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Digital Downloads: Download links usable for EVERYONE?!?!

ArmReu
Shopify Partner
12 1 0

Hi and good morning,

 

I just was made aware, that download links for updated files created by the Digital Download app are not restricted to the customer who actually purchased the product but are accessible and usable to everyone, even to persons not logged in and not even having ever bought anything from the shop!

 

Is it ment to be like this? I guess not, as in this construction the files can be freely shared with everyone and basicly ruining the idea of selling digital products once such a link is made public by someone.

 

A bit confused regards from Germany!

 

Armin

1 ANTWORT 1

Gabe
Shopify Staff
16713 2637 3915

Hey @ArmReu 

 

Thanks for the question and you have reached the German community here but we can chat in English too, that's no problem!

 

  • ...download links for updated files created by the Digital Download app are not restricted to the customer who actually purchased the product but are accessible and usable to everyone, even to persons not logged in and not even having ever bought anything from the shop!

Regarding the download links, these are only sent to the customer via email or via the order thank-you page. These are not made available in the shop for all to see. So it's not exactly clear what you mean by that. Or are you using another app in conjunction with the digital downloads app? How are your digital download links getting to your customers?

 

Or do you mean the sharing of the download links? It is indeed understandable that you fear that people might copy the digital download material. This is a current limit of the app to limit the links to only one IP address. This would be limited in its implementability even if the app did have this feature.

 

How about adding watermarks to the files, or using DRM (Digital Rights Management) protection, or creating licensed access limited to a specific user? For code or other types of files, obfuscation can make it more difficult for someone else to use the files even if they do get shared.

 

The Skypilot and Sendowl apps offer this out-of-the-box and have added rules built in that might be able to overcome this issue in roundabout ways. For example, these apps offer the ability to add unique IDs and License Numbers to a digital download restricting it from being re-used or shared. Or provide the files via 3P streaming services. This is commonly done with video and audio files.

 

With that being said, the free Shopify app currently does not have this feature but allows you to set download limits.

 

The Shopify API allows you to access various components of a Shopify store, such as orders, products, and customer details, and use them to perform custom operations. In your case, you might want to create a script that limits the availability of downloads after a purchase is 12 months old as per your other question in this thread here.

 

As you are a Shopify Partner (your avatar above state this) you might be familiar with our API. Here is a rough concept of what you might need to do, which will require knowledge in a programming language such as Python, Ruby, or JavaScript. Use the Shopify Order API to get a list of all the orders made. The API gives you detailed information about each order, including the date it was created. You can use this to filter orders that are more than a year old.

 

# Fetch orders
orders = shopify.Order.find(created_at_min='2022-06-19')

 

Next, you'll need to identify which of these orders contain the digital products that should be limited. This might involve using the Product or Line Item APIs to look up further details about the products contained in the order.

 

This is the most difficult part since the Digital Downloads App doesn't provide an API. You might need to store the number of downloads for each digital product in a custom database. Once the number of downloads reaches a certain threshold (or the order becomes a year old), you could then disallow further downloads. 

 

As for sharing downloads with third parties, once a user has downloaded a digital product, it is almost impossible to prevent them from sharing it. Measures like DRM can be implemented, but they often harm the user experience and can still be bypassed by tech-savvy users.

Gabe | Social Care @ Shopify
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