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Re: Copy to Clipboard - ambush and abuse by javascript

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 2010 16:22:32 -0700
Cc: Noah Mendelsohn <nrm@arcanedomain.com>, Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>, "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-Id: <276FA331-9DD6-4E42-B2D1-27C83DFEE8FE@gbiv.com>
To: ashok.malhotra@oracle.com
On Jun 2, 2010, at 2:51 PM, ashok malhotra wrote:

> Let me argue the other side.  If I make my living serving copyrighted content, allowing
> unrestricted copy/paste is handing out a license to steal/plagiarize.  So, how do I protect myself?
> -- disallow copy? add a hidden watermark that can be used for legal prosecution?

What do book publishers do with their copyrighted content?
Do they use trick watermarking to make it hard to photocopy?
No.  They use the courts to enforce copyright.

Copyright is comparatively easy to enforce, and (at least in
US) law bends over backwards in favor of the copyright owner
with very steep per-copy charges.  The easiest way to discover
stolen content is to search for unique phrases, and that works
regardless of the cut-and-paste tool used to copy them.  What
is much harder is finding the entity responsible for publishing
the illegal copies once they are found.

However, almost all cut-and-paste style interaction via a
browser is for the sake of fair use, which is entirely legal in
the US no matter who owns the copyright.  I doubt that the real
intended use of the javascript is to enforce copyright -- it is
just a marketing tool, like all the other privacy-invading
javascript junk.  It is using the links to enhance cross-site
analytics, which is a privacy concern, not a copyright concern.

While I support the notion of not messing with the cut buffer
for UI sanity (i.e., allowing this is a browser bug), I think
it is pointless to argue about this tool as a legitimate means
of copy control.

....Roy
Received on Wednesday, 2 June 2010 23:23:02 UTC

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