The founder of copy protection for the Internet
What is now the ArtistScope company originally started in
1997 as an art department to develop web resources for the
promotion of fine artists. However, it soon became apparent
that known artists would not risk their livelihood by
exhibiting without some form of copy control. Finding a
workable solution was an ominous task though, because despite
extensive research and the inquisition of leading developers
from all parts of the world, the common response was “that
it was not possible” and “who would bother?”.
For this reason, the ArtistScope company was founded for the research and development of a solution for the protection of the artist’s livelihood. In 1998, the first software for the copy protection of images was released to the public. Secure Image used image encryption to prevent image copy by mouse save and retrieval from cache. By employing “domain lock”, which is another ArtistScope innovation, the images stored on a web server were safe from web masters and company staff.
But those images did not remain secure for long because while Print Screen was virtually unknown and screen capture software not yet available, the whistle blowers made sure that everyone knew how to take a screen shot. Soon after, we saw a wave of screen capture software being released as aids to copy, pirate and plagiarize anything that is displayed on a computer desktop.
Such is the way with copy protection where you have a minority group, in this case, artists and authors who work to create and entertain and a majority group that is hell bent on selfishly exploiting art and entertainment, without any consideration given to the livelihood of its providers or the continuance of supply.
It took another year for ArtistScope to create a counter solution and in 1999, “CopySafe” was released. It incorporated the same image encryption but with added protection provided by a browser plugin to control the clipboard and browser cache. Since its release, CopySafe technology had to adapt to many radical changes in both Windows and web browser environments to survive and evolve into a Windows process for reliable and robust copy protection.
The first CopySafe release, now known as “CopySafe Web”, provides secure protection from all methods of copy and save, including Print Screen and screen capture, something that no other solution can do. CopySafe Web can be applied to absolutely to any web page on any website.
CopySafe Web is for the protection of online content that is viewed using a web browser. To protect content that is viewed offline, like with documents that can be downloaded or sent by email for local viewing, ArtistScope chose the commonly used PDF file format for their new document protection solution, known as “CopySafe PDF”.
Almost any type of file can be converted to PDF, which in
turn can be encrypted for display in the CopySafe PDF
Reader. It not only provides copy protection for the
contents of open documents, but also prevents their
Preventing file copy, which is the duplication of a file, is not possible. However, it is possible to thwart their unauthorized distribution by limiting who has access to open and view their contents by employing “Digital Rights Management”, which is more commonly referred to as “DRM”. But when the ArtistScope team looked at the contemporary methods available for DRM, it was realized that a more secure and more robust solution was needed to ensure that document control remained in the hands of the author.
Consequently, ArtistScope developed new techniques for DRM to provide authors with total control over who has access to their documents, when and how. They have also created techniques that enable document properties to be changed at any time with immediate effect, even for documents that have already been downloaded to the user’s computer. Using ArtistScope DRM, authors can now deliver eBooks and documents that are restricted from use by select people or a group of people, while others cannot open them.
Over the years, ArtistScope has innovated many solutions for protecting links to media, web page encryption and secure video players. It was also realized that the best overall solution would be to do what ArtistScope should have done in the beginning and that is to create their own web browser that is specially designed to protect content, rather than expose it like the other web browsers do.
The ArtistScope Site Protection System (ASPS) is the ultimate in website-protection because it uses such a web browser to decrypt and display web content delivered in encrypted form. The ASPS web reader is the only browser that is capable of decoding and displaying ASPS protected web pages, providing the most secure copy-protection environment ever imagined for all types of web content. This includes HTML, images, Flash, PDF and video. In fact, ASPS is the only solution that can effectively copy protect ALL media and it does so without requiring any special treatment such as encryption of the media.
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