What methods do sites use to prevent the downloading of images? Are there ways around the methods?
July 6, 2004 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Sometimes I'll be at a website that won't allow me to click and download an image. How do you code this? Is it basic html? ...Also, does this really protect the image from being downloaded or are there ways around it? (beyond doing a screenshot) Is embedding the image in a flash document a good idea too? - thanks.
posted by Peter H to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Here's the code: http://www.ourhutch.com/examples/rightclick.html.

It's really easy to circumvent in all sorts of ways. There's even a firefox plugin that circumvents it for you.
posted by grumblebee at 10:18 AM on July 6, 2004

It's pretty easy to pull an image out of a Flash document. There are a zillion free tools that will hack into a swf and pull anything out of it: mp3s, sounds, fonts, jpegs...
posted by grumblebee at 10:22 AM on July 6, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for the links! Very cool to learn about - best, Peter.

(on preview - great thanks for the zillion free tools, as well)
posted by Peter H at 10:25 AM on July 6, 2004

You can always do a screenshot too.
posted by gramcracker at 10:32 AM on July 6, 2004

Tons of ways around it.
posted by rhapsodie at 10:34 AM on July 6, 2004

does this really protect the image from being downloaded

If you are viewing the image then you have already downloaded it. Disallowing right-click merely removes one of the simplest means of permanently saving it.
posted by ChasFile at 10:40 AM on July 6, 2004

Completely useless, image is already in your cache.
posted by zeoslap at 11:14 AM on July 6, 2004

Right click (Hold down), press the space bar to dismiss the dialog box, release right click your menu should appear allowing you to save the image.

Having said that, I agree with zeoslap.
posted by DBAPaul at 11:46 AM on July 6, 2004

You don't even need a special plugin for IE- hover over the image for a bit, and a toolbar with a save option will appear in the upper left corner.
posted by dogwelder at 12:25 PM on July 6, 2004

Well, I HATE that script. It's really annoying, but I disagree that it's completely useless. If you want to protect your images against "the average joe," it works pretty well. Joe doesn't know about things like caches. So he'll probably just move on, rather than try to save your images. On the other hand, average Mefi types will probably get so pissed off that they will be MORE likely to steal your images, alter them in photoshop (maybe mixing them with pornographic photos) and post them all over the web.
posted by grumblebee at 12:27 PM on July 6, 2004

Completely useless, image is already in your cache.

this bears repeating: if you are looking at it, it's already been downloaded.
posted by quonsar at 12:43 PM on July 6, 2004

The anti-right click scripts typically entirely disable the use of the right mouse button. On most windows based browsers, that prevents you from right clicking and selecting "back" from the menu. Highly frustrating.
posted by Kwantsar at 12:54 PM on July 6, 2004

I'll briefly mention the LWP modules in perl--one could use them to write a tiny script to suck out all those non-right-clickable images from an entire site in one swoop. That'd show 'em.
posted by gimonca at 1:00 PM on July 6, 2004

That overlay's pretty snazzy though.
I wonder if there was a way of sucking a random sample of the picture into a transparent overlay which could be placed over the original picture (sans the random sample). That way, the picture would look right on the screen, but would actually consist of two different images.

Or... could the image be streamed as a movie (thus removing it from the screen-print buffer) consisting of the same frame repeated a couple of times.
posted by seanyboy at 1:15 PM on July 6, 2004

seanyboy: imdb do this for their images (a cell with the background image of the photo, with a transparent gif over the top).

VLC/MPlayer/Quicktime/MS Media Player/Realplayer can all disable hardware accelerated rendering so people could take a screenshot.

ps. Hi Peter H!
posted by holloway at 6:56 PM on July 6, 2004

(hmm.. nevermind, I think you're a different Peter Harrison -- not the NZOSS guy)
posted by holloway at 7:52 PM on July 6, 2004

imdb do this for their images

Interesting...and very cunning. How do you get round this then? (Or at least..what's the easiest way?)
posted by salmacis at 3:34 AM on July 7, 2004

View the source, find the reference to background="..." and load that image.
posted by holloway at 1:43 AM on July 8, 2004

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