How To Prevent Screen Capture

Preventing Screen Capture Is Possible

Preventing screen capture is not as easy as what some make out but it is possible. Most of the products and advice about preventing screen capture on the web are incorrect and misleading. This is because they have not done their homework. Sure, lots of programs claim to prevent screen capture and lots of blogs have been written about how to use Microsoft project code to clear the clipboard. However, none of them provide significant protection that can be reliable and that is because image processing on computers is much more complex than what providers of copy protection will openly admit. On top of this complexity, there are numerous developers that are tirelessly working to undermine and exploit protection methods.

Can JavaScript or Java prevent screen capture?

No. Despite the claims that are made on behalf of HTML encryption software, JavaScript is powerless to prevent Print Screen or screen capture. It is totally useless in preventing screen capture software from doing what it was designed to do. And Java shares the same limitations because both are incapable of performing tasks at system level (by design). Nor will these two programming languages ever be allowed to perform an action limiting the performance of a user's computer functions.

Can JavaScript clear the clipboard?

Yes and no. JavaScript functions client-side on web pages that are being displayed in a web browser and there are many different “flavors” of web browsers. Yes, JavaScript can currently be used to clear the clipboard, while using Internet Explorer. "Currently" means that it may work in the current release of IE, but that can also change as well. For example, the use of JavaScript in most other web browsers causes a security exception that does not allow such an action to be unannounced, giving a user the option to prevent it. A point to note is that while the script action may work in IE, it needs to be repeated continually to have any hope of success. While this may seem like a quick fix, please be aware that it has absolutely no effect on screen capture software and it is only good for the current version of the Internet Explorer. It does not work in other popular browsers like Firefox or Chrome. For IE users, the easiest work around this fix is to turn off JavaScript support in their browser settings.

Can a plugin control the system clipboard?

Yes and no. There are areas of a system that are used to store and retrieve views of the desktop and yes, a plugin can be used to control, clear or even replace those areas with a preset image, but this is not the only area that screen capture operates. For example if you download the source code for a screen capture application and target those areas, you will find that you have just wasted a lot of time and will not be very enthusiastic about wasting any more because while the trail looked warm, you are really no closer. Screen capture software can and does use a variety of system areas and methods to trap an image of the desktop.

Can a plugin prevent screen capture software?

Yes and no. But you are getting closer, and this is where most software developers live because they have realized that they could not control the clipboard and then have resorted to trying to control the apps that might use the clipboard. But before you get confused by an elaboration of how this does or does not work, note that this method does NOT work and is the main reason why there are so many phony protection solutions available today.

To detect that an application might be using the clipboard without the mouse keys is not possible. So at best, you can only try to detect if an application is installed or running. And yes, if you have detected that xyz screen capture software is running, then you can try to shut it down. This is where you will need lots of luck because both Windows security and other malware detection software are going to be popping up warnings all over the place.

So, detecting and attacking a running application might be possible but the only if you know its name. Have you ever seen a copy protection solution advertised as being safe from 2,300 screen capture software? It is so deceptive because there are now 2,300 different screen capture programs available and that software actually has no protection from screen capture other than trying to detect a running application by name. The easiest way to beat such an application—in fact, the easiest way to beat 99% of screen capture protection software -- is to change the name of the screen capture program.

Can screen capture be prevented at all?

Yes. The exploits mentioned above work on all copy protection solutions except CopySafe.


A lot of developers build sophisticated applications, leaving copy protection last. Then, when they get to it, they think that that performing a web search will find a simple solution or an add-on to include in their project. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as that and the solution will depend on your application and target market. It is also possible that it may not be practical at all.

If you persist in trying to create your own solution, one of two things will happen. First is that you may never finish the project, without resorting to methods that will not be secure. Next is that you may never finish your project at all.

A better option is to contact ArtistScope about using a solution that works and contribute something back and protect those who do the ground-breaking research and development.