[reportlab-users] Encryption in pdf

Andy Robinson andy at reportlab.com
Fri Sep 11 07:12:14 EDT 2009

2009/9/11 Andrea Cappelli <a.cappelli at gmail.com>:

> So I'm wondering about the effectiveness of the restriction, if they can

> be "broken" so easily, but this is maybe i don't know the pdf standard

The print/copy restrictions are fundamentally broken, and always have
been. The spec says that they are conventions which should be
followed by PDF reader programs. If you think about it, any piece of
software which can open, display and render the content on screen
would also be able to export that page image somehow.

The 'user password' is stronger because if you set this, the page is
genuinely encrypted (usually 128 bit these days) and the content is
not available without the user password, or without a long brute force
attack. However, once someone with the user password has opened the
document, they could easily copy/print - for example by using Evince

Best Regards,
Andy Robinson
CEO/Chief Architect
ReportLab Europe Ltd.
Media House, 3 Palmerston Road, Wimbledon, London SW19 1PG, UK
Tel +44-20-8545-1570

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