Debian Planet










Welcome to Debian Planet

Search

Apt-get into it.
Main Menu

  • Home

  • Topics

  • Web Links

  • Your Account

  • Submit News

  • Stats

  • Top 10

  • Debian

    These are important Debian sites one should not be without!

  • Official Debian site

  • Package search

  • Mailing list archives

  • Bug reports

  • Debian on CD

  • Unofficial woody CD ISOs

  • Unofficial APT sources

  • Developers' Corner

    Other great Debian news sources:

  • Debian Weekly News

  • Kernel Cousin Debian

    (Debian mailing lists digested)
  • Community Groups

    Need help? You're not alone on this planet.

  • debianHELP

    (User support site)

  • Debian International

  • DebianWorld

    (Français)

  • DebianForum.de

    (Deutsch)

  • EsDebian

    (Español)

  • Debian-BR

    (Português)

  • DebianUsers

    (Korean)

  • MaximumDebian

    (Italiano)

  • IRC

    The place to get help on a Debian problem (after reading docs) or to just chat and chill is #debian on irc.debian.org.

    Many of the Debian Planet staff live there so pop by and say hello.

    Wanna write?

    Got that latest or greatest scoop? Perhaps you have some important news for the Debian community? Submit a news item!

    Or perhaps you've written a rather ground breaking insight into some aspect of Debian and you feel compelled to share it with others? Knock up a longer editorial article and send it to the editors.

    Sponsorship

    DP is sponsored by uklinux.net and CheepLinux.

    Debian Planet runs on hardware donated by Xinit systems and is using kieser.net's bandwidth.

    Who's Online

    There are currently, 35 guest(s) and 2 member(s) that are online.

    You are Anonymous user. You can register for free by clicking here.

      
    Xpdf and PDF copy-control
    Posted on Sunday, March 11 @ 14:37:15 GMT

    Debian

    I'm having an interresting discussion with Hamish Moffatt (the maintainer of the xpdf package). Xpdf is a free (GPLed) PDF reader which respects Adobe's lame "copy-protection" bits in PDFs where the reader refuses to allow printing or copying etc.

    I've written a patch to uncripple xpdf, should Debian apply it?

    More details in the full story below.

    > On Sun, Mar 11, 2001 at 11:54:36AM +0000, Adam Langley wrote:
    > > Xpdf follows Adobe's joke "copy-protection" system in PDFs where the
    > > reader will refuse to copy text or print the document if the PDF has
    > > some bits set. If the author of xpdf wants to do that - it's their own
    > > choice. However, Debian shouldn't be a party to it. I've attached a
    > > tiny patch which uncripples xpdf (apply in the xpdf-0.92/xpdf
    > > directory). Could you please apply this to future Debian packages of
    > > xpdf?
    
    On Sun, Mar 11, 2001 at 11:11:05PM +1100, Hamish Moffatt wrote:
    > Upstream's precanned reply to this is at
    > http://www.foolabs.com/xpdf/cracking.html
    
    I read it, which is why I didn't bother mailing him about it.
    
    > It makes an interesting point, imho. If you want me to apply this
    > patch, we're going to have to discuss this on debian-devel and/or
    > debian-legal first. Feel free to post about this. I'll go with
    > whatever the majority decides.
    
    Ok, I'm a Freenet (freenetproject.org) developer if that helps you
    understand where I'm coming from on this.
    
    "In light of this, it would be very hypocritical of me to, on one
    hand, ask people to honour my licensing restrictions, and, on the other
    hand, bypass (or assist others in bypassing) another author's
    requested restrictions."
    
    The code I write is under the GPL - but simply because it makes things
    easier when I want to include GPLed code. As far as I'm concerned, my
    code is public domain.
    
    The GPL (gross simplification) says "Do what you like with it, but
    grant this permission to others". It tries to remove closed boundaries
    and uses copyright (which was designed to do the opposite) because
    thats the current legal reality.
    
    The PDF fuckware (Futile Unnatural Control Keeping Ware, credit to
    Oskar Sandberg for that) is on the same road as DVD CSS and HDTV. A
    desperate and destructive attempt to enforce copyrights in a world
    where they no longer make sense.
    
    These technical measures will be broken and companies will try harder
    and harder to enforce them - stepping on everything in their path. See
    the copy-control ATA spec for an example of companies trying to
    control everything in order to protect their profit margin.
    
