[nycphp-talk] Making text hard to copy

David Roth davidalanroth at
Mon Aug 9 03:01:49 EDT 2010

Anthony, I think for the average visitor to a web page, I would look  
into outputting the text as an image. This way it could be made to  
look like a regular web page and doesn't require the visitor to  
install or update anything on their computer such as Flash. I remember  
seeing some routines built-in to PHP that including writing text over  
a graphic. The graphic could be simply white to look like the  
background of the web page or whatever the design is.

You could write some test examples and run them at the Linux command  
level using the 'time' command to see how much overhead they really  
add vs displaying the text:

time php textasgraphic.php
time php justtext.php

Before anyone else further beats up on the concept, I can understand  
why someone would prefer not to have people copy and paste their  
content out of context and  e-mail it around such as a company news  
release, where the company would prefer people direct others to the  
web page itself.

David Roth

On Aug 7, 2010, at 4:44 AM, Anthony Papillion wrote:

> You're right, Ed. It's impossible to prevent someone who wants a
> screenshot from getting one. Someone intent on copying information
> will do it, even if they have to take a picture of the screen or hand
> copy the material.
> The goal of this project is just to make it harder for the "average"
> enterprise use from copying information.
> Thanks,
> A
> On 8/7/10, Edward Potter <edwardpotter at> wrote:
>> Impossible.
>> I can always get a screen shot, shoot it  off to Amazon Turk and  
>> have it
>> 100% transcribed and sent to my email probably in a few minutes.
>> There is no way of 100% preventing a screenshot. The core DNA of the
>> Internet is built on sharing.  No way of getting around that.
>> You can make it a bit harder but impossible to prevent copying.   
>> Just the
>> nature of the beast.
>> Sent from my iPhone
>> On Aug 7, 2010, at 2:13 AM, Anthony Papillion <papillion at>  
>> wrote:
>>> Thank you everyone for your feedback on this problem. In the end,  
>>> I think
>>> the most secure way of solving this problem is to output the text to
>>> Flash.   While I know it's fairly easy to download a Flash applet  
>>> (which
>>> would, in essence, copy the text, I believe most of the people  
>>> using this
>>> system won't know that and will be 'safe enough'.   Additionally,  
>>> if I
>>> remember correctly, Flash content doesn't show up in a screenshot  
>>> (though
>>> I could be wrong on this).
>>> So thank you for the input. It's much appreciated.
>>> --
>>> Anthony Papillion
>>> Lead Developer / Owner
>>> Advanced Data Concepts - "Enabling work anywhere"
>>> (918) 533-9969
>>> Facebook:
>>> My Blog:
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> New York PHP Users Group Community Talk Mailing List
> -- 
> Sent from my mobile device
> Anthony Papillion
> Lead Developer / Owner
> Advanced Data Concepts - "Enabling work anywhere"
> (918) 533-9969
> Facebook:
> My Blog:

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