funny business on the net
December 2, 2002 4:21 AM   Subscribe

It would appear that our original warning was not sufficient.This is the second message you receive when you right-click at this website a second time. And then it LOCKS UP YOUR COMPUTER(use ctrl/alt/del to close browser and unlock.) The first time you right-click you are given this warning..Images and all text on our website are protected by copyright--DO NOT attempt to copy."give me one ping,give me one ping only please" What..the..
posted by JohnR (84 comments total)
And with my Mac I just click and drag any image I want onto my desktop (or directly into Photoshop, for that matter). And I assume even on a PC you could just do a screen grab and edit in your favorite graphics program. Silly, silly people. Why do they waste their time so?
posted by jalexei at 4:36 AM on December 2, 2002

Works for me (Galeon/Mozilla on Mandrake Linux 8.2). Maybe disabling JavaScript would get round this (although mine is enabled).

Which leads me to another topic. If people used the tool given to them for their intended purpose (Flash for animations not ENTIRE frickin' websites, JavaScript for interactivity not two bit security etc etc) then everything would work so much more nicely.
posted by PenDevil at 4:36 AM on December 2, 2002

It doesn't even work in opera under linux, and I the page won't even load in mozilla.

Still, your browser shouldn't allow it to do that. Be outraged all you want, but in the end social (or worse, legal) solutions to technical problems aren't the way to go.
posted by fvw at 4:38 AM on December 2, 2002

The thing is, if you right-click and hold, you can dismiss the popup by pressing the RETURN/ENTER key and then release the mouse button which brings up the usual context menu (on a PC with IE). There are ways of replacing the context menu completely in IE5(I think?)+ but everybody seems too lazy to bother.

They lock up your browser by offering up a plate of infinite recursion. The code:

<script language="javascript">
var times=0
var times2=10
function click() {
if ((event.button==2) || (event.button==3)) {
if (times>=1) { bye() }
alert("Images and all text on our website are protected by copyright--DO NOT attempt to copy");
times++ } }
function bye() {
alert("It would appear that our original warning was not sufficient");
bye() }

posted by rocketpup at 4:40 AM on December 2, 2002

Jaysus, that seems fairly harsh alright, i seem to remember a whole thread here before about how to circumvent these sort of tricks. (too lazy to search). Also, i don't get any warnings in Mozilla at all. Nevertheless, actually locking up your browser seems to be going way too far to prevent this sort of thing, especially when the determined geek can easily get around them.
posted by kev23f at 4:44 AM on December 2, 2002

Nonsense like this is a big reason I use privoxy ( It blocks lots of stupid webpage tricks like these, so that using Phoenix under Win2k I have no problem loading that site, and right clicking does exactly what I want it to.
posted by Zonker at 4:46 AM on December 2, 2002

They rely upon the fact that you use Internet Explorer (and, most likely, Internet Explorer for Windows) in order for this "function" to work. The document.onmousedown event throws you into an endless loop; fortunately, document.onmousedown is undefined in Mozilla and Netscape.

You don't have to disable Javascript for all of the Internet in order to prevent this, however.

1. Start Internet Explorer (I have 5.5.)
2. Go to Tools -> Internet Options...
3. Click on the Security tab.
4. Click on the Restricted Sites icon.
5. Click on the Custom Level button. Scroll down to the Scripting section and make sure Active Scripting is disabled. Click OK.
6. Click on the Sites button.
7. Paste or type into the textbox. Click the Add button.
8. Click OK. Click OK. Reload the page. Right-click like you've never right-clicked before.

In summation, these people are hacks, this will do little to prevent people determined to steal their oh-so-valuable content from doing so, and disabling a large part of browser functionality in a half-assed attempt to do so will gain them no visitors.

