Man I so agree this!

I had a client once, selling small bags and jewellery. She wanted it impossible to save her pictures of products as she "heard it could be done" and we were being lax by not doing it. She was afraid of seeing knockoffs in china. Completely forgetting that the bootleggers would simply buy a few in order to copy them....

She didn't understand that the files were already copied onto the viewers computer and if a nasty copyright-infringing Hong Kong company wanted a copy of her items all they had to do was look, Removing copy and print functionality just made the site worse for the rest of her customers (you know, the ones you want to be happy so they'll spend more!).

We eventually dropped her (mad as a hatter for many other reasons!) but if your client doesn't want their content read it shouldn't be on the web. ANy other protection problem, once hacked (and it will be hacked!) will simply mean you don't trust your viewers, visitors, etc... and in turn they won't like you either. Not the sort of relationship you want to foster.

Why not simply make people register for it? Then you have their details and if you make the registration process intelligent, they will be aware they are being tracked and more likely to behave. All sorts of benefits and if the discussion forum is inside there as well then you can even claim some web 2.0-ness as an added benefit of registration!

Shops have cameras and security guards to make the fact that we are being observed in their premises as unobtrusive as possible yet still allow some semblance of security and deterrent. We accept this as long as the guards aren't right in our pockets and the cameras are hidden in corners and in the ceiling.


On Dec 21 2007, at 03:09, Mike at wrote:

Don't forget, with all the best barriers in place, one can always transcribe the content so the only real solution, as James wrote:

If you don't want information copied from
your web page then don't put in on the web. period.

Holiday cheers.
Mike Cherim

----- Original Message ----- From: "James Ellis" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2007 9:37 PM
Subject: Re: [WSG] Preventing copying of text from web page.


This is an oft asked question by a lot of clients and relies on a basic
misundertanding of how documents are passed around the internet.
Basically, it is impossible (see examples below). If you don't want
information copied from your web page then don't put in on the web. period.

Additionally, copy+paste is one of the most fundamental actions on any device, disabling it is pretty rude and nigh on impossible anway - on some desktop environments you can determine your own keystrokes to copy and paste that are
known only to you and can't be detected by client side code
e.g Ctrl-Alt-Tab-C for copying

1. "Lets disable right click functionaity!"
- users lose functionality
- easy workaround

workaround 1:
$ wget > 'copy of your home page.html'
workaround 2:
install some firefox extension to ignore right click disable requests by a
workaround 3:
use the google cache or the web archive
workaround 4:
take it out of the brower cache - where it is copied anyway

2. "Let's encrypt the html!"
no such thing - it's encoding, not encryption. When you encode something anyone can decode it. If it is encryption you'd have to pass a shared key to a public resource or expect your visitors to have that encryption key.
slows down page rendering - it has to be decoded by JS usually.

workaround 1:
- decode_function(html) > 'decoded copy.html'

3. "Let's disable the printer requests!"
- see workaround 1.3,1.1,1.4

4. Use images / flash / pdf to render content
- content generally inaccessible to search engines and screen readers
- decode with OCR technology (crackers can easily do this with captchas)

5. transparent image over content
- adblock the image
workaround 1:
- save as > file.html > "html only"

Copyright infringment is best left up to the lawyers - but then there is the
argument of content being in the public domain anyway.

If you are in a closed intranet environment one way to do it would be to employ someone who runs around everytime a page is rendered in a browser and
shouts very loudly "remember not to copy and paste!" :)


On Fri, 21 Dec 2007 09:48:17 am Nick Roper wrote:

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.


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