We know that Adobe pdf's convenient control features for discouraging copy/paste and print are not real security measures.

We are searching for a way to create a file that has default security set for preventing copy/paste/print. We don't care who gets the file, we want everyone who receives the file to be able to open it, but also prevent them from copy/paste/printing the document.

There are companies that can do this with links back to a website, but not with an actual file. There's the rub.

Does this not exist today?

EDIT: Clarification - we know these requirements would not make a completely secure document, we just want something with a slightly higher level of security than what we have with pdf. Trade-offs are having to be made, security level vs ease of use. Thanks.

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    You'll never prevent someone to make a screen capture of the file... or to, at weirdest, take a picture of their screen with the file open. – Tensibai Feb 10 '17 at 16:55
  • Send them a device (tablet?) with the document pre-loaded and with a self-destruct capability which activates upon access to the end of the document. – Jesse K Feb 10 '17 at 21:43
  • Thank you for your idea. Our constraint is that we don't know who will be forwarded our file. – carleen Feb 11 '17 at 12:58

Nope, and it can't exist in the general case, because you don't control the client device. This is essentially the problem that DRM solutions try to solve for video and audio content, and text or static image content is much less difficult to copy.

For example, if I can see the contents of the file, I can take a screenshot of that content, run it through an OCR package, and I've got the text. I can do that even if you require a special viewer application which tries to detect screenshotting, by using a high resolution camera, such as the one on my mobile phone. You can encrypt the data at rest, but if you want me to be able to see it, I can copy it once it's no longer encrypted, at the point where I'm looking at it. For text, I could just copy it by hand, too...

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  • Thanks for your help. Our goal is to make it more difficult for the average non-techie to copy our text. We would use a combination of the features I mentioned andothers, for example, a watermark to make it more difficult to use an OCR package to copy our data. – carleen Feb 11 '17 at 13:05
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    You're probably best sticking with the PDF, then - it's almost universally supported, so anyone can open it, and the restrictions will stop most people. Anything more will make it harder for most people to open, and not really impact the highly technical people significantly... – Matthew Feb 11 '17 at 13:54

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