Support » Plugins » [Plugin: Houdini] Plugin is useless

  • dgw


    I just read through the source code of the plugin. JavaScript? JavaScript is your “magic” solution to copying on the Internet? JavaScript won’t do squat. The majority of copying is done by automated computer programs that won’t give the code a second look; they’ll just ignore it and copy the content anyway.

    A blog post about this will be published by the end of the week. I plan to start writing tomorrow.

    JavaScript… *shakes head*

Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
  • This is not true! As the description says, as a visitor selects the text on the page, the text will be auto unselected and Ctrl-C does not copy anything. Verified prior to post!

    Thanks for concern and comment?

    It indeed won’t work, most websites that copy content have it automated by using either php fetching the page or php fetching the rss feed, Javascript won’t do anything.

    @phkcorp2005 It is true, because even though the text may vanish when highlighted in the web browser, there are other ways to download a page that completely bypass the script. JavaScript isn’t meant to be always available. JavaScript can even be turned off in your browser so no scripts are run. There are many ways to circumvent this type of protection.

    Try this eccentric situation. Take someone with a photographic memory and show them your “copy protected” page. No highlighting will be done but the person with the photographic memory has already stolen your page. It’s not possible to have content that can be viewed in a browser, but not copied. By the time it’s been viewed in a browser, it’s already been copied because you have to download a webpage to view it in a browser.

    I wrote a little rant on it at if you want more information about this.

    Houdini acts as a deterent. There is more work involved to view a cached web page, then just copy and paste. What is the percentage of the population with a photographic memory?

    Thanks for your comments and Keep them coming?

    Not really. Viewing a cached page is fairly easy and if a plagiarist really wants to steal your content, they’ll take the five minutes out and find the cached page. Or, they could download the webpage using wget or any other program that downloads webpages and view the source that way. There are a million ways to circumvent this.

    Also, the photographic memory was an extreme example, but there’s another example like that that you’ll probably find more convincing: the Print Screen button. If you press the Print Screen button, you immediately have a picture of the entire screen, no copy/pasting required. Like this:

    If you would like, I will personally write a screen scraper program like the ones content thieves use to download content illegally and you can enter a Houdini-protected URL into it and it will circumvent the copy protection, thus proving that this plugin is useless.

    Your are very knowledgeable. If someone is really determined to steal your content, no security program will stop them. Houdini deters the theft and does not prevent theft as claimed, and thus is not useless. However, I welcome the challenge to make Houdini better with the Screen scraper program.

    Thanks for your comment.
    Keep the oomments coming?



    For what it’s worth, I put together a blog post of my own (complete with a humorous graphic) that will become available 2010-01-30T16:00:00 (UTC) at

    It wouldn’t actually be that difficult to write a screen scraper for a Houdini-protected page because we have intrinsic knowledge about the site: it runs WordPress. Please wait while I go write my scraper. *writes*

    Okay, I’m back. The scraper was not too difficult to write, but because I am not intent on stealing your content (just on proving a point), I didn’t spend too much time on it and it’s not guaranteed to always work. However, you can try it here: Hatkirby’s Screen Scraper. I’m not certain how the screen scraper makes Houdini “better”, though.

    The disappearance feature only works with IE. Using Firefox, Safari, and Chrome, when more than 250 characters are selected, the selected text automatically is deselected. This is still an annoyance toc oontent stealers when they do not expect this feature! An update is forthcoming for the Admin to assign the number of selected characters before the text is deselected.

    Thanks for your comments.
    Keep the comments coming!

    Okay, I’m sorry, I just realized that my screen scraping program won’t work because my server doesn’t allow outbound connections to most sites. I could put it up for download, though, and you could run it on your own server.

    If anyone’s still interested, I put up the source code to my scraper here: . To run it, rename it to “antihoudini.php” and upload it to the root of a PHP-enabled web server. You can delete it once you’ve tried it.

    Thanks to this blog, addresses a few browser security breaches. Houdini addresses these breaches beginning in version 1.3

    A method to combat screen scrapers would be to transform/render the static text into images, similar process as some captcha images are rendered.

Viewing 14 replies - 1 through 14 (of 14 total)
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