Posted by: kurtsh | June 25, 2009

HOWTO: Copy & paste from web sites that disable copy & pasting (a.k.a. HOWTO: Disable pop ups/pop unders on specific web sites)

image Did you ever wish you could copy & paste from that site that prevents you from copying & pasting content from it?  Have you gotten tired of visiting certain favorite web sites and find yourself having to close all those annoying pop ups / pop unders?

The answer is quite simple most of the time: 
Disable Active Scripting. 

Active Scripting is a set of commands that a web site sends to your web browser along with the text/pictures on a web page that instruct it to do certain things.  Among the many things good things that Active Scripting does is enable you to see Flash & Silverlight animations, and interact with rich interfaces.  Unfortunately there are some rather questionable things that Active Scripting also does like:

  • prevent you from copying & pasting from your own web browser.
  • enable all those pop up ads that you see appearing on your screen on certain web sites to appear

If you’re using Internet Explorer 7 or 8, the easiest way to disable Active Scripting for a given site is to simply list the site in Internet Explorer as a “Restricted site”.  This effectively prevents the site from executing any script or plug ins.  It’s rather trivial to simply ‘turn this off’ for SPECIFIC WEB SITES:

  1. Open Internet Explorer 7/8.  Look at the menu bar.
  2. Click TOOLS – INTERNET OPTIONS from the menus.  The Internet Options window will appear.
  3. Click the Security Tab.  You should see a set of Zone icons, including one called “Restricted Sites”.
  4. Click the “Restricted Sites” icon.  The “Sites” button should be enabled now.
  5. Click the “Sites” button.  The Restricted sites windows should appear.
  6. Type the URL of the site you wish to disable Active Scripting on in the “Add this website to the zone” text field. 
  7. Click “Add” button.  The site should be added to your Restricted Sites list.
  8. Click “Close” button.
  9. Click “OK” button.

From here on out, every time you visit that site, pop ups/ pop unders should not occur and you should now be able to copy & paste from the site you disabled Active Scripting on.

One application of this, for example, is to SNOPES.COM which is famous from disabling people’s ability to copy & paste their content.  This makes sense being that they’re in the business of getting clickthroughs based on their content for ad revenue.  The problem is that it’s hard to quote from a source that publishes articles that span 5 pages of content but has no reference bookmarks to refer people to specific passages or paragraphs.

The only way to point to specific content easily is to copy & paste it.  By disabling Active Scripting on SNOPES.COM, it’s easy to copy & paste content.

The obvious problem with doing this is that there’s a lot that won’t work on the site once you’ve prevented scripting from working on it.  Flash won’t work, menus may not function, drag & drop will definitely be disabled, buttons may not function, etc. so be aware that we great power comes great responsibility.  This is something that you probably only want on specific select sites.

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