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Archived Message:

Idea on preventing copying of images


 
Storyman While working on some CSS pages for a web site it suddenly hit me how to prevent users of ebooks from selecting and copying images. It only works with graphics so if you wanted to use this method with text you'd have to convert it to an image like png or gif.

In CSS you can assign background images to both the body element and the individual boxes defined as ID or CLASS. Backgrounds cannot be selected, but they can be printed.

By using CSS' media type you can turn the background on and off. Taking it a step futher you could swap the background image to print something different than what is displayed. For example, you could have a warning saying that the page cannot be printed.

Carrying it a step further you can allow certain portions of a page to print one thing and another to print something else or nothing at all.

If you wanted you could replace the text with text or an image when someone printed the page. There are a lot of options with this.

Anyway, I'd thought that it might be something that might interest some of you. What you'll need to know is CSS.


Posted on: 3:34 pm on December 23, 2004
EBookCompiler Another idea if you don't mind users being connected to the net:

Put the images on your site

Use an antileech script to protect your images, that will only give out the image if there is some secret code in the URL.

In the SRC= attribute of the image IMG tag, link to the image on your site with the secret code. Example, something like

Old:
[IMG SRC="mypicture.jpg"]

New:
[IMG SRC="http://www.yoursite.com/images/getimage.php?image=mypicture.jpg&secretcode=123456"]

If somebody else wants to use your images:

- They won't know where on your site they are

- Even if they somehow find out, they can't see the secret code if you set HTML Protection in Advanced Security to High.


Posted on: 4:05 pm on December 23, 2004
Storyman Sunil,

Excellent idea.

Using an hybrid of the two ideas solves one of the issues I was facing. There are instances that I want to supply internet quality images with the ebook, but would like to have higher quality images when printed.

The problem was that the higher quality images add to the file size of the ebook. With your solution I can optimize the images to the max for normal display on the monitor and also supply the highest quality image when printing. Beautiful solution.

In regards to displaying text as a graphic file the major problem with this approach is that the text cannot be searched. There are two possible solutions. First, to have the text on a layer beneath the graphic so when there is a hit for a key work it will display the graphic with the text instead of the layer with the actual text. Second, the text could be placed in the alt description, but I'm not sure if there is a way to search the alt descriptions. What do you think?


Posted on: 6:28 pm on December 23, 2004
Storyman Sunil,

One more thought.

What do you think of using CSS to display one set text for unregistered books and another for registered books?  For instance, if the book has not been purchased there could watermark that displays behind the text when viewed and swapped with another layer when printed that darkens the watermark. Of course, this only works if the Active e-Book can tell CSS which CSS Class (or ID) to use.

Can Active e-Book scripting be used to tell CSS which class (or ID) to display or to set the value its value to display:none?


Posted on: 6:37 pm on December 23, 2004
EBookCompiler Make two style sheets, say

stylesheet0.css

stylesheet1.css

Then link that from the pages, with the Activ Variable (can't remember what it's called but it's in the Help) which says whether the user has entered the correct password and the preprocessor

i.e.
stylesheet[={varname}].css

Where varname is the name of this variable whose name I can't remember.


Posted on: 9:21 pm on December 23, 2004
Storyman Sunil,

This should help those who have been looking for ways to prevent Active e-Book users who have been looking for way to control what prints and what is selectable.

I really like your idea about loading up images from the web.

Is there a way to determine if the user's computer has an internet connection? That would then load one stylesheet when there is no connection and another when there is a connection. That way images will be printed either way, but if there is a connection a higher quality image will print.


Posted on: 1:22 am on December 24, 2004
EBookCompiler I did look into that once

From my recollection, which is hazy, I seem to remember that programmatically at the level of the ebook viewer program or API it's not so easy.  The problem is by attempting to test the connection, the program could trigger the dial-up dialog if not connected.

I do also recall seeing a JavaScript to do the test, which might not have this problem (assuming it works at all), but I don't remember where.


Posted on: 3:59 pm on December 24, 2004
KewlKat007 All of those ideas are really good ones.  In fact, I like the idea of the e-book printing a warning image.

Even before I started getting in to e-books, I was always big on security.  I have been researching the matter of protecting HTML coding (rather than searching for "securing e-books".  I find that if you search for securing e-books, you get a ton of "methods" and programs to buy that promise the world.

I have been testing a program that encrypts HTML.  It works well even if you have JavaScript in your coding.  The program is only $14.95.  I am still testing the program out to see how well it works.  So far, though, it is working out just fine.  I think this is what I am going to go with to protect my e-books form being ripped.

