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Re: Copy to Clipboard - ambush and abuse by javascript

From: Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com>
Date: Wed, 02 Jun 2010 15:45:37 -0400
Message-ID: <4C06B4E1.4060608@arcanedomain.com>
To: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Cc: "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>
Tim Berners-Lee wrote:

 > This I think seriously violates the function
 > of Copy, and the user's rights.

Yes, I agree completely.  It's obnoxious, unhelpful, and contrary to the 
spirit of the platform specifications for copy/paste.

 > Should browsers ensure that Copy is always a
 > read-only operation, unless they have INSTALLED code to do something
 > different?

I agree with the spirit of what you're asking for, but I'm not sure the 
words "read-only" capture the essence of what's needed.  Copy is, of 
course, an operation that identifies data for transfer, and the 
corresponding paste is necessarily an update operation on the target 
document or system.

My deeper concern is that in fact certain sorts of data manipulation are 
expected and useful, particularly when doing format conversions as part 
of copy/paste.  So, for example, if I am reading an HTML document and I 
select multiple paragraphs of text, it might well be appropriate for a 
copy operation to put at least two versions on the clipboard:

HTML Clipboard format:
<p>Text of para1</p>
<p>Text of para2</p>

Text Clipboard format:
Text of Para 1\n
\n\n
Text of Para 2

I think it's important that whatever rules we set for browsers not 
prohibit such helpful re-expression of the same information using 
different formats.  We need to find a formulation that encourages such 
useful reformatting, but prohibits the sort of inappropriate updates 
that are described in the Daring Fireball posting. In any case, it 
doesn't seem to me that the term "read-only" quite captures what we 
want.  Thank you.

Noah





Tim Berners-Lee wrote:
> Example on MSNBC:
> http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/29875493/ns/today-green/
> Very frustrating -- but a violation of the user interface.
> 
> It is discussed by John Gruber on:
> http://daringfireball.net/2010/05/tynt_copy_paste_jerks
> 
> "the site uses JavaScript to report what you’ve copied to an analytics server" when you perform a copy.
> This I think seriously violates the function of Copy, and the user's rights.
> 
> Should browsers ensure that Copy is always a read-only operation, unless they have INSTALLED code to do something different?
> 
> Tim
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
Received on Wednesday, 2 June 2010 19:46:12 UTC

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