by Adobe

Adobe logo


19 July 2010

Thank you for your interest in developing a DRM plug-in for Adobe® Reader® software.

If you are interested in developing a DRM plug-in for Reader, please email with details of your request.

General questions

To find out more about developing with Adobe Reader, view a prerecorded Web seminar.

Q: What functionality does Adobe consider to be digital rights management?
A: If your plug-in adds functionality to Reader related to encrypting a PDF file or controlling access to a PDF file, then it is DRM. Also, if you add any functionality to the security settings of Adobe® Acrobat® (such as restricting the number of times a file can be printed, or expiring the document), then it is also DRM. If your plug-in is required for someone to access the PDF file, then we would consider it to have DRM functionality. Officially, we state that:

“DRM Feature(s)” means any control and/or restriction on a PDF document that may include, but not be limited to, access rights, viewing, cutting, copying, pasting, printing, screen capturing, modifying, editing, watermarking, and/or document auditing (anonymous or authenticated), as expressly set forth in the Application.

Q: What are the terms of the DRM agreement?
A: The DRM key agreement carries an annual license fee. This fee is currently set at $50,000 per year. In addition, there is a 5.5% revenue royalty which is also due to Adobe on revenue based on or dependent on the plug-in:

“Net Revenue” means all payments due to Licensee from any third party for (i) the use or distribution of the Licensee Plug-In; (ii) goods and services that rely upon Reader and the Licensee Plug-In to view, print and/or otherwise access PDF files containing any DRM Features;....

Q: Why are the terms for the DRM agreement so different from the standard IKLA?
A: Adobe has decided that DRM technology has a far-reaching impact for customers, and the use of DRM with PDF is something that we need to monitor more closely. For more information on the DRM RIKLA Program, please see here.

Q: Do I still have to pay by credit card?
A: No. If you sign the DRM agreement, you can pay by wire transfer.

Q: How long does it take to get a DRM Reader key?
A: We can send your key only after we receive payment for your license fee, so it typically takes several weeks to process the paperwork.

Q: If I don't want to pay the fee, what are my options?
A: You have several options:

  • If your DRM plug-in works only with the full Acrobat products (Acrobat Standard and Acrobat Professional), no license fees are required.
  • You can explore whether Adobe’s LiveCycle ES Rights Management product would fit your needs without requiring any development on your part.
  • You can license DRM functionality from one of our licensed DRM partners.

Q: If I have more questions, whom can I ask?
A: Please contact