How to Copy and Select Text from Snopes.com

   Posted by David Kirk in Browsers

I really like Snopes. I really do. However, they use a stupid javascript command to prevent people from selecting and copying the text on their web pages. Here is how to defeat their defenses.

Now, I really despise people that steal tech-recipes material by copying and pasting into their websites. This confuses google and steals traffic away from us. However, to break a basic part of the web to stop this is inexcusable. Shame on Snopes. Shame.

Snopes uses a little bit of javascript to prevent people from selecting text on their website. If you can not select it, you cannot copy it. Snopes does this so people will have to send the URL to the page instead of just copying and pasting the text. Breaking part of the web browsing experience just to make a buck is poor form.

To override the evil of snopes, just past the following into the address bar of your browser and press ENTER:

javascript:void(document.onselectstart=null)

After doing this, you can select text and copy until your heart is content.

snopes select text

Wouldn’t it be funny if somebody started an email about the evilness of snopes breaking the rules of friendly web browsing? Then snopes would have to respond to their own “urban legend.” I say it is TRUE! :)

 

About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

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62 Responses to “How to Copy and Select Text from Snopes.com”

  1. November 29, 2008 at 11:02 pm, AlanB said:

    Neither the JS code from the article nor JSView seem to do anything for me.

    Reply

  2. November 29, 2008 at 8:25 pm, RichardFrisch said:

    You can also add the JSView Firefox add-on and then click on the JS icon in the right-side of the status bar to turn off the JavaScript on any page.

    Reply

  3. November 30, 2008 at 11:30 am, Anonymous said:

    I was going to say something similar – NoScript for Firefox does the trick for me. Just ensure that scripts aren’t allowed for Snopes.com and it works a treat.

    Reply

  4. November 30, 2008 at 5:00 pm, AlanB said:

    NoScript is the only thing that actually works. If you read the scripts on the Snopes site you will understand why.

    Reply

    • April 30, 2013 at 8:59 am, Cap. Obvious said:

      > Works brilliantly in Opera, you don’t need any extensions. Just edit site preferences, and uncheck Javascript. :D

      Reply

  5. December 03, 2008 at 12:12 pm, Art said:

    Great tip – Snopes has always been difficult to copy – if you have Vista, the Snipping Tool will do just fine, too. I find the Snipping Tool invaluable.

    Reply

  6. December 03, 2008 at 3:28 pm, CW said:

    Not working for me in Camino.
    Works in Safari. Does anyone know why this doesn’t work in Camino?

    Reply

  7. December 03, 2008 at 5:13 pm, SteveS said:

    I don’t get it – you despise those who steal from you… “Now, I really despise people that steal tech-recipes material by copying and pasting into their websites” yet you have no problem showing others how to steal from Snopes? Doesn’t really matter if people aren’t copying that content to be used as their own to profit from, you’re bypassing their site which could affect them negatively should they decide to want to allow advertising on it someday.

    “Breaking part of the web browsing experience just to make a buck”? Where are they making a buck here? I don’t see any advertising on their site, and even if there were, I’d say they’ve got every right to cover their hosting costs and make a few bucks on the side if possible.

    I’d agree that most javascripts to block copying are pretty silly, but can’t fault them for doing this especially with people so eager to copy their content.

    Reply

  8. December 03, 2008 at 5:57 pm, Lynne said:

    Yep, I tried JSView and the browser entry…but had to go to use the NoScript Firefox add-on to get it to work as well.

    Reply

  9. December 09, 2008 at 7:13 pm, Prakash said:

    I tried what you recommended. It did not work in Firefox 3.0.4

    There is a simpler method. Juct convert the page to a pdf doc. Then cut and paste from there.

    Reply

    • January 20, 2009 at 5:11 pm, Don said:

      USE A BOOKMARKLET
      In Google Chrome of Windows XP I created a new page on the bookmark bar (right click on the bar) named “Void Script”. Then I added the script in place of a URL. When on a page thats is blocked I just click on the bookmarkelt.