Other than those who would ridicule them, that is.
posted by Danelope at 4:48 AM on December 2, 2002

And it doesn't eventually barf out with a 'script error: too deep recursion' or anything? That'd mean javascript on IE does tail recursion properly. Consider me impressed.
posted by fvw at 4:49 AM on December 2, 2002

And it doesn't eventually barf out with a 'script error: too deep recursion' or anything? That'd mean javascript on IE does tail recursion properly. Consider me impressed.
I haven't tried it yet, but I assume you'd have to click 'OK' on a whole lot of alert boxes in order to fill up the stack because throwing up an alert stops execution until the box is dismissed.
posted by rocketpup at 4:53 AM on December 2, 2002

All very silly, especially as you can freely select and copy the text, and grab images via Print Scrn (maybe they need the Evil Web Designer [self-link]...)
posted by malevolent at 5:04 AM on December 2, 2002

ok, so i was really anal and went and found where we discussed sites like this before. This link talks about how to circumvent these "security" features, and this link has a humdinger of an argument about whether its ethical to go and disable anti theft measures on particular websites. I've still never seen anything as bad as this before though - anyone got any others?
posted by kev23f at 5:08 AM on December 2, 2002

rocket: oops, misread the code. Thanks. Still, we can dream, right?
posted by fvw at 5:11 AM on December 2, 2002

I had no trouble grabbing an image just for the hell of it, but truth be told, found nothing worthy of taking on the entire site.
posted by scottymac at 5:28 AM on December 2, 2002

#! /bin/sh
while true

all together now...
posted by col at 5:45 AM on December 2, 2002

I question the legality of such an act. The code is malicious and has the specific intention of disabling the end user's computer. It prohibits a large number of perfectly legitimate uses for the right-click menu that are nothing to do with copying images to your computer (images that are already stored in your computer's cache in all likelihood). Can anyone with a bit more legal insight offer a perspective?
posted by saintsguy at 5:46 AM on December 2, 2002

I suggest everyone make use of their LivePerson icon at the bottom left to let your opinion be known.

Stolen quite easily from their site: is dedicated to the perpetuation of a free press as the cornerstone of our liberty.

To ensure a free society the people must be well informed in order to make decisions regarding their lives, and their local and national and global communities.

As long as you don't mind paying $19.95 (or whatever) for it.
posted by Ynoxas at 5:48 AM on December 2, 2002

if you hold down "enter" the warning repeats continually and quite soon the browser dies, so i suspect it's not doing tail recursion.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:00 AM on December 2, 2002

posted by andrew cooke at 6:04 AM on December 2, 2002

Yeah... It's obviously Microsoft's fault... somehow.

Some people.

Extraordinary. Absolutley extraordinary.
posted by ed\26h at 6:09 AM on December 2, 2002

If you go into you get a nice open directory of all the images they have available.
posted by sebas at 6:10 AM on December 2, 2002

these asshats have there entire /images open for read.. no need to bother with the html code:)
posted by MrLint at 6:19 AM on December 2, 2002 Spanking for Your Own Good.
posted by Danelope at 6:23 AM on December 2, 2002

I just had a faily long conversation with "Greg" - he answered their LiveHelp button. He claimed to be both the web designer and the owner of the company. He seemed pretty peeved when I asked him about it. Apparently I am not the first person to have given him some grief this morning.

I tried to be rational - I didnt curse at him and didnt use any abusive language. I pointed out that there are something like 24 commands on that menu that he is preventing, not just the "Save As" that he's so worried about. He called me an idiot, told me the code was supposed to have deleted my hard drive and accused me of being high a couple of times.

I pointed out the contradiction between his Missions ("ethical practice...") and his web development (breaking the browser) and he got pretty steamed. I've got a transcript of our conversation - I was planning on sending it to his supervisors, but since he is apparently the whole company, I dont think that's going to do any good.
posted by Irontom at 6:39 AM on December 2, 2002

did you tell him that we can drag his crappy images onto our desktops all day long? And that with 'save as' we can take his whole crappy site?
posted by glenwood at 6:48 AM on December 2, 2002

Heh, he needs to relax
posted by sebas at 6:51 AM on December 2, 2002

col, d00d, you're doing it all wrong.
posted by wobh at 6:52 AM on December 2, 2002

you should post the conversation here.
posted by angry modem at 6:52 AM on December 2, 2002

and the page won't even load in mozilla

Sure it will. Just jump on over to XUL Planet and install their 'lil preferences toolbar widget, and set your UA string to IE 6.0 WinXP. Works like a charm, then. You can right-click all you want, too.

