W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webapi@w3.org > March 2006

Re: Safe copy and paste with scripts

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 16:16:35 -0800
Message-ID: <4404E7E3.3060209@sicking.cc>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: paul@activemath.org, Web APIs WG <public-webapi@w3.org>

Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> 
> 
> On Feb 28, 2006, at 3:15 PM, Jonas Sicking wrote:
> 
>> Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>>> I thought about this some more. I think the select event, implmented 
>>> by IE, Mozilla and Safari already would let content authors 
>>> completely prevent copying text out of the page by preventing 
>>> selection. But I don't know of any examples of it being used this way.
>>> So (a) the cat is out of the bag and (b) in practice content authors 
>>> don't seem that keen on entirely preventing users from copying text.
>>
>> Yeah, i thought about this too. You could probably also call .blur() 
>> every time a node got focus.
>>
>> And we even have a CSS property in mozilla that is supposed to give 
>> control over selection. However it currently is buggy enough that it 
>> actually doesn't prevent copying.
> 
> I think if selection control is provided to all sites then
> 
>> But I think that it's only a matter of time until these things are 
>> abused.
> 
> I'm not so sure. The things sites usually want to do that are contrary 
> to user interersts (short of actual security exploits) are display of 
> highly non-ignorable advertising and preventing users from seeing the 
> source to the site. I don't think sites usually want to keep you from 
> copying the visible text.

I'm of the exact opposite oppinion. Actually, the more I think about it 
the more I'm surprised this hasn't happened already. Intellectual 
Property is the fad of decade. Everyone's trying to protect theirs. 
Google books is a great example of a site going to great lengths to try 
to prevent you from getting to content displayed in the browser.

Of course, given how many ways you already can prevent copying, a 
transparent div covering the entire page is another solution, a 
copy-event might not be a big deal.

It might even be better that sites can prevent copying by simply 
canceling the event. Otherwise they might just add uglier hacks that'll 
reduce usability even more (think text-in-images).

> They want you to be able to quote the site in 
> an email or chat message, etc. Plus you can always add a special copy 
> command that bypasses the event if it does get abused (something that's 
> harder to do for the existing selection control).

Yeah, this option was mentioned before. My issue with it is that users 
might not really get what's going on and won't find (or even look for) 
this new magical menu-item.

/ Jonas
Received on Wednesday, 1 March 2006 00:16:08 GMT

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