The application/pdf Media Type
RFC 3778

 
Document
Type RFC - Informational (May 2004; No errata)
Was draft-zilles-pdf (individual in app area)
Last updated 2013-03-02
Stream IETF
Formats plain text pdf html
Stream
WG state (None)
Consensus Unknown
Document shepherd No shepherd assigned
IESG
IESG state RFC 3778 (Informational)
Telechat date
Responsible AD Scott Hollenbeck
Send notices to (None)

Email authors IPR 1 References Referenced by Nits Search lists

Network Working Group                                            E. Taft
Request for Comments: 3778                                    J. Pravetz
Category: Informational                                        S. Zilles
                                                             L. Masinter
                                                           Adobe Systems
                                                                May 2004

                     The application/pdf Media Type

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004).  All Rights Reserved.

Abstract

   PDF, the 'Portable Document Format', is a general document
   representation language that has been in use for document exchange on
   the Internet since 1993.  This document provides an overview of the
   PDF format, explains the mechanisms for digital signatures and
   encryption within PDF files, and updates the media type registration
   of 'application/pdf'.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Fragment Identifiers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   4.  Encryption. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   5.  Digital Signatures. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   6.  PDF implementations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   7.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   8.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   9.  References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
       9.1.  Normative References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
       9.2.  Informative References. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
   10. Authors' Addresses. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  12
   11. Full Copyright Statement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14

Taft, et al.                 Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 3778             The application/pdf Media Type             May 2004

1.  Introduction

   This document is intended to provide updated information on the
   registration of the MIME Media Type "application/pdf", with
   particular focus on the features that help mitigate security
   concerns.  This document refers to features documented in the PDF
   References versions 1 [1], 1.3 [2], 1.4 [3] and 1.5 [4], as updated
   by errata [5].

   PDF is used widely in the Internet Community.  Since PDF was
   introduced in 1993, it has grown to be a widely-used format for
   capturing and exchanging formatted documents electronically, across
   the Web, via e-mail, and, for that matter, virtually every other
   document exchange mechanism.

   PDF represents formatted documents.  These documents may be
   structured or simple.  They may contain text, images, graphics, and
   other multimedia content, such as video and audio.  There is support
   for annotations, metadata, hypertext links, and bookmarks.

   PDF supports encryption and digital signatures in the document.  The
   encryption capability is also combined with access control
   information in a way that is intended to manage the uses that a
   recipient can make of a document.

   PDF usage is specified in other international standards.  ISO 15930-
   1:2001 PDF/X [16] has been adopted as the exchange standard for
   electronic documents within the Prepress community.  PDF/X is a
   profile of PDF that references the PDF Reference, Third edition [2],
   as the source specification.

   Another profile of PDF, known as PDF/A [17], is being developed for
   use as an international standard as an electronic document file
   format for long-term preservation.  Following the work on PDF/X, the
   activity is joint work between NPES (The Association for Suppliers of
   Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies) and AIIM
   International (the Association for Information and Image Management,
   International).  AIIM is the secretariat for ISO/TC 171 SC2, Document
   Imaging Applications.

   PDF usage is widespread enough for 'application/pdf' to be used in
   other IETF specifications.  RFC 2346 [15] describes how to better
   structure PDF files for international exchange of documents where
   different paper sizes are used; HTTP byte range retrieval is
   illustrated using application/pdf (RFC 2616 [14], Section 19.2); RFC
   3297 [13] illustrates how PDF can be sent to a recipient that
   identifies his ability to accept the PDF using content negotiation.

Taft, et al.                 Informational                      [Page 2]
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