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Okular, Debian, and copy restrictions

“The PDF file format includes a number of protection flags which
specify whether the reader is allowed to print the file, make
changes, or to copy out excerpts. There is nothing in the format
which actively prevents such activities; these flags are simply
instructions which any application operating on PDF files is
expected to observe. If the “no copy” flag is set, cutting and
pasting text from the file should – by the standard – be disabled
in any reader application. Developers of free applications have, as
a general rule, never quite gotten around to implementing this kind
of restriction – even though the low-level poppler PDF-processing
library makes such support possible. Applications which do
implement this “feature” tend to disable it by default.

“This is not the case with Okular, though. An attempt to select
text from a suitably-marked PDF file yields a rather confusing
dialog which reads “copy forbidden by DRM” (see the image to the
right). Amusingly, the application will still allow the selected
region to be saved as an image file, but sending the text to the
clipboard is not allowed. There is a configuration option which
disables this behavior, but the default setting is to enforce the
copy restriction flag.”

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