      GREAT WITH GOOGLE NOTES
      When researching a topic, Google Notes is great–like a bookmark with sampled text and images added. But it requires highlighting the text & images. Now I can use it on more sites

      Reply

      • September 08, 2010 at 6:54 pm, Mark said:

        The bookmarklet idea works great! This way I don’t have to remember the javascript code.

        Props to you!

        Reply

    • July 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm, Ed said:

      > Another simple method, at least in Chrome, is to give the Print command to the page. You can then select and copy from the print preview.

      Reply

      • September 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm, MizzWycked said:

        >YOU are a genius!! This is the ONLY solution that worked for me. Thanks bunches!!

        Reply

  10. March 04, 2009 at 3:00 pm, joyce Routman said:

    how can I send information to SNOPES when I don’t have a proper address???

    Reply

  11. March 17, 2009 at 3:23 am, Sean said:

    Thanks! This works great in IE but not in Firefox. This is definitely poor form for snopes. Not allowing people to copy article text just results in people spending time figuring out how to work around the problem rather than causing them to only send a link. Besides, I like to include key paragraphs from snopes (in addition to the link) when I reply to the ridiculous chain emails I get so as to summarize the info for the people who clearly don’t do much reading and reasoning on their own.

    Reply

  12. May 15, 2009 at 3:06 am, Anonymous said:

    It is bad form. I have a standard sort of format when I respond to people who send me these Urban Legends and whatnot. I offer a link to my primary or most representative source for refuting the claim, and then usually a little snippet of text for those too lazy to follow the link. Basically Snopes breaks my ability to quote them, which makes it more likely I’ll go with a Wikipedia link and quote, so why do they do it?

    Reply

  13. May 22, 2009 at 1:19 pm, maxappet1te said:

    firefox 3.0.8

    I only ctrl + a ; copy + paste then edit

    no problems with snopes, don’t know about others

    – maxappet1te

    Reply

  14. May 25, 2009 at 5:55 pm, adoxa said:

    Tried your advice many times (in Firefox) and it does not help one iota. What am I doing wrong??

    I use this in the browser as suggested. Snopes will not budge.
    javascript:void(document.onselectstart=null)

    Reply

  15. June 26, 2009 at 10:52 pm, Kelly said:

    Excellent tip! But the onselectstart event is only supported in IE. For Firefox or other “A-Grade” browsers, use onmousedown like this:

    javascript:void(document.onmousedown=null)

    Probably should update the original post to reflect, since it seems like I wasn’t the only person who tried the instructions and found they didn’t work. Haven’t you heard? IE is an endangered species!

    Reply

    • June 26, 2009 at 10:54 pm, Kelly said:

      Also, you can drag this URL into your link bar or make a bookmark with this location, to quickly perform this action on any (snopes) page. Probably will also work with pages that disable right-clicking, so it may be a useful “bookmarklet” … thanks again!

      Reply

  16. September 06, 2009 at 12:50 pm, ChrisC said:

    Thanks for the great tip, as others have said, I always like to include relevant text with a link in emails for anyone who can’t be bothered to click through to the page itself. They may not realise it, but small actions such as this make myself (and I’m sure others) less likely to use them in the future.

    In searching for a way round the block, I also found another JavaScript hack, http://javascript.internet.com/page-details/disable-text-selection.html unfortunately this code doesn’t get round that, anyone know how to hack it?

    Thanks again.

    Reply

  17. November 01, 2009 at 3:00 am, Betty said:

    Thanks for your info. You have a small typo error on this page – past instead of paste.
    “To override the evil of snopes, just past the following into the address bar of your browser and press ENTER:”

    I used & recommended your site often when I worked as a technology specialist in a school system. I use it more now for personal use. Thanks for all of your hard work and worthwhile information.

    Reply

  18. February 11, 2010 at 5:56 pm, Don Juan said:

    Go to TOOLs in the menu bar and select Disable Java Scripts and then refresh the screen.

    Reply

  19. March 03, 2010 at 4:15 pm, Bobby said:

    Thanks for the tip. This works GREAT. I love the idea that people familiar with this techy stuff, pass it on and educate others. Snopes still gets its advertising across to anyone visiting their site and I can copy a little stinking portion of the text if I choose.

