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RE: Copy to Clipboard - ambush and abuse by javascript

From: Tex Texin <textexin@xencraft.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 2010 13:04:38 -0700
To: "'Noah Mendelsohn'" <nrm@arcanedomain.com>, "'Tim Berners-Lee'" <timbl@w3.org>
Cc: <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-ID: <007801cb028e$d530d530$7f927f90$@com>
It is solving a problem (at least as perceived by tynt and its clients).

Rather than ban it, perhaps define a clipboard (or more general) format for
copyrighted (or more generally licensed) material which has an element for
the content and an element for the copyright or other licensing info. Then
the paste operation can do something more intelligent with the backlink and
license info.
For example, the "read more here" could be pasted in the language of the
document it is being embedded in.
The license annotation could have a reserved place alongside the content, in
a footnote, or a reference section at the end.

Then paste would not be interfered with, but improved.
The traditional paste operations would then not be problematic.
Although, if an application did not copy the traditional paste format to the
clipboard, it might simply prevent unattributed copies.
That may or may not be a problem depending on how you feel about your
copyright.

tex
-----Original Message-----
From: www-tag-request@w3.org [mailto:www-tag-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of
Noah Mendelsohn
Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 2010 12:46 PM
To: Tim Berners-Lee
Cc: www-tag@w3.org
Subject: Re: Copy to Clipboard - ambush and abuse by javascript

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 20:05:11 UTC

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