were paid in advance.

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