Silly OfficialSpin.
posted by moonbiter at 6:53 AM on December 2, 2002

No problem accessing or right-clicking the site with Chimera 0.6 (Mac OS X). I second angry modem's request that Irontom post the transcript.
posted by mcwetboy at 6:58 AM on December 2, 2002

Heh. You can also use a simple download manager to download the contents of the entire site, with no technical knowledge required whatsoever.

Silly OfficialSpin.
posted by moonbiter at 7:13 AM on December 2, 2002

Don't post the transcript. Even asshats deserve to have a presumed private conversation remain private.
posted by luser at 7:15 AM on December 2, 2002

I'm conflicted on this one. While I agree with what luser said, I am not sure that a customer service interaction qualifies for a right to privacy.
posted by Irontom at 7:19 AM on December 2, 2002

With IE/PC's "Save as..." feature (noted a few posts up) you can have entire pages reproduced on your local HD, images included. Gee, no right-click? Silly hackers.
posted by werty at 7:20 AM on December 2, 2002

Don't post the transcript. Even asshats deserve to have a presumed private conversation remain private.

I disagree. If you went to or, discovered a means by which to speak to the president of the company (or anyone representing the company, for that matter) and were belittled for expressing your opinion of their business practices in a civil fashion, I'd expect no less than for you to make this information known.

This is the face OfficialSpin is choosing to put forward to the public and, therefore, they must be expected to reap what they sow.
posted by Danelope at 7:21 AM on December 2, 2002

Personally, I'd like to know how this relates to George W. Bush being an evil, tyrannical moron.

Let's stay on topic, people!
posted by moonbiter at 7:26 AM on December 2, 2002

I'm not ashamed to post my chat with Greg on LiveHelp:

Greg: How may I help you today?
Greg: Is there a specific question I can help you with?
you: I assume you have seen this today:
Greg: What
you: Your "don't be a jerk" javascript has turned you into a jerk yourself
you: You might want to "spin" this a bit
you: Just wanted to let you know
you: And tell you that there are at least five workarounds to your disabled-right-click mechanism posted to the metafilter URL above
you: Good luck with this one, though
Greg: So what?
you: If you don't see what the issue is, that's fine with me
Greg: There isn't an issue.
you: OK, so be it
Chat session has been terminated by the site operator.

He hung up on me! What's the official spin on that?
posted by werty at 7:27 AM on December 2, 2002

alright, I think we should cool it with harassing Greg.
posted by angry modem at 7:38 AM on December 2, 2002

Webmaster baiting? If you don't like his site/practices, avoid the site. Ain't the interweb great? Maybe someday they'll have it on computers.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:40 AM on December 2, 2002

I bet Official Spin hasn't gotten this much attention before. You couldn't buy this sort of word-of-mouth advertising. After all, there is no such thing as "bad publicity".

Hey, I'm just saying...
posted by grum@work at 7:41 AM on December 2, 2002

This whole thread constitutes a technical circumvention measure for copyrighted, protected content. As such, it is in violation of the DMCA. Mathowie, please delete immediately and turn over access logs for this thread to the authorities.
posted by jeb at 9:20 AM on December 2, 2002

FYI: He removed the code. :)
posted by rocketpup at 9:28 AM on December 2, 2002

OK, now I'm curious - did anybody archive the page in question? With Win/IE 5.5, I don't see this behavior this morning, and a cursory review of the source doesn't turn up the scripting quoted above. Apparently, Chief Cook and Bottlewasher Greg has tidied up a bit, but I'm still curious to see it...
posted by JollyWanker at 9:33 AM on December 2, 2002

Ah ha.. explains his e-mail response "I don't know what you're talking about."

Personally, I may have told you all to go piss off. "Thanks for the constructive criticism, but you're not paying the bills."

It may have been amateurish, but from his perspective, he was just protecting his work product.

And from a general web-issue of people ripping other people off, Metafilter tends to be pretty reactive..

