PDF DRM and CUPS-PDF

November 19, 2010 at 5:20 pm

| Gabriel |

A lot of PDFs are intentionally crippled by DRM (digital rights management). I’ve found this is common with any PDF that requires forms and many PDFs you get from publishers for peer review, page proofs, and the like. Anything involving FDF or Locklizard is going to be DRM’d. These DRM restrictions prevent you from saving annotations, viewing outside of a certain date window, and various other forms of hassle that obstruct a paperless workflow.

Fortunately, the DRM usually retains printing privileges. This implies an incredibly simple solution for Mac/Linux users — “print” the document to a PDF file on disk using CUPS-PDF. This driver works at a really low level so the application sees CUPS-PDF as just another postscript printer, which means that it works even when the Preview/PDF button in the Mac print dialog is disabled. In an earlier post I gave instructions on how to install CUPS-PDF (in color) on a Mac.

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