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Protect web content

Hi, i need to make a web page where people will be able to log in and read some content. I need to protect that content from downloading, copy/paste and print screen.

My idea is to put all content in MySql database and use PHP to send that content to Flash where it will be displayed. I will disable select text option in flash so that people can't copy/paste. I will put this or similar function in flash
onEnterFrame = function () {System.setClipboard("BAD LUCK");}
to protect from print screen. Also in html I will put javascript clipboardData.clearData(); function for additional protection from print screen.
I will use some SWF protector software to encrypt and protect that flash file so that people can't find url to php file for displaying content.

What do you think, is this enough? What can I do more to protect it? Can some SSL certificate or something help in protecting content?

Thank you for any help!
2 Solutions
Ray PaseurCommented:
Ultimately, if you send digital data to a client machine, it will be able to be copied.  So if you are sending nuclear secrets, you might want to be sure the network is secure ;-)

SSL encryption will surely help protect the data from prying eyes.  But anybody with an old copy of PaintShopPro can capture the screen.  It almost always gets everything.  I guess the question you must answer is "what is the value of the data I am trying to protect?"  And the second question is "can I trust my client community to respect my rights in data?"  If the answer to the first question is "high dollars" and the answer to the second question is, "no" you have a problem the minute you put the data on the web.  That said, there is a lot of value in Apple's iTunes ($,000,000,000) so if you have the copy protection that is used in the music download model, you are probably OK.  Same is true for e-Books, etc.

In addition to any technology you use for this, you will want to be sure that the intellectual property rights are protected by copyright and patent as appropriate.

best of luck with it, ~Ray
mankisAuthor Commented:
In my country copyright means nothing. That's why I'm trying to do everything that I can to protect the data. Apple's iTunes could buy my whole country, so no, my data is not that valuable.

Can you give me more info, how can someone copy text from swf when swf gets text from MySql database and it' protected with encryption?

Also, if I put onRollOver/onRollOut function in flash to check if the focus is no longer on the swf, and to put white paper with copyright text over the content when flash loses focus, will it still be posible to make capture screen with PaintShopPro?
Eric AKA NetminderCommented:
When push comes to shove, there is only one way to keep your content from the possibility of being copied: don't post it on a website. As Ray has noted, if the content can be delivered to my browser, I HAVE a copy of it already, and there's nothing you can do about it; if I'm determined to copy it, then I will be able to do it.

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mankisAuthor Commented:
OK, I give up.
I just hope that you will be able to do it because you are the experts and not because it's easy.
it is a question of who you think is posing the threat.
you don't need your methods against honest people.
you will stop most amateurish opportunits.
you will not stop organized crime or a national agency.

So if, for example, you live in a country where organized crime rips all new music from the web and resells it in bootleg CDs, you will not be able to block them.

if you are scared from the occasional teenage hacker who might download a file to his ipod, then don't worry. it is not worth it.
mankisAuthor Commented:
My content is text and images (images are not important but text is). We have to charge user for viewing so we don't wont that user to be able easily copy/paste or print text so that he doesn't have to come again to the site. Also we don't won't some other website to copy our content and use it for themselves. Of course, user can watch the text and copy it manually, but since I'm the web developer I need to be able to tell my client that I have made everything possible to protect his content.
It would be great if I could find out on this site more about the ways people can steal my content, because than I would be able to do more. But I know that people here can't talk about criminal activites because someone can use them for wrong purposes.
Eric AKA NetminderCommented:

Neither Ray nor I were trying to be harsh, but think about what you're asking.

You have a website. On that page, there is text. If I go to that website, in order for me to read the page, the hosting computer MUST send it to me, or else I can't read it.

Once the hosting computer has sent it -- it is now on my computer. That means I can pretty much do whatever I am capable of doing with it, and there is nothing you can do to stop me short of destroying my computer and hoping I don't remember the URL to the page.

Is it legal or ethical for me to republish your content as my own? Not in the United States. But that doesn't stop people from doing it; the other night, I came across something posted here that was a direct copy and paste from someone else -- who had copied and pasted it illegally from someone else himself. There is no honor among thieves.

Hiding the content behind a payment system will work -- up to a point; it works for the Wall St Journal, for Oracle, and for a few other sites MOST of the time. But it only works because they aggressively pursue copyright violations; otherwise, they are subject to the same problem you're going to have. If I can see it on my computer screen, it is likely I can somehow reproduce it.

mankisAuthor Commented:
don't worry, I don't think that any one of you were harsh. I usually laugh when someone asks me how to protect the content on the internet or CD. I don't think that I can make full protection.  I just need more info on how people do it so that I can make it harder to do it.

For example, how can someone copy text from swf when swf gets text from MySql database and it' protected with encryption? I don't know that, it would be nice to know so that I can make some more improvements.
Eric AKA NetminderCommented:
It depends on how determined someone is to get the information, versus how much difficulty it will be.

If you have data someone REALLY wants... I can type about 75wpm with virtually no errors. If it's just data entry, then what's to stop me?

If you use scripting to stop me from using the normal Print Screen functions, I can block the scripting or use a third-party tool. Yes, they cost me time and money -- but it depends entirely on what the content is as to whether it's worth that to me. But... I'd also suggest that if it's THAT important to your client to protect it, it's probably also THAT important to someone who wants to use it outside the site.

mankisAuthor Commented:
"luckily" people in my country don't have time and money, actually that is the reason why they steal content, because they don't have money to invest and make it by themselves. If i make it hard enough for them so that they have to spend time and money to get the content they will give up.
Eric AKA NetminderCommented:
Well, there's the answer to your question, to a certain degree.

If they have to pay to see the content, then your client is automatically limiting who will see it to who can pay for it. That suggests that there is a market for the information, correct?

If there's a market for it... then there is a black market for it as well (or at least a gray one), which means that SOMEONE will at least try to steal it. At that point, it becomes a question about whether it's worth it to do so.

If the content is only useful to a relatively small population, then it probably won't be worth it (for example, some of Oracle's materials are only useful if you're using an Oracle database -- and Oracle gives you access to it if you're an Oracle customer, so there's no point, really, in copying it).

On the other hand, if the information is useful to a large population, then even in a poor country someone will take the time; after all, if that's all you have, then that's what you spend. Remember, there are lots of poor people in countries all over the world who spend their time sending out emails saying "I need to move $18 million to the US, and I trust you with it" -- and it only takes a few responses to make it worth their while.

That being the case, your tactics of using the technology to keep the data from being copied are prudent -- but it is also prudent for your client to take other measures (such as being aggressive about copyright infringement) to protect it as well.

After all, you're just the site developer. It's still THEIR data.


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