Hopefully this is the right place to post this question...

I am trying to come up with various concepts on how a program can be setup to retrieve data from a database in such a way that the user is able to use the content but not be able to change or alter the original. This is probably very basic for most people but please keep in mind I am just starting out in this field of work.

Here are the things that immediately came to mind:
  • A script is setup to save the data locally on the users profile anytime they access it, therefore, preventing them from saving back to the original location. Problem with this is that the users do not always work off of the same machine.
  • A copy of the file is tagged with the user's profile ID when accessed the first time, in turn, pointing the user back to that file everytime.Problem here is that as you create copies you use up more and more space ... therefore not very efficient.

Please provide any pointers on how to approach this. Everything I've thought of so far forces some type of copy to be produced that is linked to the individual user.

I am just looking to open up my mind to the various possibilities.
Thank you in advance.