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Any disadvantages to 'disable text selection' script?
Any disadvantages to 'disable text selection' script?

5+ Year Member

Msg#: 3507353 posted 5:00 am on Nov 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have found many instances of my text (and images) being copied and pasted onto forums and other people's blogs without any attribution or a link to my site. I am thinking of using a script to prevent people selecting the text on my site (for the script Google "disable select text script", I'm not sure whether I can post a link to the script itself?). I realise that many people will know how to get around this, I am just trying to stop those who don't know how and can't be bothered to find out. Does anyone know of any disadvantages to disabling text selection?



10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3507353 posted 5:50 am on Nov 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

I personally don't like sites that don't allow text selection. I often tell a friend or colleague of an interesting site I found by showing them a snippet and the URL, either through mail or through IM. Additionally you may hinder other webmasters from quoting you and linking to you if they can't copy your text directly from the page. In other words: you may hurt your site instead of doing it a favor.

But I see your problem. It happens to me all the time. You could build something that searches Google for a unique phrase from each of your pages. I do this manually every now and then and it has helped me 'catch' a large number of webmasters that had copied my text without permission.


5+ Year Member

Msg#: 3507353 posted 9:36 pm on Nov 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

Another problem, depending on the script, is that browser mouse gestures get disabled. I use the Firefox extension, and I tend to avoid sites that throw a javascript warning at me whenever I hit the right mouse button.

For all the people that take snippets of your content without a link, there are probably just as many doing it legitimately. Disabling text selection could add up to a lot of lost exposure.


5+ Year Member

Msg#: 3507353 posted 11:46 pm on Nov 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

When I tested the script, it didn't disable right click. It just seems to prevent you from highlighting the text.


WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3507353 posted 12:56 am on Nov 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

I copy article and blog post text in just about every blog post I make. I always use just a sentence or two and link back to the article. If I found the site was preventing me from highlighting, it would have to be REALLY compelling stuff for me to retype it. I'd be irritated enough to just move on. It currently happens on Flash sites and sites that do image replacements for text.

I suppose the key question is whether you get ongoing natural inbound linkage from those who quote your articles. If virtually all are unattributed ripoffs, then maybe the step you propose makes sense.

Any halfway competent ripoff artist, though, can find any number of ways to get the text without highlighting, "View Source" being the first one that comes to mind.


5+ Year Member

Msg#: 3507353 posted 1:41 am on Nov 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

The vast majority of the copied content does not have a link or any attribution! It's mainly people posting to forums, Yahoo answers and their personal blogs.


5+ Year Member

Msg#: 3507353 posted 12:24 am on Nov 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

The ones who want to copy your content will find a way...there is no use in using the 'disable text selection script...and I guess you can count that as a disadvantage.


5+ Year Member

Msg#: 3507353 posted 11:00 pm on Nov 25, 2007 (gmt 0)

In my opinion, the main disadvantage: quality. Scripts like the one mentioned, and the disable right click JS, makes sites look unprofessional, and unusable, in a way. Some people like to copy things for future reference, quotes, or references in their own writing. Not allowing them to do this makes it less likely for them to return.

Besides, your browsers lose some functionality, too.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 3507353 posted 4:42 pm on Dec 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

mic089 said: Does anyone know of any disadvantages to disabling text selection?

There are various disadvantages; some have been listed here, and you can probably find others by doing a web search. For instance, a no-right-click script on my site meant that my "Search" box was a bit wiggy: If you typed something into the box and then wanted to correct or edit it, you couldn't highlight; you had to backspace until the offending characters were deleted.

That said, such a script can be amazingly helpful if the brain-power of your scrapers isn't terribly impressive:

I have an educational site, and educators were continually scraping my lessons to sell as their own work. (They were hired to write and teach online courses, so, yes, they were getting paid for what they plagiarised.) These "professionals" sneer down their noses at me, since I have "only" a master's degree in math, years of teaching and tutoring experience, and a proven "track record" for quality work, but I don't have an "education" degree. They will plainly state that I'm not "qualified" (as they claim to be) to teach in the high-school classroom-- though apparently I'm good enough to steal from...?!?

Anyway, these "rocket scientists", these "highly qualified" "professionals", had no idea how to get around the no-highlight script once I'd installed it on my site, and the number of incidents of scraping went through the floor immediately upon the script's installation.

I've since had to remove it from my own site (for the sake of the afore-mentioned "Search" script), and I get annoyed when I'm hindered by it on other sites. But I can't honestly say that a "no right click" or "no highlight" script is an entirely bad thing.

Just my opinion, of course; I could be wrong....


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