BTW, that would be a neat idea to put in a future version of the e-book compiler, a feature that allows you to encrypt your HTML.

(Edited by KewlKat007 at 3:52 pm on Jan. 5, 2005)


Posted on: 3:35 pm on January 30, 2005
Storyman KewlKat007,

Would you mind posting a link to the site. The program sounds interesting.

Thanks...


Posted on: 4:29 pm on January 30, 2005
Storyman Tell me if this is the correct site mmaus.com. The program is Page Lock. The program requires javascript to be enabled, which means it does its magic with the same.

Are you aware that Activ e-Book has the ability to encrypt the pages when the ebook is opened by the user? In fact it has pretty much the same features/benefits as PageLock.  For extra protection it might worth a try to use PageLock.

As for using it for web pages. The main problem is that requires javascript to be enabled in the user's browser. The difficulty with that is that more and more users are turning off javascript because of potential threats of malicious activity. Though, I don't see that as the biggest problem.

The reason for not using the program site wide is that it will absolutely kill your search engine rankings. If the search engines don't see it they won't come--unless you pay for promotion. (Search engines are another reason to avoid javascript--especially javascript links.)


Posted on: 5:31 pm on January 30, 2005
KewlKat007 The program is called HTML-Protector

http://www.html-protector.com/

I have recently tested to see what happens when you copy and paste code from a page. All you can paste is "a."  There is a feature which disables copying to clipboard.

Even though there are methods out there (javascripts) which prevent "right-clicking", I like this because even if people can decompile your e-book, they will not be able to open and edit the pages in an HTML editor.

I have done some research.  After searching for methods to decrypt HTML pages, the first website I clicked on has a feature where you can paste "encrypted" code in to a form and it spits out the unencrypted version.

The code the website produced did have a few extra bits of coding (the coding that the encryption software added), but it still did have the original HTML coding in tact.  The extra coding could, as I see it, be easily added to a program to decryt the files and strip the excess code.

I find the encryption method used is a weak one.  I will continue to search the Internet for a stronger method of encryption of HTML pages.


Posted on: 5:38 pm on January 30, 2005
Storyman KewlKat007,

Okay, you've convinced me. One question. Have you used this with Activ e-Book? Are there any special steps to getting it to work with the compiler?


Posted on: 6:12 pm on January 30, 2005
KewlKat007 Sorry if I do not understand what you are asking exactly.

Do you mean:

"Are there any particular steps needed to have HTML-Protector work with Activ E-Book Compiler?"

or

"Are there any particular steps needed to have teh website decrypt the encrypted code?"

If the first question, then no.  Simply create your HTML pages as you normally would.  Then, open the HTML-Protector program and select the folder (or file) you want to encrypt.  I would select to have it create the enrypted files in another folder.  That way the structure/hierarchy of your e-book will not be affected.

Then, under the "Encryption" feature, I'd select "Protect Whole Page."  The next settings I would check off under "Scripts" would be:

- Disable text highlighting
- Disable clipboard and printscreen
- Disable drag and drop
- Disable Adobe Acrobat web capture
- Break out of frames

If you were referring to the decryption website.  All I done was open the encrypted HTML page in notepad, copy and pasted the code in to the form on the website and it producted the original coding as stated.

I have contacted the company that makes the HTML-Protector program in regards to my findings.  I done so because their website boasts that their software uses "high encryption algorithms", when I found a website that can decrypt the "highly encrypted" coding in a matter of seconds.


Posted on: 6:37 pm on January 30, 2005
Storyman KewlKat007,

Thanks for you quick replie.

My question was directed toward use with Activ e-Book. What does, "Break out of frames" mean?

When the pages are encrypted does it change the file size? It would be nice if it also compresses the page as it encrypts, which would be another reason to use the program.

As for websites, I would avoid its use because of search engines. It really works against getting listed at all.

Finally, have you enabled Activ e-Books high security as well as preventing copying or printing?

(Edited by Storyman at 11:20 am on Jan. 30, 2005)


Posted on: 6:55 pm on January 30, 2005
KewlKat007 In reagrds to use with Activ E-Book, just encrypt your pages and compile your HTML pages in Activ E-Book Compiler as you always have.

In regards to size, there is an increase.  My original test file was 2.38Kb, it's encrypted size was 12.6Kb.

I agree with the use for search engines.  Search engines are some picky programs.  If there's one little thing a search engine can't "compute", your site gets rejected.