So, why get pissed when someone tries to protect themselves? Is it just because they did it in such a crappy way?
posted by rich at 9:46 AM on December 2, 2002

Is it just because they did it in such a crappy way?

Yeah, basically.. isn't that what this thread is about?
posted by PrinceValium at 9:50 AM on December 2, 2002

I think maybe it was the malicious way he was protecting it. Look at all the valid tools in the right click menu (back, forward, refresh). Why crash someones browser just because they right click on the page more than once?
posted by seanclarke at 9:54 AM on December 2, 2002

The odd thing is that he tries to stop people from saving his source code (or do anything else that's under the right mouse button), while leaving big holes on the rest of his site.

What he does as well is hosting the logos of AOL, Yahoo and other companies, these are used in articles which don't seem to originate from these companies. Hence the question if he got these logos from the companies themselves or maybe using 'right mouse click, save picture as' ?

technical circumvention measure for copyrighted, protected content

You're funny. If I look at his site through a text-only browser I would be in violation of the DMCA?
posted by sebas at 10:23 AM on December 2, 2002

Rich: Is it just because they did it in such a crappy way?

Yes. If he wanted to use this wholly ineffectual method of "protecting his work" he could, and should, do like other sites and just have it pop up the same message over and over each time you click.

His threatening "one warning was not sufficient" is both amateurish and condescending.

But causing an infinite loop, which would confuse the less-sophisticated surfers that would fall to the initial "no right click" bait, is preposterous.

How any company would choose him to represent them is beyond me. Look at how he handles his own "PR". Watch and learn, watch and learn.

Sebas: If you go into you get a nice open directory of all the images they have available.


Ironclad bulletproof protection, no less will do.

I'm also curious if all of those images are royalty free?

On preview: I'll be damned if he DIDN'T remove that code! Hoorah! The next step was to slashdot him.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:47 AM on December 2, 2002

As website viewers, we really only have permission to make a copy of a website in so far as it is necessary to view the site on our home computers...which basically means downloading it into the browser over our connections. The courts have yet to make a real determination on this, so for now this is the least offensive interpretation of the rules. When the menus are disabled, that's just a way of ensuring that you don't exceed your "implied license." Disabling your browser and crashing your computer is a separate issue entirely, seemingly tortious, since it is a breach of the website owner's duty not to harm your computer (rather than a much lesser and more valid restriction on your ability to make copies). So I guess the first right click causes no real problems, it's just protecting the website owner's copyrights, but the second right click, that's problematic.
posted by superfem at 10:49 AM on December 2, 2002

I don't get any popups in IE6 SP1 on XP.
posted by riffola at 10:51 AM on December 2, 2002

You're funny. If I look at his site through a text-only browser I would be in violation of the DMCA?

No, but if you told someone "you can get around the protection code by looking at the page through a text-only browser", you probably would. Of course, IANAL; YMMV.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:51 AM on December 2, 2002

Jeb beat me to the punch as did Mars Saxman. It doesn't matter what the protection method is or how poor it is, if you make available a means to circumvent it, you are in violation of the DMCA. The fact that there are several other methods of downloading content from the site in question is irrelevant as long as they don't involve circumventing the JavaScript code. In others words, using a download manager or drag and drop works around the restriction imposed by the webmaster's code, but doesn't directly circumvent it. Telling somebody to disable JavaScript does.

INAL, but this seems, IMHO to be the way the court is going to go on these sorts of cases.

As for posting the transcript of the phone conversation did you get a recording that said "This call may be monitored to ensure customer service" or similar tripe? If not, I wouldn't post it, but if they're monitoring/recording the call, I would hope it is fair game for you to as well.

Way to overcome social behavior with technology and laws. ;O
posted by infowar at 11:08 AM on December 2, 2002

Nice talk about the DMCA, but we're dealing with a UK company.

Now he could go after the US people, but he would be laughed out of court in this country.
posted by sebas at 11:35 AM on December 2, 2002

"The Proximitron" is good for this sort of thing, just filter "alert()" out of the incoming stream and replace it with something else ("allert" works) and surprise... no more problem :)

The Proximitron rules :)
posted by soulhuntre at 11:44 AM on December 2, 2002

posted by sp dinsmoor at 12:05 PM on December 2, 2002

Regarding the DMCA and violation thereof:

If I recall correctly, the DMCAs wording is something to the effect of "bypassing effective access control"... blah blah blah[emphasis mine].

