Content Piracy: How to Protect the Content You Publish

Worried about content piracy?Businesses are getting more savvy about publishing content like e-books, manuals, and reports and using them in their content marketing. And as they do, they often run into questions about copyright and content piracy issues.

I just fielded a question from a firm that was looking to publish their company manuals, but wanted to keep them protected from unauthorized copying. They asked about making PDFs non-printable, and if there were other ways to protect what they publish.

Here’s what I told them:

There really is no way simple to bulletproof a PDF. Yes, you can use watermarks so that they print ugly…but that’s terribly distracting for your legitimate customers. Not only that; it’s a fairly simple process to remove a PDF watermark.

Protecting PDFs from content piracyWith Adobe Professional you can create what’s called a Non-Printable PDF; this is a password-protected document that you can render as read-only. However, a quick Google search will show you a dozen ways to work around that; there are plenty of PDF password remover tools out there.

The best industry solution for copyright and piracy protection is to publish using Digital Rights Management (DRM).

Here is a great explanation of digital rights management and how it works. Most of the major publishing e-books publishing platforms offer DRM as a built-in part of their service. There are also companies that can provide DRM for your PDFs without going through a third-party platfform like Kindle or iTunes. is one that looks robust (although I haven’t used it personally.)

Of course, nothing is completely free from content piracy, as the sharks stay one step ahead of us all the time. But DRM is the industry standard and offers the best protection.

protect your copy from content piracy

Think of this way…what do you stand to lose if you DON’T publish because you are afraid of digital piracy? Unless you’re publishing trade secrets, patent information, or other truly confidential work (n which case you should be consulting a copyright attorney right away and that’s way beyond my pay grade to advise) don’t let fear of piracy keep you from publishing. Just be smart about it.


Best Biz Birthday EVER

Need awesome content? You got it.

It’s my birthday, and this year I’m giving myself and my business an awesome gift.

So what would one successful writer, editor, content marketer and language magician want for her business?

Another partner, of course!

A storied collaboration dating back to the dot-com days has been renewed, and the results will be nothing short of some seriously righteous word-smithing. Read the entire story here, and get ready for The Words Girls!


The Link’s the Thing: How to Amplify Your Content

How many shares did your last post get? How many views? And what did those bits of social proof actually get you?

According to Steve Rayson writing in Content Marketing Institute’s blog, shares and views aren’t enough if you really want to amplify your content and build authority.

“Social sharing is one part of the amplification process and content shares in themselves are not a measure of success. By contrast, content that gains both shares and links is much more likely to build authority and drive traffic,” Rayson writes.

“One of the most common reasons for content failure is the lack of amplification. Content creators need to think about how and why their content will be amplified before they create it. Why will people share it? Why will they link to it? How will they find it?” he asks.

If your content is lacking amplification, read Rayons’s piece for some outstanding advice. And if you find it helpful, link to it. That’s the giveback for all this great free info we consume online everyday.

Be nice. Be brilliant. Be good at life. 😀