HTMLProtector is a program for Windows that lets you ‘protect’ your web pages to stop people copying the content, source code or images. It goes somewhat further than the usual trick of disabling the context menu, and offers lots of options to boot. Here’s a sample page – you might want to view it in IE in Windows for full effect.
You can also do the right-click thing, with an error message showing instead of the contect menu. Except in Firefox, under Tools, Options, Web Features, Advanced, you can override this – the error message is still shown but once it is dismissed the menu appears as normal.
In IE, the page is able to take a worryingly high level of control over the Windows clipboard. The Print Screen function is disabled – instead of capturing the screen you only get a small white square, even if the browser is minimised. The Copy function is also disabled globally until the page is closed, so you can’t even copy and paste in Word or another application. Firefox has no such problems, what with it being somewhat more disjointed from the operating system, although in both Firefox and IE drag-and-drop is disabled.
Printing is disabled by specifying a print stylesheet with the body tag set to ‘
display:none‘. This works on all browsers that properly support CSS, although it can be defeated by disabling style sheets.
You also cannot select text, in IE nor in Firefox. However, you can do Select All (Ctrl+A) in Firefox, which then allows you to use the ‘View Partial Source’ option on the context menu which lets you view some of the decoded source code.
You can even stop all Opera users from accessing your site, because they’ll be able to use the context menu even if it’s blocked. Oh the horror!
Images can be protected by splitting them into pieces or converting them into static Flash animations.
This all reminds me of a quote from dooce.com:
I actually worked for a client once who asked me to program their homepage so that when a user brought it up on a browser it would disable the printing function on their computer. They didn’t want anyone printing out their website because they were worried that someone would steal their great ideas, the great ideas that they were putting on the PUBLIC internet for THOUSANDS of people to read. I asked them if they also wanted me to include a piece of code that would break a user’s fingers, thus preventing anyone from printing or even writing down their great ideas, and they asked me if they could get in trouble for that.
If you’re that worried about people stealing your content, don’t publish it in the first place.