Breaking out of frames is a protection feature for use on websites.  Some people will try and steal your content.  To do this, they will create their website using frames.  Instead of using their own content, in the frame coding they will have a referance to your site content (i.e. html page) open up.  Your site content will look as if it is part of their website.  It is the same as leaching images where instead of linking to an image file on your website, you link to the image URL to someone else's website.  Break frames will prevent this.

The breaking frames security feature is nothing new.  It has been around since frames and JavaScripting has existed.  You can find a Javascript to do this funciton on hotscripts.com.  I have seen it in the HTML editor I use (1st Page 2000), which includes a large amount javascripts to use in your website creation.

As I had mentioned, I will be searching for a better encryptiom program.  No sense in paying money for a program that can be decrypted with such ease.  One program I am testing out right now offers qutie a few more features than HTML-Protect and the output file is half that of the HTML-Protect out put file.  Price is twice as much $30.00, but all will be told once I see how strong the encryption is.

In my opinion, encrypting the HTML coding is the best form of protecting your e-books (in conjunction with the e-book compiler encrypting the information too.)


Posted on: 7:30 pm on January 30, 2005
Storyman The $30 program sounds interesting, especially with a smaller file size.  Would you mind providing the web site address?

Posted on: 7:47 pm on January 30, 2005
KewlKat007 Sure.  The $30.00 program is called HTML Encrypt Pro.  The website ishttp://www.mtopsoft.com

Please don't open your wallet yet.  I have started downloading and installing these programs about a few minutes ago.  I have tried out three of them (including the above-mentioned one).  Of the three, two of them have weak encryption.  Of the three, two of them I have been able to copy the encrypted source, paste it on the previouly commented about website and have it easily decrpted.

However, HTML Encrypt Pro is the one of the three that has produced an encrypted code which has not been able to be decrypted by the simple copy and paste method I have mentioned.

(Edited by KewlKat007 at 7:58 pm on Jan. 5, 2005)


Posted on: 7:56 pm on January 30, 2005
Storyman KewlKat007,

Your research is greatly appreciated. Please post your conclusions.

The thing that makes HTML Encrypt Pro appealing is that they at least address the issue of SEO. Also, they have a nifty way to protect external CSS files.


Posted on: 8:29 pm on January 30, 2005
Alaska  No matter how sophisticated an encryption scheme you employ, if it can be seen within a browser, it has already been been unencrypted.

 One can readily view the results of HTML Encrypt Pro just as easily as WebLock, or a dozen other promised applications.  Try View Source in Opera, or WebTools' View Source.

 Your're better off using the Activ settings - you can already disable the print and copy/paste functionality within the generated ebook.

 The HTML Files in Activ can be set to High Security, where they are encrypted while the e-book is running.

 Or, for selective protection, use some of the Activ and server-side techniques Sunil and others mentioned, like pointing to pictures from the server along with a secret handshake... and save your money!


Posted on: 6:08 pm on February 1, 2005
KewlKat007 I agree in the sense that if can be viewed in a browser, then the source can be decrypted.

However, I had planned to implement the encryption for my e-books.  I find it would add an additional deterent.  Needless to say, a determined cracker will figure a way to bypass any security you implement.

In regards to Opera, you can also click "View Source" in Netscape/Firefox and Internet Explorer (no need for right clicking).  In all of the programs I have looked over, they have a feature which disables the viewing of the files in Opera.

In any case, I find that using the strong encryption scheme (uses the Blowfish algorithm) will make it harder for the cracker to break.  One program I am looking in to gives you the option of doing so.


Posted on: 6:29 pm on February 1, 2005
Alaska  Sounds good - whatever works!

 I've been looking at them for a while, and have yet to find one that survives two clicks, including the one mentioned in this thread.  Let us know what you settle on, would you?  I'm curious!


Posted on: 1:13 am on February 2, 2005
KewlKat007 I most certainly will.  I have noticed a couple of them that charge $20.00+ do not even encrypt.  They do nothing more than use "URL-encoding".  They claim on the website to use "high encryption", but URL-encoding is not what I call true encryption.

If one would take plain ACII text such as this, then convert it to binary or HEX, and then claim they "encrypted" it, you would have the same thing as many of the so-called encryption shcemes.  For those not familiar with what I am saying, basically, URL-encoding is just another format such as binary (nothing but zeros and ones).

I am testing out about 20+ of these programs and will create a table showing which ones are worth it as well as their features.


Posted on: 4:46 am on February 2, 2005

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