Stuffed pictures

For some reason Stuff have chosen to “protect” their photos by disabling right-clicking. This is a giant leap backwards.

Firstly it makes for an awful browsing experience. I tend to randomly right-click on things as I browse, and the pop-up dialog box is unexpected behavior. It’s behavior that feels like it breaks the internet.

Secondly the pop-up box is modal – it grabs all of the browser attention, and will not go away until it is clicked. If you click a link from another program, say, email, then the page will not load (at least on Safari) until the dialog box is clicked. Try it – it really feels broken.

Thirdly this approach is fundamentally a waste of time for the intended purpose. As the picture above demonstrates it is still trivially easy to copy a photo from a website.

I would strongly question the overall intention of copy protecting the image. I would advocate to the senior Stuffies that they should want Stuff images to be spread around, with a link back of course. People should be able to tweet, email, or share on Facebook links any awesome images they see.

It’s the internet, and so the solution now is to take a screen grab of the photo, place it in another photo repository and share it that way. Stuff will now have no idea or control over the image.

I was motivated to write this post after genuinely hesitating before clicking on the Stuff bookmark just now, recalling this issue. I suspect I am not alone, and also suspect Stuff will soon see an impact in page views versus the NZHerald site.

Fairfax – please reverse this decision.

Published by Lance Wiggs


15 replies on “Stuffed pictures”

  1. The web is open. Attempting to stop a user from accessing open content is absurd. Blocking right-click is one of those stupid ideas from the 90s that shouldn’t be found in modern websites.


  2. Agreed – very last century. If you google “air nz black plane” you can find the image is indexed there at

    Seems very heavy handed – the internet is all about sharing I thought… or is it about owning?


  3. Firefox 9 (at least) has a weird UI feature — right click once, clear the dialog, then do it again and it will ask you if you want to “prevent this page from creating further dialogs”. Check that, and you’re made.

    It annoyed me, and I’m not stealing their content.


  4. I’m using Firefox. I attempted to right-click on an image and got the alert, but when I right-clicked again, the alert produced a checkbox with an option to not receive any further alerts. A third right-click and I can save the image as if nothing had ever happened…. makes it a bit pointless really (not to mention the ‘open web’ issue).


  5. It basically shows the competency of the team behind the Stuff website – this is really something out of the 90s.

    The most annoying thing for me personally is that I am automatically right clicking to ‘open in new tab’ when I get hit with the dialog. Not to save your stupid picture!


  6. One thing I have noticed is if you image search on Google and use site: you can get at the inmage url direct.

    Because Stuff did this I now purposely use their images by this method or by the screen schot method you described.


  7. I used to do that in the early 2000’s when first starting web design. It is very easy to disable as per above. Failing that, you can just do a screengrab. Perhaps they have to be ‘seen’ to be trying to protect their images.


  8. After dismissing the message on FireFox I’m presented with the usual popup context menu which allows me to view the image anyway. What a silly waste of time.

    Equally stupid is Stuff’s decision to remove any controls from their videos. You can’t pause, change the volume or even see how long the clip is. I no longer play any videos on Stuff because of this poor management decision.


  9. You can also use Firebug (a Firefox extension) to browse the markup and easily find the image URL.

    I used to rate Stuff over the NZ Herald when it came to online experience, but this is a big step backwards.


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