Protecting your content and bandwidth

Author: Steven Neiland

Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

There are many things to consider when setting up a website. Design, content, seo, security, speed etc etc. One thing that I have noticed which often gets overlooked is the subject of content theft.

Content theft can take two forms, both of which are very unpleasant.

  1. Copyright violation: Either the copying of textual content or copying of media such as images.
  2. Bandwidth theft: Where the resources of a site are used by another without authorization.

Note: I am not a legal expert on copyright violation so I suggest you look elsewhere for advise if you are considering taking legal action over a suspected copyright violation.

Preventing Copyright Theft

While copyright violations are very serious, beyond protecting a site behind a user authentication system there is very little we can do (from a technical standpoint) to prevent someone copying our content. After all the whole purpose of a website is to publish content for public consumption.

There are two forms of copyright violation we can handle on a technical basis. The first type of copyright violation uses framing where another website uses a frame to present your content as their own. This can easily be prevented with a little javascript.

Prevent Framing With Javascript

This little code snippet tells a users browser to break out of any frames it detects. When someone visits a site which is framing your content the javascript will automatically redirect them to your own site. This turns the content thief into a referer. Simple place this code snippet on your pages.

Note: If a user has disabled javascript this technique wont work, but I dont know many users who disable javascript anymore.

<script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript">
if (top.location != self.location) top.location = self.location;

Prevent Image Theft with Watermarking

A watermark is an image overlay which you add to your images declaring it is copyrighted by you. You can do this manually or with an automatic tool. Many modern web scripting languages have this ability. At some later stage I will demonstrate how to do this using coldfusion.

Take care where and how you place the watermark so that it does not negatively affect your legitimate visitors.

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Reader Comments

web design worcester's Gravatar
web design worcester
Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 7:10:44 AM Coordinated Universal Time

nice article, very informative. but maybe you can discuss it further so that everyone could grasp the topic well. thanks for sharing.

web design portsmouth's Gravatar
web design portsmouth
Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 2:37:07 AM Coordinated Universal Time

thanks for sharing...interesting topic.

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