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Adobe Acrobat Reader presents 9 "document restrictions" security properties. I'm guessing some of these properties are not used because Foxit present only 8 of them. What's even more confusing is that, for the same document, the property value reported by Adobe is not the same as the property value reported by Foxit. This shows the list for Adobe for a file:

  • Printing: Allowed
  • Document Assembly: Not Allowed
  • Content Copying: Allowed
  • Content Copying for Accessibility: Allowed
  • Page Extraction: Allowed
  • Commenting: Allowed
  • Filling of form fields: Allowed
  • Signing: Not Allowed
  • Creation of Template Pages: Not Allowed

While this is what Foxit shows for the same file:

  • Printing: Allowed
  • Fill in a form: Allowed
  • Comment in the document: Allowed
  • Manage pages and bookmarks: Allowed
  • Modify document: Allowed
  • Content copying for accessibility: Allowed
  • Extract the contents of the document: Allowed
  • Signing: Allowed

Note that the Signing property does not have the same value between Adobe and Foxit. So who is right? And what do these properties mean anyway?

I have tried to change the "Not Allowed" properties shown in Adobe using pdftk, but to no avail. Pdftk does the transformation without error, but the properties are still shown as "Not Allowed". Are these properties even used?

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If in doubt, Adobe is right. – Martin Schröder Feb 7 '13 at 14:55

Acrobat uses their own proprietary version of the PDF spec, which differs from the open versions based on the PDF\A-1, PDF\A-2, and PDF\A-3 specs. The PDF\A specs, which are likely those targeted by any non-adobe implementer, are designed for long term archive and some features that make that harder or impossible have been removed, Encryption being the big one for your list. as such, without encryption, you cannot enforce content copy or extraction restrictions.

see here under the Discription section, the capabilities and limitations of PDF\A implementations:

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PDF is an ISO standard and Adobe's extensions have been published. Care to explain how you claim of a "proprietary version of the PDF spec" explains these implementation differences? – Martin Schröder Feb 7 '13 at 14:55… see the section entitled "Adobe's PDF Specifications" – Frank Thomas Feb 10 '13 at 21:23
Only the extension level 8 is unpublished. Does Adobe forbid others to produce PDFs with these features? – Martin Schröder Feb 10 '13 at 22:42
no, just that independent implementers are more likely to stick to the ISO 32000-1:2008 spec, or one of the PDF* formats. additionally, when it comes to cryptography, the spec will specify a specific cryptographic method, which is likely encumbered, forcing implementers to enter (FRAND) licensing agreements with the owners in order to fully implement the spec. – Frank Thomas Feb 11 '13 at 1:49

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