How To Disable Copy-and-Paste Hijacking Websites

Ever copied and pasted text from various websites and find some extra text in your clipboard that wasn’t included in the text you selected. Here’s how to stop this annoying (and privacy-invading) behaviour.

Recently, a company called Tynt has been providing a service to sites that allows them to force automatically add citations to any text copied and pasted from their site. You an find Tynt’s dirty work on The New Yorker (as seen on this page) and on other publications like Wired, Sports Illustrated and Politico. If you try to copy any text from The New Yorker, for example, the pasted output will look like this (notice the citation at the end, which wasn’t in the text I selected and copied):

Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, may be among the world’s most vilified chemicals. The compound, used in manufacturing polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins, is found in plastic goggles, face shields, and helmets; baby bottles; protective coatings inside metal food containers; and composites and sealants used in dentistry.

Read more:

This can be pretty annoying if you’re just copying the text for your own purposes, and even more annoying if you would cite the text, since everyone almost certainly has their own style that they prefer (or have to) follow — not to mention the security and privacy concerns that come with Tynt sending tracking information to their servers without your consent.

Rants about the service aside, there are a few easy ways to disable Tynt’s heavy-handed service. The simplest for Google Chrome users is Tynt Blocker, a simple extension that alerts you the first time you visit a Tynt-enabled site and asks you if you want to block the script.

The geekier-but-more-broadly-effective solution, courtesy of John Gruber over at Daring Fireball, is to edit your /etc/hosts file to block access to Tynt’s server. Follow those directions to locate your host file (Windows Vista and 7 users will find their host file in the same place as in Windows XP), open it in a text editor, and add this line to the end of it:

Save the file and quit. From now on, Tynt’s clipboard-invasion tactics should no longer work. Hit the Daring Fireball post for more information on Tynt’s service, and let us know what you think of it (and the above fixes) in the comments.

Tynt, the Copy/Paste Jerks [Daring Fireball]

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