It could be pretty easily argued that javascript is not an "effective" access control. It all depends on how you look at the wording.

also: man, what a putz.
posted by jaded at 12:20 PM on December 2, 2002

I can right click and save stuff all day long. using straight IE 6 with javs script on. I checked the source of the page and the offending code seems ot have been removed.
posted by Dillenger69 at 12:23 PM on December 2, 2002

Oy. Metafilter Mob Justice on the march again. Virtual pitchforks and torches a'blazing. Someone get a rope so we can lynch the guy for putting up a website...

Jesus, people.
posted by crunchland at 12:31 PM on December 2, 2002

He did remove the code after the harrassment by the metafilter web mob.

I have been e-mailing with him and he seemed annoyed more because he was baffled why people were harrassing him about his own site. He's just trying to protect his stuff, albet he may not be up to the high standards the group here places on everyone to conform to (other than themselves, of course).

I agree that the code was stupid, and rather mis-guided.. but calling the guy a jerk (looking at werty and others who used his 'live support') is probably even more immature.
posted by rich at 12:37 PM on December 2, 2002

Did anyone click through to one of the news release pages on the site before he removed the code? If it was in effect on those pages, he would have been ham-stringing the functionality of the site to his target market -- journalists. What if some reporter tried to right-click, print one of those releases and crashed her computer?
posted by me3dia at 1:03 PM on December 2, 2002

I checked the code on IE 6/win2k and it was there this morning. I suppose it has been henceforth removed.
posted by delmoi at 1:05 PM on December 2, 2002

It's been mentioned several times now he has removed the code.

Rich: as I said above, it has nothing to do with him "protecting his content". It has everything to do with the way he did it.

Like I said, the honorable way to do it would be to just pop up the same message over and over, no matter how many times the person right clicks. I have seen dozens of sites do this very thing. It's not like it is unheard of or anything.

What makes it appalling is that he purposefully, with the intent to molest and possibly harm the user, sends the browser (and for most people, they would assume the entire machine) into an endless loop.

It all has to do with INTENT. My entire belief structure is based upon intent. It is clear this guy INTENDED to be a jerk. And he was. Calling him one is not out of line.

Also, he shouldn't play hardball online and then have such a thin skin when called out on it.

The fact that he removed the offending code speaks volumes.
posted by Ynoxas at 1:14 PM on December 2, 2002

Addendum: This also isn't "some guy's website" it is a corporate entity. The fact it is a one man operation is besides the point.

I am still curious as to if this apparent vehement content protector has permission to reproduce all those images, or if they all are royalty free. I'm thinking "no" and "no" respectively.
posted by Ynoxas at 1:20 PM on December 2, 2002

Not the first time this has happened, and not the first time he's acted with arrogance in return. Apparently, he follows the "No linking without permission" method of webmastery as well.

He's also been sued for cybersquatting, fraud, has lost ICANN disputes and attemped to sue Nike after their DNS entries were hacked, redirecting traffic through his servers.

Hard to believe he's such a nice guy in person, oi?
posted by Danelope at 1:39 PM on December 2, 2002

[waiting for someone to pull up his criminal records, and his credit report...]

Look, so his javascript was misguided, and it may have caused some of you a slight inconvenience (one I'm sure NONE of you would have suffered had this thread not even been posted in the first place). Give the guy a break.

And so it's a business site instead of a personal one. So don't do business with him.