    Reply

  20. March 28, 2010 at 9:09 am, Anonymous said:

    Thank you. It’s ridiculous that you can’t pick up a simple quote, a quote they don’t even own, because they’re trying to direct more traffic to their page. Shame on them.

    Reply

  21. May 14, 2010 at 5:30 pm, Chad said:

    View Source, done.

    Reply

  22. June 07, 2010 at 3:18 pm, hal said:

    Thanks for this… very helpful. And coincidently I was trying to copy the very text you used in your screenshot- i find that hilarious.

    Reply

  23. June 09, 2010 at 4:14 pm, jonny rocket said:

    doesn’t work.

    Reply

  24. August 01, 2010 at 5:10 am, Edwin said:

    s w e e t

    Reply

  25. August 01, 2010 at 5:10 am, Edwin said:

    s w e e t

    Reply

  26. August 10, 2010 at 2:42 pm, Tim Maly said:

    This rules.

    Reply

  27. August 18, 2010 at 4:44 am, Dodger said:

    document.onmousedown=null

    Reply

  28. October 17, 2010 at 7:43 pm, Eddie11a said:

    This worked for me. Thank you! Some people won’t click on links so the ability to copy/paste is great.

    Reply

  29. November 23, 2010 at 4:56 pm, Guest said:

    Whatever isn’t nailed down is mine. Whatever I can pry loose isn’t nailed down.

    Reply

  30. December 10, 2010 at 9:36 pm, Bluechips said:

    Worked for me

    Reply

  31. December 16, 2010 at 4:41 am, Joey said:

    What was posted didn’t work for me but I changed it to “document.onmousedown=null” and it did. I am less annoyed by the inability to select text than I am with the fact that the green and red circles they use to represent truth and lies are too similar for someone with red-green color blindness

    Reply

  32. December 23, 2010 at 5:22 pm, Mark Wilson said:

    I didn’t need to copy anything there, but I constantly “select/ right-click/ search” when I’m browsing. Thanks for the tip!

    Reply

  33. January 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm, Yet Another Blogger said:

    Thanks.

    Cutting’n'pasting a snippet for a fair use quote is not stealing. I doubt that this slows down the ne’er-do-wells.

    Reply

  34. February 17, 2011 at 5:09 pm, Anonymous said:

    Works for me on my aging Mac. So sorry it’s taken me this long to search and discover a solution for this problem!

    Reply

  35. April 16, 2011 at 7:56 am, SteveC said:

    I’m using Windows Vista and Firefox 3.6. In the Menu Bar, go to Tools–>Options…–>Content (tab)–>uncheck Enable JavaScript. You can now copy and paste to your heart’s content.

    Reply

  36. June 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm, Queen of Bellrock said:

    Isn’t it nice that snopes provides a work-around for those with colorblindness, and it’s right in their FAQ: http://www.snopes.com/info/faq.asp#colors

    But if you disable Java to “borrow” their copyrighted content, you also disable the colorblindness work-around.

    Reply

  37. June 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm, Guadasol said:

    Thanks a lot. It worked with google chrome. 

    Reply

  38. June 29, 2011 at 10:33 pm, Mc42angel said:

    Pasting javascript:void(document.onselectstart=null) into address bar and selectin “enter” did not work for me

    Reply

  39. August 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm, Jim Willittes said:

    I have been using the command “javascript:void(document.onselectstart=null)” by copying and pasting it into the browsers of IE and Chome. Recently It stopped working so I looked at the command after I pasted it. It was missing “javascript:” at the beginning. I couldn’t get either browser to show the complete command after pasting so I manually typed in “javascript:” and it worked. Quotation marks in this post are not part of the needed command. Leave them out.

    Reply

  40. September 06, 2011 at 4:52 pm, FF 6.01 said:

    With Firefox 6, CTRL+A works fine, as does disabling javascript from tools/options/content.

    However, none of the javascript commands themselves seemed to work for me. I even tried them in an IE tab to see if that might magically work.

