How to Copy Text From a Protected Web Page

By Aaron Parson

Some websites use a script to prevent visitors from copying material from the page. These scripts take various forms, such as scripts that prevent highlighting text and scripts that prevent right-clicks. Though put in place to protect the site authors' content, these scripts can also block legitimate uses such as quotation or copying text for a Web search. As a workaround, you can copy text from the page's source or use a script-blocking extension.

Viewing the Page's Source

Most Web browsers allow you to view a website's source -- the code that goes into formatting the site. Even if you don't understand programming, you can find the text you need within the source code. Right-click the page and pick "View Source" in Internet Explorer or "View Page Source" in Firefox or Chrome. If the site blocks right-clicks, you can use the shortcut "Control-U." To help find the text within the code, press "Control-F" to display a search bar and type in a few words of the line you want to copy.

Blocking Scripts

As a more permanent solution, you can install browser extensions that disable scripts, such as NoScript for Firefox or ScriptSafe for Chrome. These extensions can turn off the protection script blocking you, but in general only advanced users should try this solution: Many websites rely heavily on scripts, and blocking them can cause pages to stop working.

Warning

Whether or not a site prevents you from copying material, most text published on the Web is under copyright, even when not explicitly stated. The technical ability to work around scripts and copy text does not give you the legal right to use it beyond the scope of fair use or the author's permission.