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IMDb is evil - Arvind Narayanan's journal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

IMDb is evil [Dec. 16th, 2005|07:10 pm]
Arvind Narayanan
IMDb appears to use stupid tricks to try to prevent you from copying images from the site, like making the actual image a table background and using a transparent gif as the table content so that if you right click on it, you will get a context menu for the overlaying transparent image.

Like so:

<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" background=
"http://i.imdb.com/Photos/Ss/0380599/OT028.jpg" class="photosrc"><td><
img src="http://i.imdb.com/mptv1.gif" border="0" width="485" height="323"></td>

Here OT028.jpg is the actual content and mptv1.gif is a transparent image.

Like so many other copy protection methods, this one is great for preventing fair use because the average person is not clueful enough to figure it out; on the other hand it does nothing to deter a genuine attacker intending to violate copyright.

Evil, or just plain stupid?

[User Picture]From: koyaanisqatsi
2005-12-16 11:27 am (UTC)
False binary? My vote is it's both evil and stupid.

I've been hoodwinked by that transparent gif trick before. Annoying. "Print screen" usually grabs the background, if visiting the source image directly is prevented. Still, would most people know that? No.
(Reply) (Thread)
From: sandipb
2005-12-16 04:18 pm (UTC)

Maybe it is intended

Having the picture as the background is a great way to crop it to a known dimension - simply specify the dimension of the table. Maybe imdb is using this trick to accommodate different types of poster image ratios.

(Reply) (Thread)
From: (Anonymous)
2006-02-27 03:26 am (UTC)

Re: Maybe it is intended

no that's retarded you can specify the image size in the img tag
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: sandipb
2006-02-27 04:17 am (UTC)

Re: Maybe it is intended

no that's retarded you can specify the image size in the img tag

For that the image size/ratio have to be the same. Obviously, not all movie posters follow this.
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