Okular and "DRM"

Copy forbidden by DRM

Today I wanted to copy paste something from a PDF file, because you know, technology and all that. To my surprise the option to copy as replaced with Copy forbidden by DRM message.

I found that Okular's obedience to DRM is an option that the user can uncheck.

All you need to do is uncheck "Obey DRM limitations"

All you need to do is uncheck "Obey DRM limitations"

What's also interesting is the thread okular: Arbitrarily enforces DRM on the debian-devel mailing list. I tend to agree that having this option active as a default makes no sense, actually, simply having such an option makes no sense.

Why would anyone want their computer to deny themselves the possibility to copy text from a file ? Is the goal to push people to develop faster and more precise typing skills or does someone actually think that such an option has an actual beneficial purpose to humanity ? Maybe right clicking is bad for your health and fake DRM wants to help ?

Some defend this saying that in a corporate environment blah blah blah... don't care. If you don't want your employees/co-workers or whatever to be able to copy paste text from a PDF don't send it to them.



Wow, that's so dumb. I'll be recommending Evince from now on... :)


BTW, there's also Evince for Windows if you know someone who needs a nice and light PDF reader. :D


This is so stupid. What about.. for example, the right to cite someone? copy&paste for research so to say? When machines want to take the control over a human decision, they are not tools anymore but crippling devices.
There are command line tools too which are nice : pdftotext, pdf2html for example.
Anyway, I am using evince too.


Evince does it too, guys. Debian overrides some of the defaults to disable copy protection.

At least these two give you the option to turn it off, though. SumatraPDF has the copy protection and the author refuses to even make it optional. If anyone wants to maintain a fork of SumatraPDF, it's pretty easy to disable in the source code.


Thanks for your post! I was a little startled when okular told me that I cannot copy a piece of text. I fully agree to what you said. However it may still be of interest for the user to be informed, that the text he is intending to copy is actually subject to DRM. I truly believe that Okular is the best pdf reader out there, but it would be great to have this prevention converted into a sort of information/warning.

manu - http://manurevah.com

Hi Niklas,

The idea of having the license integrated into the document is an interesting idea, if it remains informational. The text could be released under various types of licenses too and it could be helpful to the end user to know what legal permissions they have.

That said, I don't think there is any license that can legally restrict you from copying a few words or sentences if you are quoting the text, for example in a private email, or even on a blog post or news article.

In that sense the DRM here is a technical measure to enforce copyright laws that do not exist. Or maybe just using technology to create new laws that only exist within the limits of technology.


Thank you for useful information.
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