How To Copy Protect Site From Data Miners and Image Theft

The Internet is an amazing resource for information and media and for most, a free library to plagiarize from and re-use for their own purpose. There are sites hot-linking to resources from other web sites to enhance their own web pages and some actually scraping the whole content found on other web pages to deliver from their own site.

There is not much one can do about this because the popular consensus is that is how it should be, and those supporting that opinion can be found to be the general public who want everything for free, and those who will profit from it. Take for example "search engines" and how they index your web site and information and deliver it to those looking seeking same. Yes, they provide a free service to the community, but their real motivation is for profit, because search engines like Google are making billions of dollars from mining and reselling your information.

Then you have the piggy-back riders, web sites devoted to earning from paid advertising, who mine information, redress it and display on their own web page. Sure, some claim to be writing original content, but where do you think that they get their ideas and research information from? That's right, from your web pages. So providing useful information on the Internet means that that information will be plagiarized by many others, and at the end of the day, who is to say which was the original resource and which was a copy?

Anyway, regardless of the motive, anything published on a web page is open to theft by all and sundry. If you have a product line it will not be original for long, and the product images that you display, will surely be plagiarized by other resellers of those products. Good business strategy encourages one to break boundaries and limitations so ethics will be the first to go, especially when what they need is sitting in front of them displayed on your web page.

If the information displayed on your web pages is for select clients only, then you need to do something about restricting access to those who are not. Sure, you do want some pages open to the public and search engines. You need to keep those pages open and we call them "doorway pages" with a preview or excerpts of what is inside. But your proprietary information can be protected and that is what this web site is devoted to doing... exploring the best ways to Copy Protect Sites from data miners and other plagiarizing monkey-brains.

Password Protection

Password protection is the easiest to install and enforce, especially when considering that most CMS provide member registration and login services and today, almost everyone is using a ready-made CMS of some sort. The most popular CMS are WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and Moodle (in that order) on a cheap and shared hosting service provided on Linux servers. For Windows server users DNN (DotNetNuke) is available. CMS written in Classic ASP are no longer supported due to lack of demand, but may corporate sites managed by in-house developers still use Classic ASP and will have further developed an old CMS to suit their own scenario.

Password protection will restrict access to your proprietary data but it will not prevent those who can log in from sharing that data. More on that later.

User-Agent Restriction

A "user-agent" is an identification string that is included in the request for a web page. For example, the Firefox web browser will have "firefox" in its user-agent string and so forth. Detecting user-agent and redirecting those that are unwanted can be a useful deterrent. Most people will not realize just how many applications are available for scraping and downloading your web site and media, but there are some strategies that can be employed to prevent most of it.

You may not be able to detect those that impersonate the user-agents used by popular web browsers, but you will find that most use their own unique custom user-agent to promote their software.

How you script that detection is up to you and will depend on your web sites backend. But in brief, start with getting the server variable for "user-agent", then compare it to a list of known offenders and if found, redirect that offender to a blank page. We will not provide a list of known offenders here because then 20 or more monkey-brains will be using that information to create yet another WordPress plugin to promote yet another totally unrelated business interest. Also, by doing some research on your own, you may learn something. Click for the most secure web browsing solution.

Media Encryption

Another strategy that can be employed is "encryption". Encryption can protect the data and media stored on the server from your web master and web hosting staff, and it can prevent leakage to those who may not have access rights to that information. For example one can check referrer and if it is a direct link and not referred from your doorway pages then redirect them. Either way, if they do not satisfy your criteria, do not decrypt the information. If you can use your domain name as the decryption key your content an media can be domain locked, and even if they do get a copy of the encrypted page, it cannot be displayed anywhere except from your web site. Click for the most secure web encryption solution.

Computer Identification

Individual users can be identified by the computer that they use. A unique Computer ID can be defined by obtaining the hard drive serial number or MAC address that is used for the Internet connection. Most of those in the copy protection industry are imitating the ideas of others and only capable of getting a MAC address, which is not ideal because a computer will have a different MAC address for different types of Internet connection, whether it be LAN, Modem, Wi-Fi, etc. Click for the most secure user identification solution.

Copy Protection

So far we have discussed the means of preventing unauthorized access to your web pages, and now need to discuss what can be done to protect them while open and on display. First, let's identify some methods of obtaining a copy while on display:

  • Page "save" will download and save the text and/or include all media displayed on the page.
  • Right-click menu can be used to select and copy images and text to the clipboard.
  • Right-click for "properties" will provide the web location of any media displayed on the page.
  • The Print option will send the page to the printer or a printer-driver for conversion to numerous file types such as PDF, etc.

Now you may have noticed that the "right-click" menu is mentioned a couple of times, so you might think that disabling the right click menu will protect your media. But you will be wrong, because the same menu options are available from the browser toolbar. You will not be alone thinking that because thousands of WordPress users use one of a number of "content protection " plugins that are a clone of each other, and all they do is disable the right click menu. Yes, just more plagiarism and what those monkey-brains do is download someone else's "open-source" plugin and rename its functions and slightly re-arrange their order in the script and voila, yet another ripped off plugin that they can use to promote an unrelated enterprise like web hosting or SEO services.

when we talk about "copy protection" we mean methods of preventing all copy full stop, completely, without ado, and methods that cannot be exploited. Methods that can be and should be employed by those who need to protect their livelihood and mission critical data.

Click for the most secure copy protection solutions.

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