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Software with Copy/Paste disabled…any way to bypass the restriction?

Posted on 2015-01-18
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Last Modified: 2015-01-29
Dear Experts,

I am using an application that does not allow copying of text from within a textbox.

Is there any way to copy text from such a textbox so that it can be pasted into another application?

Thanks!
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Question by:ttobin333
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LVL 54

Accepted Solution

by:
McKnife earned 300 total points
ID: 40556795
A quick workaround that ain't too bad would be to do  a screenshot and use OCR software on it. Microsoft OneNote (part of office) can do that and in seconds you have your text - the recognition varies from 100% to rather poor results on text, depending on the picture and font.

A real solution would require to analyze how that protection is done and to break it, which does not sound too legal.
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 40556829
Have you tried Ctrl-C to copy? Sometimes that works where Edit Copy does not.

However, what is noted above is important. It may simply be that what you are trying to do is not legal. You would have to advise us on that.
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Author Comment

by:ttobin333
ID: 40556903
Nothing illegal and no intention to hack the software.  Just looking for methods that can bypass such restrictions.

Ctrl-copy disabled.
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:ThomasMcA2
ID: 40556908
Highlight/select the text, then right-click. Sometimes that works even when Ctrl-C is disabled.
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LVL 54

Assisted Solution

by:McKnife
McKnife earned 300 total points
ID: 40557178
ttobin333, I would not in any way suspect you to do something illegal, no. It's just that we don't know your application and therefore it seems possible that it's an application that protects content intentionally - if that were so, providing a way would be illegal. If not, so it is an application that simply does not provide the commodity of copying for no apparent reason, then you will have to ask the manufacturer or try the workarounds you were given (and give feedback).
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LVL 69

Assisted Solution

by:Qlemo
Qlemo earned 200 total points
ID: 40557221
In theory you can search for the corresponding control's window handle, and try to access via that. Tedious...
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Author Comment

by:ttobin333
ID: 40559115
Thanks guys, you may have guessed already, but I am actually the author of the software and my intention was to make sure it is well protected. I apologize, I should have been more direct in my explanation.

All of the standard Windows copy/cut operations are intercepted in the code.

Any suggestions on protecting from the OCR on a screenshot workaround? Can screenshot operation can be detected programmatically?
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LVL 54

Assisted Solution

by:McKnife
McKnife earned 300 total points
ID: 40559159
Screenshots might be interceptable but that would be a desktop-wide restriction, so it wouldn't work on any window while your program is running. And I have never seen anyone try.
There's also still the problem with real cameras.
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LVL 69

Assisted Solution

by:Qlemo
Qlemo earned 200 total points
ID: 40559246
OCR software can be fooled by graphics only, like in good Captcha. You have no control over external  devices like Smartphones, and those are very likely to get used if someone is really interested in copying content.
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Author Closing Comment

by:ttobin333
ID: 40578833
Thanks, guys!
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