Call off the fuckin' dogs, already.
posted by crunchland at 1:50 PM on December 2, 2002

heh, Lucky Allan Short
posted by jnthnjng at 1:52 PM on December 2, 2002

I wondered why his name was trademarked. That also explains this.
posted by sp dinsmoor at 2:12 PM on December 2, 2002

i'd put money on the fact that JohnR wasn't even trying to save an image when he ran across this little I wrong?
posted by juv3nal at 2:31 PM on December 2, 2002 would win that bet. Google news directed me to this site for a story re: George Harrisons will. I was just trying to get back to Google.
posted by JohnR at 2:50 PM on December 2, 2002

anyone have a good suggestions on protecting copyrighted images and mp3's .mov etc that you simply don't want people to nick then? jus' wonderin'.
posted by dabitch at 4:42 PM on December 2, 2002

dabitch - don't put them on the internet (or even create them in the first place). It's the only way I know of.
posted by willnot at 4:49 PM on December 2, 2002

anyone have a good suggestions on protecting copyrighted images and mp3's .mov etc that you simply don't want people to nick then?

Simply put, you can't. If someone can listen, view, or watch your content via the Web, they can download it to their machine (and have already done so.) All the encryption, warnings, and harassment in the world won't stop a determined user from grabbing content you make available to the public.

The RIAA, MPAA, Microsoft, Intel, AMD, and thousands of other content producers are yet unwilling to admit this fundamental truth, and therefore seek out ways to limit your rights as a consumer. "Digital Rights Management", "trusted computing", "copy protection" et al only serve to annoy and abuse legitimate, law-abiding customers; pirates and crackers can and do extract these draconian methods like abscessed teeth. And they do so in seconds.

I don't advocate piracy, harassment, or "sticking it to the man". I advocate my rights as a consumer, and when a CD I purchased tells me I can't play it, or when a Web site I visit deliberately cripples my browser -- to the point of hanging the program, no less -- I get pissed off.
posted by Danelope at 5:02 PM on December 2, 2002

do you get pissed off if your site's content is taken and reposted at other sites?
posted by dabitch at 5:08 PM on December 2, 2002

No. Feel free to ignore Danelope's license page.
posted by crunchland at 5:19 PM on December 2, 2002

Yes, but:

A. That's the risk I take by posting content to the Internet. I realize and accept the fact that, no matter what I do, someone somewhere could steal it, repackage it as their own, etc.

B. If and when I do discover someone ripping off my content, I can take appropriate action at that juncture. E-mail them asking they remove it, contact their Web host or service provider (citing the anti-copyright infringement sections of their Terms of Service), and so on. But I don't try to pre-emptively stop the problem by crippling my visitors' browsers, because I realize it won't stop determined thieves.

For example: I didn't bother putting any copyright notices or URLs in any of the wallpaper I post to my site. Why? Because I understand that most watermarks can be removed with a quick copy-and-paste job in Photoshop. And I feel that something of (arguable, in my case) beauty should be provided without hindrance. Sure, there's a license that people can voluntarily read, but nearly everyone ignores it. If someone likes it enough, they'll link back to me or send me their comments, but I can't prevent them from stealing it if they so desire.
posted by Danelope at 5:19 PM on December 2, 2002

My point exactly, crunchland. It's there for someone to read, should they choose, but few do and fewer still care. That doesn't prevent me from posting content to my site, does it?

And it's titled "License Agreement, Terms of Service, Appropriate Usage Policy, Monkeys, et al", for God's sake. Hardly seems like the standard intimidating legally-binding document.
posted by Danelope at 5:25 PM on December 2, 2002

here is a good one; .
here is a mefi-customized one.
(hack found on slashdot)
posted by dolface at 9:21 PM on December 2, 2002

Thanks to all the people who agreed that it's irresponsible and inappropriate to intentionally lock up a user's computer because they've right-clicked twice. After all, a right click could be to add a bookmark or to print as easily as it could be save an image. Fortunately, this particular knucklehead decided to ditch his browser killer.

If the gentleman who runs ends up reading this by some chance, please consider a few points. Firstly, the right click is where you go to add a bookmark, print and get access to a back button, in addition to the ability to save images. Secondly, locking a user's browser because they're using it's basic functionality is never acceptable; it's malicious, immature and unprofessional.
posted by mosch at 9:48 PM on December 2, 2002

When you type something online, someone can copy it with a few mouse clicks. When you post a photograph, someone can save it somewhere other than their web cache. When you publish a newsletter, someone can OCR it, or just make copies. And there is nothing you can do to stop it.

