Why Can't I Copy Material from Snopes?

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Why Can't I Copy Material from Snopes?

Post by rogerwimmer » Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:32 am

Doc: I have been reading your column for many years, so I am well aware of your strong negative attitude about people stealing information from other people (plagiarism). Just so you know, when I do write something and take material from other people, I always give credit where credit is due and provide a complete reference for the original material.

I frequently use material from your column, The Research Doctor Archive, and Snopes. I don't have any problems copying and pasting information from your two sources, but I can't copy and paste information from Snopes.com. Nothing happens when I left-click my mouse and drag it across the information I want to copy.

Do you know why I can't copy information from Snopes.com? Is there a way around that? Thanks in advance. - Anonymous


Anon: I'm glad you mentioned my "strong negative attitude" toward stealing information. Now I won't have to say anything about that. On to your question . . .

The reason you can't copy information from Snopes.com is that the website includes Javascript that won't allow you to "click and drag." I'm sure the owners of the site do this so people who want to use their information must use a link to the information so Snopes.com will get more hits to the website. Clever, eh?

It may be clever, but it's a pain in the neck, and if you search the Internet, you'll see that there are many complaints about this annoyance. However, there are at least two ways around this "protective" item.

When you get to the page with the information you want to copy for your own use, type (or copy) this line into your address bar and hit the RETURN key:

javascript:void(document.onselectstart=null)

This line "overrides" the Javascript in the Snopes.com source code. I haven't tested this in all browsers, but I do know it works in Internet Explorer. The line will not work in Firefox. However, you can get the same result if you use the Firefox Add-on called NoScript.

2. If you can't get that procedure to work, then when you get to the page with the information you want to copy, hit Ctrl a to highlight the entire page, then Ctrl c to copy the page. Go to your word processor and hit Ctrl v to paste the information. You'll have a bunch of unnecessary information on the page that you'll have to delete, but at least you'll have what you need.

Let me know if you have any problems.

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Roger Wimmer is owner of Wimmer Research and senior author of Mass Media Research: An Introduction, 10th Edition.

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