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Disabling right-click on your site

Many webmasters wish to somehow prevent visitors to their site from saving the material presented on their site. This may be for several reasons: (1) to prevent others from stealing the material and using it for personal gain (ie, make money from it), or (2) to charge users for viewing the material.

However, it is virtually impossible to prevent viewers from saving the material on your web pages. People can right-click on the graphics to save them. Text can be highlighted and copied. The entire page can be saved, edited and viewed. Graphics and multimedia files can be picked out of the browser cache. The source code of any page can be viewed. And so on.

Therefore, most webmasters don't bother trying to prevent viewers from saving the material.

For a couple of interesting articles about this issue, see:

For more info on how to do this, see:

Why you should not bother to disable right-click:

  • it's annoying to have functionality removed when you are using a computer, even if you have no intention whatsoever to steal someone's material
  • it is disabling - there are a lot of functions available via right-click in a browser, and disabling right click removes ALL of them
  • it is pointless - if someone really wants to steal your stuff, they can do it anyway: they can obtain graphics from their browser cache, view the source of the page, grab a graphic screen capture of the page, and so on
  • it's unprofessional
  • it's insulting in that it implies you don't trust the visitors

However, should you wish to pursue disabling right-click, there are a couple of methods that can be done to make things more difficult for visitors who want to save your web pages or graphics.

One of these is to disable the right-click capability of the viewer. This can be done in two ways: (1) using Javascript, and (2) using parameters in the <body> tag.


The <body> tag method

This is real easy: simply use the following in your body tag:

<body  oncontextmenu="return false"  onselectstart="return false">

The first part, oncontextmenu="return false",  removes the ability of the viewer to click-and-drag in order to highlight and select text.
The second part, onselectstart="return false", removes the right-click menu from the page.

BUT ... you knew there had to be a "but", right? ... this only works for Internet Explorer. Firefox, Netscape and others are immune to this trick. And of course the visitor can still save the whole page, view your graphics in their browser cache, etc.


The Javascript method

Just do a search for "disable right click" and you'll find plenty of samples to adapt to your own uses. Some work, some don't. Some are more complex than others. In all the examples I have looked at, a message box pos up, which could be very annoying to visitors. Sorry, I don't outline this method here, as I have never done it. The <body> tag method is much simpler.

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