    John Gilmore wrote very lucidly on this at
    http://www.toad.com/gnu/whatswrong.html
    
    As requested, I'll take this to debian-devel
    
    AGL
    

     
    Related Links

  • Debian Homepage
  • SPI Inc.
  • More about Debian
  • News by agl

    Most read story about Debian:
    Xpdf and PDF copy-control

    Last news about Debian:

    Printer Friendly Page  Send this Story to a Friend
  • "Xpdf and PDF copy-control" | Login/Create Account | 40 comments
    Threshold


    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    Re: Xpdf and PDF copy-control (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Sunday, March 11 @ 21:36:44 GMT

    Don't put the patch in the main stream build.

    Leave it for the elite script kiddies 🙂

    If it's made main stream, maybe adobe will put some stronger protection in it and not tell what it is. Then we'd be in trouble, trying to write even a reader because they'd have a proprietry file format!

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Xpdf and PDF copy-control (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Sunday, March 11 @ 21:37:19 GMT

    Has anyone asked Adobe ?

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Xpdf and PDF copy-control (Score: 1, Interesting)
    by Anonymous on Sunday, March 11 @ 23:42:23 GMT

    I think the patch should be applied, and a new package called xpdf-unrestricted added to non-us.

    By avoiding distribution in the US, Debian can avoid any problems with the Digital Millennium Copyright act, and by creating a new package rather than patching the existing package, Debian can maintain the intended program functionality, and offer the end user the greatest choice simultaneously.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Xpdf and PDF copy-control (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Monday, March 12 @ 12:28:15 GMT


    The PDF fuckware (Futile Unnatural Control Keeping Ware, credit to Oskar Sandberg for that) is on the same road as DVD CSS and HDTV. A desperate and destructive attempt to enforce copyrights in a world where they no longer make sense.

    These technical measures will be broken and companies will try harder and harder to enforce them - stepping on everything in their path. See the copy-control ATA spec for an example of companies trying to control everything in order to protect their profit margin.

    John Gilmore wrote very lucidly on this at

    http://www.toad.com/gnu/whatswrong.html

    I believe you miss the point here. The PDF copy-control has little to do with DVD CSS and other kinds of copy protection mentioned in John Gilmores article. You can still read the document, make copies of it and share with anyone, but depending upon the the authors intent you may not print or change it. In other words you may distribute the document as it is, many software packages are like this too, you may use it freely, copy it and share it, but only if you distribute it as it is.

    I work as a UNIX-system administrator and wrote a nearly 100-page document for new users on the system. It was a newbies guide to our system. We printed and bound it and sold it without any margin for (or interest of, for that matter) profit. Also we put a copy of the document as a print-protected PDF on our homepages. I simply didn't want the users (that mostly hadn't got a clue, that's why they read the document) to print the whole as it was more expensive to print a copy on the laser printer than let the local print shop make copies. Considering that we get 250-300 new users each year it would be a serious problem if they printed the document instead of getting it directly from us.

    For us this "copy-control" was a blessing. If anyone wants a version of the pdf to print at home, that's fine with us, they just have to come and talk to us to get it. This way we minimize the wear on our equipment.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Xpdf and PDF copy-control (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Monday, March 12 @ 13:58:53 GMT

    "Admonition systems" are a reasonable
    compromise for this issue. See

    http://www.caplet.com/security/taxonomy/admonition.html.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Xpdf and PDF copy-control (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Monday, March 12 @ 14:38:27 GMT

    Apply the patch, absolutely.

    Crippling xpdf has nothing to do with respecting copyright. Copyright in no way legally requires us to cripple our code to prevent the user from doing anything which might violate copyright - and fair use means that there are a great many situations in which the crippling prohibits perfectly legitimate activity.

    The analogy that the upstream developer draws with the GPL holds no water. The restrictions of the GPL are a legal requirement, enforceable via copyright, and respecting copyright on a GPL'd work requires respecting the GPL.

    If there are legal issues with releasing an uncrippled PDF viewer in the US, then put it in non-us.

    Alan Jaffray

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Xpdf and PDF copy-control (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Monday, March 12 @ 15:01:31 GMT

    You should solve is as cd-rippers have solved

    CD Dont-copy bit. That is, xpdf should have

    option '--want-print'/index.html'--want-text' which

    overrides the doc bits.

    That way the responsibility is not on xpdf

    author/patcher but on end user.

