On 15 Mar 2013, at 13:11, "Dale H. Cook" <webmas...@plymouthcolony.net> wrote:

> At 09:44 PM 3/14/2013, tamouse mailing lists wrote:
>> If you are delivering files to a (human) user via their browser, by whatever 
>> mechanism, that means someone can write a script to scrape them.
> That script, however, would have to be running on my host system in order to 
> access the script which actually delivers the file, as the latter script is 
> located outside of the web root.

If a browser can get at it then a spider can get at it. All this talk of the 
web root is daft. Unless your site is being specifically targeted (highly 
unlikely) then it automated systems that are downloading your content and 
offering it on other websites. The only way such a system can discover content 
is if it's linked from somewhere. Whether that link uses a script that inside 
or outside the web root is completely irrelevant.

Since copies of the content is now out there, anything you add now to protect 
your content is not going to get it back. You'll have to pursue legal avenues 
to prevent it being made available, and that's usually prohibitively expensive.

Based on your description of your users, you have the age-old dilemma of 
balancing ease of use and security. The more you try to protect the content 
from these spiders the harder you'll make it for users.

Here's what I'd do: make sure your details and your website info are plastered 
across every page of the PDF files. Make sure that where copies exist it's 
going to be obvious where the content came from. It sounds like you don't 
charge for the content (this problem wouldn't exist if you did), so you have 
nothing financial to gain from controlling these external copies, other than 
wanting it to be clear from whence it came and where to find more.

At the end of the day the question is this: would you rather control access to 
your creation (in which case charge a nominal fee for it), or would you prefer 
that it (and your name/cause) gets in to as many hands as possible. As a 
professional photographer I made the latter choice a long time ago and haven't 
looked back since.


Stuart Dallas
3ft9 Ltd
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