Preventing printing of documents provides an extra layer of copy protection since it prevents users photocopying printed documents or scanning printed copies and re-saving them as unprotected files.
Document DRM systems not only prevent printing, but enable you to provide secure printing (allowing limited print copies that are logged and watermarked with unique user information) for confidential documents.
Using Safeguard PDF DRM software you can simply and easily create PDF documents that cannot be printed. Safeguard PDF Security automatically prevents printing of PDF documents – PDF documents you protect have printing prevented unless you specifically allow it.
To prevent printing protect the PDF document and leave the ‘allow printing’ checkbox unchecked.
If you want to allow printing (so don’t prevent print but instead control print use) then Safeguard provides various secure printing control features. These include:
At the very first level, if you want to talk about ‘prevent printing’, then you mean not allowing a document to be printed at all (stop printing or disable printing). So at the simplest level if you want to prevent printing then you need a document management system that simply does not have the ability to transfer the document to a printer (no printers available for selection), or a document DRM system that disables use of the print command.
However, life is never that simple. More usually, the requirement to prevent printing means to ‘secure printing’ – limit the number of copies that can be printed, track print use, and prevent printing to file drivers (that would allow the user to create any number of prints).
So the requirement to prevent printing is usually qualified in some way.
Sometimes the requirement to prevent printing is actually to prevent printing that cannot be identified. In other words, whilst printing is to be permitted, per se, there is a desire to prevent printing of the original by others. This means being able to put information onto the printout that identifies the owner of the IPR of the document, and perhaps the person carrying out the printing. Whilst this does not act to prevent printing where the authorized user creates the print, it means you prevent printing by other people, by exposing the identity of the person who has failed to implement proper document control and document management.
A common concern that causes people to prevent printing is the risk that printed documents might be scanned and re-published. The requirement here is not so much prevent printing, but prevent re-printing. The simplest way to prevent printing in this case is to provide watermarking that will:
One has to be aware that if you do not prevent printing, then you are opening up a potential security weakness by allowing printing, and that you must use one or more of the countermeasures that we have identified in order to reduce the potential for piracy. If you do not, then you might as well not have bothered with any document security mechanisms.
But one assumes that you are sensitive to the nuances between needing to prevent printing as an absolute measure, and the need to prevent printing when you mean unidentified printing or printing that can be readily reprocessed whilst removing your proof of ownership of the content.