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'watermarking' html pages

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000022644D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Mar-22
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Mar-22
Document File: 1 page(s) / 34K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

There are many cases today of fraudulent cloned websites. This note suggests the use of watermarks hidden in HTML pages; for example in the whitespace. This will not prevent illegal cloning, but will assist in identification of the cloners.

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'watermarking' html pages

In certain cases html pages are illegally cloned. Sometimes this is (just) a breach of copyright, sometimes an attempt at fraud.

    For example, there is a genuine site http://www.moneybookers.com, and another site http://www.money-bookers.com. It is impossible to prevent such cloning, but can be valuable to detect details about when such cloning happened. This could be done by putting a date/time in or on the page; however this would be obvious to the cloners, and they would remove it from their clone or alter it.

    The source html should be modified at regular intervals in minor (probably imperceptible to any viewer) ways. This would include changing details such as white space (number of blanks, insertion of tabs) or adding and removing unnecessary detail tags and attributes.

    This modification should be performed by the web server; which will keep a history of all such changes made. The modification could be made at every web request, and logged with the requestors (supposed) address. In this case the modification would not be 'saved' over the original, just sent to the requestor. Alternatively, the modification could be made at regular intervals; and logged with a timestamp.

    It would not be impossible for a cloner to detect the pattern of changes by making multiple requests to the same page. It would however be made more difficult.