Nick,

in general, the web is designed to allow people to copy and paste
freely. Web Standards are, by and large, designed to support the maximum
interchange of information. So, in my opinion, you can't do this using
web standards.

That said: you could output the results into an XML file off the web
root, then consume and display it into a Flash file (or build the entire
interface as a Flash client). In that way you can render the text as an
image or non-copyable text fairly easily.

Or, you could put the output into PDF format, with copying prevented.

Or, you could render it as an image on the server (sort of a poor man's
digital rights management). You may not be able to read it properly
though.

Applying a transparent image will not be very effective as the data can
be exposed by either looking at the HTML source or by turning off images
using the browser.

cheers
Paul

Paul Minty Director
mintleaf studio 
We design & create stylish websites
Post: Box 6 108 Flinders Street Melbourne VIC 3000
Level 2 108 Flinders Street Melbourne
T. 03 9662 9344 
F. 03 9662 9255 
M. 0418 307 475
[EMAIL PROTECTED]
www.mintleafstudio.com.au
 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: [EMAIL PROTECTED] 
> [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Nick Roper
> Sent: Friday, 21 December 2007 10:00 AM
> To: wsg@webstandardsgroup.org
> Subject: [WSG] Preventing copying of text from web page.
> 
> Hi,
> 
> We have been asked by a client whether it is possible to any 
> extent to prevent/deter users from copying content from a 
> particular web page.
> 
> The page will comprise two main areas:
> 
> 1) Selection options in the form of select lists, check boxes etc.
> 
> 2) Once the criteria have been selected then a 'Search' 
> button will initiate a script that will query the database 
> and display resulting text records in tabular format.
> 
> The requirement is that the the user should be able to view 
> the resulting output, but not to be able to copy/paste to 
> other applications.
> 
> Is this possible to achieve in a way that is 
> standards-compliant - or indeed in any way at all? One 
> suggestion has been to apply a transparent image over the 
> results table - but not sure if this could be done with CSS etc?
> 
> If this is considered off-topic then I would welcome 
> suggestions for more appropriate forums.
> 
> Many thanks in anticipation.
> 
> Regards,
> 
> 
> --
> Nick Roper
> partner
> logical elements
> 
> 
> 
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