When you make a document or image web-accessible, you are agreeing to let users download it. If you don't want people downloading it, or you have some misguided idea that they should only be able to download it in the way that you think they should (in the context of your page, perhaps), you should simply remove it or password protect it. There is no agreement, express or implied (and no, a "terms of service" page does not constitute an agreement), as to how web users can view the documents an images you make available.

What I really don't understand is why do people care? Ok, if you are selling an e-book I can see the need for protecting content, but really, who wants to steal some shmuck's source code? And if it was stolen, what's the worst that could come of it? Either it would be so insignificant you'd never know, or it would be significant, you'd find out, and could deal with it appropriately. I've had this happen to me, several times, with both photographs and whole site designs. It's not a big deal. I wasn't worried about protecting my content, so all I did was ask that they download the images to their own servers, but I could have responded more seriously.
posted by Nothing at 1:00 AM on December 3, 2002

Nothing - well I was asking because i've just been helping to set up a photographers page. He's had 68,000 dkr worth of photographs ripped off and reprinted by a magazine that normally pays him to publish his work. They simply took images from his portfolio site. Also, I've seen cases where other photographers have claimed the photo's were theirs. Now, photographers here [in denmark] have some of the best laws protecting their work, so all this fellar had to do was bill the offenders, and send some lawyers after them. i'm surprised at the 'don't post it on the web' attitude. I mean, i know what you're saying but effectively if the web cannot be used a place where professionals of any field can't post their work without having it ripped off.. well... isn't that kinda upsetting?
posted by dabitch at 6:11 AM on December 3, 2002

Well, short of marring your images with visible watermarks, or embedding invisible ones (which I've heard are dubious anyway, since re-editing the image with Photoshop tends to munge them all up), or publishing inferior, low-res copies of the images in the first place, I've seen some artists resorting to proprietary ways to present the pictures in the first place, like special java applets or Adobe Acrobat files -- both of which are easily defeated by the alt-PrtSc button. There's really very little that can be done about it.

Information (including images) wants to be free, apparently.
posted by crunchland at 8:27 AM on December 3, 2002

information being free wouldn't be so bad

- ie: photo +© photographers name - or link found at [sitename] as so many do here - or illustration +©name - or site-design inspiration thanks to 'site i ripped code from'.

It's only half the information that is free if you catch my drift. ;)
posted by dabitch at 8:59 AM on December 3, 2002

While I maintain the attacks against the guy on a personal level were childish and unfounded, I'm a bit unnerved by the level of complexity this guy has created - multiple companies, multiple countries, many affiliations on seamingly unrelated organizations..

Very odd.. such a level of seeming legitimacy from someone who comes off as unprofessional and, well, too immature to pull smething so complex off..
posted by rich at 9:23 AM on December 3, 2002

"or publishing inferior, low-res copies of the images in the first place"

The images are being displayed on monitors, at 72dpi to 96dpi -- very low resolution. By that nature alone, they're inferior, low-res copies.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:41 AM on December 3, 2002

if the web cannot be used a place where professionals of any field can't post their work without having it ripped off.. well... isn't that kinda upsetting?

Not really. Any time you publish a work you run the risk that someone will steal it. With the internet, you are publishing to a very large and diverse population, so the risk increases. My point is that you cannot expect perfect security in any form of publishing, and if what you want is perfect security, then you are better off not publishing at all. I think the photographer you mentioned is a perfect example of the right way to handle these things. If someone steals, then handle it legally. Pretty much all countries have laws in place to handle these situations. It's either that or develop some effective means of protection, such as requiring passwords and actual user agreements to view images. Creating half-measures in JavaScript for normal web-accessible content is not only ineffective, but it perpetrates the harmful and false notion that a web page is or should be a secure place. False because when you make something available the web you are explicitly making it available for download, which necessarily involves making a copy of the file; and harmful because it gives people false expectations about what the web is, leading to things like pages that crash the browser if you right-click and other cockamamie "security" measures that can potentially do real damage to the integrity of the web (for average users at least) if they become commonplace.
posted by Nothing at 4:15 PM on December 3, 2002

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