Who is Copying and Pasting Your CC Content? Discover More With Tynt's Tracer Tool

Tynt Logo If you’re one of the couple dozen people who copied text off our blog yesterday, you may have noticed some more text accompany your clipboard when you pasted it — a link to our site and the license (Attribution) we’ve offered our content under. This is because we’ve installed Tynt’s Tracer tool on our blog which uses a bit of javascript wizardry to concatenate attribution and, as of now, particular CC license information to content copied from our site.

If you’re curious about how this works, try selecting some text from anywhere on our blog and pasting it somewhere. Rich text editors (such as most WYSIWYG HTML editors, or Gmail) will preserve the hyperlink but the text will also show up in standard plain text editors as well.

As a creator and contributor to the commons, you have the right to attribution (all six of our licenses require it), so why not make it easy for your audience to automatically provide it?

Setting up and installing Tracer on your own site is easy, just head over to the site, create an account for your domain, select the CC license you’ve released your work under, and add the javascript tags to the footer of your pages. You’ll then be able to see on your Tracer dashboard precisely which text and images are being copied and pasted from your site, and where they are going.

And don’t worry, the extra markup is just text. Nothing about Tynt’s tool forces reusers to do anything, its merely useful additional information providing proper attribution and license notification.

19 thoughts on “Who is Copying and Pasting Your CC Content? Discover More With Tynt's Tracer Tool”

  1. I haven’t decided how I feel about this, upon my first reading. Yes, making it easier for people to attribute your work is cool. Yes, people using your work without attribution is bad. Still, the javascript include seems underhanded; you’re making them copy something that they wouldn’t have copied otherwise. As long as they’re aware it’s happening, cool. If they’re not, then it feels very DRM, very generator oriented, and a user might resent the surprise.

  2. I like it. You’re automating goodness and the right thing. You are generating your preferred attribution.

    I don’t like it. Now my site has to use tynt.com for my attribution to work. And any copying on my site goes to their dashboard.

    I installed it. Cuz automating goodness is good.

  3. Hey James, When you copy something make sure that it’s longer than 7 words … we don’t add a link for items shorter than that. If it still doesn’t work, feel free to contact us at support[at]tynt[dot]com.

  4. Mike,

    I was copying things longer than seven words. Just tried it again, and it still fails. It’s ok by me– I don’t have much of a use case for this. But if you want to chase it down with me, shoot me an email.


  5. After having someone take part of my tutorial and seeing the steps on their blog I was furious!! How do people do something like this without at least linking your site to theirs but I realize that some new people to the blogging world may not know all the rules or steps that we should all follow. I’m thinking of installing the TTT. Thanks for the info. it all helps. jj

  6. This is atrocious. I came across this woeful script reading some hate speech on dailymail.co.uk which also employs this taint. NoScript already flags it up as a potential XSS attempt, even if you have noScript switched to globally allow scripts.

    When I copy and paste text into MY clipboard, I don’t expect it to be arbitrarily altered by a third party. Users may fail to spot that their clipboard has been altered, and will end up posting something they do not endorse if they are not careful.

    How about appending “Approved by the British National Party”? Or inserting spam links? What about code? So tynt tracks what you copy and paste, what else will they track? Regardless of what information is sent to them now, they could easily change their scripts running on THEIR domain to send back anything they like.

    Get AdblockPlus. Block *.tynt.com.


    [NoScript XSS] Sanitised suspicious upload to [http://w1.tcr61.tynt.com/traces/update§DATA§%2FHTML%2FBODY%2FDIV%5B%40id%3D%27globalWrapper%27%5D%2FDIV%5B%40id%3D%27mainContent%27%5D%2FDIV%5B%40id%3D%27contentPrimary%27%5D%2FDIV%5B%40id%3D%27post-16060%27%5D%2FP%2Ftext%28%29] from [http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/16060]: transformed into a download-only GET request

  7. Kudos for this great idea, but unfortunately I cannot get it to work with my platform (Mac OS 10.5.8 and Firefox 3.0.14).

    If I could get this working on Mac/Firefox, I would like to recommend the product to my peers in higher education.

    Please feel free to email me if I can assist you in further testing.

  8. This is a bit late judging by the other comments’ dates, but I’m worried about blog spam. I manage quite a large site and the Tynt dashboard says they’ve already generated thousands of links back to our content.

    My only problem with it is that most of the links are coming from blog posts–i.e., forum users copying my content into their posts and getting the links. Wouldn’t Google consider this blog spam and think we’re spamming every forum we can with a link back to us?

    Please advise

  9. Hi Chad,

    Thank you for your interest in Tynt Insight. Blog Spamming is keyword dense posts with many links just for the purpose of registering links back to sites to enhance Google ranking. In this case users are coming to your site finding something interesting and sharing that content with others through copy/paste behaviour. The link that is generated is rather a reference to the original content and is posted because it is interesting to other readers. This would not be considered malicious behaviour.

    Best Regards,

  10. Love this or hate it, I suspect it’ll end up going the same way as AddToAny’s :visited convenience feature ( http://hacks.mozilla.org/2010/03/privacy-related-changes-coming-to-css-vistited/ )

    Techdirt has pointed out that this technique has plenty of potential for exploits of types similar to the hypothetical ones that prompted Mozilla to default-disable JS-triggered cut/copy/paste in Firefox.


  11. I must say that this is a really nice feature and I will certainly add it to my sites.
    Since there is a heavy load off copy and paste , (stealing) from other sites today, this would be a good way to preserve that you at least get the credit you deserve for your work.

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