    Reply

  41. September 24, 2011 at 6:41 pm, Lenoxus said:

    One good reason for Snopes to do this is so that if you see an email/forum post with a “real excerpt from the Snopes page that PROVES thus-and-such” then you can know it probably isn’t an excerpt, because copying is difficult. (And will therefore take the trouble to go to the page yourself.)

    On the other hand, the problem is that most people don’t know this about Snopes, and therefore dishonest folks, playing off people’s laziness, have an advantage over honest ones.

    Reply

  42. January 05, 2012 at 2:59 pm, Cindy Cara said:

    A good reason for this is that Snopes might update their site (they don’t want old stuff out there) or words may be taken out of context and may misprepresent their point.
    I always include a link to a page I quote – if not my usual recipients, I write “Always click here for the latest information”.

    Reply

  43. February 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm, Gigi said:

    javascript:void(document.onmousedown=null)

    This worked for me on IE8.

    It’s ridiculous that some sites want to prevent visitors from copying their precious text.

    Reply

    • May 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm, Shivam Semwal said:

      If u are using Firefox this might work for u
      run this command in Firebug console
      document.body.style.MozUserSelect=”";

      Reply

  44. April 22, 2012 at 4:57 am, Rondo Hunter said:

    Apparently this does not work with Windows XP/Google Chrome. At least it would not when I just tried it. Snopes gave the reply “Sorry, no matches were found containing javascript:void(document.onselectstart=null).” My italics, but the strange thing is that I copy/paste that sentence from Snopes. Still, as I read elsewhere you can right-click on the article you want, click View Page Source, and from there copy all you want. I will look for add-on’s that disable javascript as I’m sure something like that is available.

    Reply

  45. August 11, 2012 at 12:43 pm, PT Cruiser said:

    Snopes should report this java script thing as an urban legend. all it does is close the Web page. At least I hope that’s all it does.

    Reply

  46. August 21, 2012 at 8:13 pm, Mike said:

    Get firebug add on
    Run these lines in the console.

    document.onmousedown=null
    document.onmouseup=null
    document.oncontextmenu=null

    Problem solved.

    Reply

  47. August 25, 2012 at 5:50 pm, Coradon said:

    Easier to do it in chrome. Simply select Settings>>>>Advanced Settings>>>>Content Settings
    Then under Javascript select Manage Exceptions and add Snope.com to the list and click Block then Ok.
    All sub-pages will also now allow copy/paste. And it’s permanent till you turn it off.

    Reply

  48. December 02, 2012 at 10:43 pm, Madison said:

    You could also try to right-click on the page, then select SAVE PAGE AS and then save it as a text file. Then you just copy the info you need but sometimes it doesn’t work.

    Reply

    • March 08, 2013 at 5:53 pm, Nigel said:

      Thanks .. saving as a text file was the perfect answer! Problem solved ….

      Reply

  49. January 04, 2013 at 3:35 pm, juandos said:

    This: javascript:void(document.onselectstart=null) NO LONGER WORKS…

    It just causes the Snopes page to default to the search engine of choice…

    Reply

  50. March 08, 2013 at 5:49 pm, Nigel said:

    Nice advice, but alas it does not work for me .. using Win XP :(

    Reply

  51. July 01, 2013 at 8:54 am, Christina said:

    Code does not work with Firefox/Mozilla

    Reply

  52. July 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm, Molly Schechter said:

    THANK YOU!!!!!

    Reply

  53. July 31, 2013 at 11:11 am, david said:

    Great Thanks! Worked for Chrome with windows 7

    Reply

  54. September 13, 2013 at 5:32 pm, Ross Presser said:

    I’m here to report this DOES work in Chrome 29.

    The thing you have to be careful about is that if you copy the link to your clipboard and then paste in the addressbar, the “javascript:” leader is removed. You must retype it yourself.

    This works splendidly as a bookmarklet, too. Select the text in the article above and drag it to your bookmark bar. Then rename the resulting bookmark “Snopes enable copy” or whatever. When you’re viewing a snopes page, click the bookmarklet, and voila: copying enabled.

    Reply

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