    [ Reply ]


    Apply the patch! (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Monday, March 12 @ 15:54:18 GMT

    Some users, such as those not running X, or those who are blind, need to be able to extract the
    text of a pdf just to read the file. If these bits are set, the program should print a warning and continue. Authors' rights are protected adequately by copyright law, this PDF "feature"
    doesn't protect the author's rights, as circumnavigation is trivial; it merely inconveniences the user.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Xpdf and PDF copy-control (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Monday, March 12 @ 17:22:44 GMT

    For the love of God, Montressor, apply the patch.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Xpdf and PDF copy-control (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Monday, March 12 @ 18:49:58 GMT

    Hallo,

    did anybody of you have a look at Derek B. Noonburg homepage at

    http://www.foolabs.com/xpdf/decryption.html?

    The recent xpdf 0.91 version has the decrytion applied by default.

    B.t.w.: what version is on debian?

    Bye

    Uwe Bonnes bon@elektron.ikp.physik.tu-darmstadt.de

    [ Reply ]


    Do not force the issue just yet... (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Monday, March 12 @ 18:59:26 GMT

    While the restrictions seem silly, if you push this issue in the current climate, there is a good chance that we will lose. A precedent that extends legal protection to such a bogus protection scheme would be very bad indeed. Besides, if Adobe gets sufficiently annoyed, they'd just make those extensions proprietary in the next version again and give companies a Windows DLL to decode them.

    If you really must, put this into a non-US package. But, better yet, just wait a few years. In the meantime, patches and workarounds for this are widely available in the rare case where you really must turn off those bits.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Xpdf and PDF copy-control (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Monday, March 12 @ 20:40:25 GMT

    While I like the proposal for having a command line option, something like --irreverently-disrespect-original-authors-wishes,
    I would have to say that even that may be going a bit too far and will upset those who set the PDF standard (Adobe). I think that it should be patched in provisionally, as a command line option, with #defines around it. I further thing that no distributed binary or package should be compiled with support for the option (avoiding the #defined areas). This way, only people who really needed the feature would really (hopefully) have it, by downloading the source, and recompiling it with the proper compile options.

    Of course, keeping it only a patch has the same effect, only that its more likely to be harder to get the patch source, and require more regular maintence as the main branch progresses without the patch.

    -Daniel

    [ Reply ]


    It is not just Adobe that this is about (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, March 13 @ 01:14:13 GMT

    It is the document authors who apply the non-print and/or non-copy bits. If (I guess really mean "when") it becomes clear that these mean nothing, then authors wanting copy protection will either

    • Use something other than acrobat (not open source)
    • Pressure Adobe to cook up something more sophisticated for pdf document format v1.4/v2.0 (ditto)
    • Use an acrobat reader plug-in written by some enterprising third party which does this (ditto -- and forget about it being available for unices/macos/...)

    Of course, view-only restrictions on any document format can be circumvented by a combination of scripting, screen capture and OCR. (for print, skip the OCR - it would be possible to capture from a fake X client with a nice high-res screen) The only point of using weak protection such as Adobe's is to disallow casual misuse.

    Leaving the thing as a "guru only" option (patch xpdf, mess with X, whatever) would mean less pressure, and a longer before authors took any of the above steps.

    In some ways, I think that the resonances in this argument are closer to the pragmatic approach of xiph.org adopting bsd to get their technologies (ogg vorbis audio format, etc) widely adopted, rather than sticking to the gpl. What needs weighing up is the best way to get/retain a useful file format in wide use, including the ability to use it in open platforms.

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Xpdf and PDF copy-control (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, March 13 @ 01:36:50 GMT

    Why not avoid legal troubles for all the xpdf developers by creating your own seperate utility that will turn off the copy protection bits in the file itself? If you can ignore them, you should be able to turn them off

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Xpdf and PDF copy-control (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Saturday, March 17 @ 14:43:00 GMT

    It should pop up a dialog that says "you are not supposed to do that" and lets the user choose between "OK" and "do it anyway".

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Xpdf and PDF copy-control (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 21 @ 19:51:42 GMT

    make it an option ... with or without ... eat here ... take away *???

    [ Reply ]


    Re: Xpdf and PDF copy-control (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Saturday, November 10 @ 06:37:03 GMT

    I think we need a poll here.

    [ Reply ]


    UM... audio CD's work EXACTLY this way! (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Tuesday, November 27 @ 16:21:57 GMT

    Audio CD's have a "copyright bit". Look it up.

    Most CD ripping software *ignores* this "lame copy protection".

    It's just that CD ripping is considered commonplace.

    [ Reply ]


    Based on: PHP-Nuke

    All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all the rest © 2000 by Debian Planet

    You can syndicate our news using the file backend.php.