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Re: Disabling non-collapsed selection

From: Aryeh Gregor <ayg@aryeh.name>
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2011 11:08:45 -0400
Message-ID: <CAKA+AxkTSKBAQo5QAFo=9JZZriDwnHOa_z8G0AHn289+4A_3iw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Ryosuke Niwa <rniwa@webkit.org>
Cc: public-webapps <public-webapps@w3.org>, Ehsan Akhgari <ehsan@mozilla.com>
(sorry for the delay in responding, I was on vacation for about ten days)

On Sat, Oct 15, 2011 at 1:51 PM, Ryosuke Niwa <rniwa@webkit.org> wrote:
> Is there an interest in providing a way to prevent non-collapsed selection
> under some node in a document? And if there is, what are use cases?
> Authors periodically file a WebKit bug against our implementation of
> selectstart event that they can't use it to disable selection. WebKit
> supports "-webkit-user-select: none" to do this but some authors apparently
> want to allow collapsed selection.
> I personally don't quite understand why authors ever want to do this but I'm
> not totally against the idea of providing new mechanism for this if there
> are good use cases.

As far as I know, the use-case is to prevent users from copying text
easily.  For instance, on this page:

http://www.snopes.com/science/dhmo.asp

Sites that have paid content only available to subscribers don't want
subscribers to copy text to other places.  Also, sites that are
ad-supported might want users to come visit the original page (with
the ads) instead of reading the text elsewhere.  Or authors might just
want credit for their work.

There's no way we can stop authors from making things inconvenient for
users -- they could always call getSelection().collapseToStart() every
50 ms or something.  There's also no way we can stop users from
copying if they're determined -- they could save the HTML and copy
from there, say.  I don't think we need to add features to the spec to
make it easier for authors to stop users from copying, because a lot
of authors will misuse them.  I also don't personally think browsers
need to add features to make it easier for users to evade anti-copying
measures, because a lot of users will misuse them.  The browser can't
decide what copying is good or bad, and shouldn't assume that the
author or the user is right.

So I wouldn't worry about this much either way.  I certainly don't
think a declarative feature to prevent all non-collapsed selections
(or all copying) is a good idea.  A lot of authors are overprotective
of their content and would stop totally legitimate copying if given
the chance.
Received on Monday, 24 October 2011 15:09:44 GMT

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