Viewing blurred content on Scribd without paying

I had an economics assignment due some time back, and those who know me would be aware of my hatred towards HSS courses. I tried finding the solution manual online (shh), and was really happy when I did. But then I realized it was on Scribd, and most of the PDF was blurred!

The last time I came across such a thing, I was in the 10th grade and at that point, I couldn't do anything about it. However this time, powered with some knowledge about the awesome JavaScript (LOL), I decided to unblur the damn page.

After a quick inspection of the HTML code, I realized that Scribd isn't even trying -_- . I saw that Scribd was actually sending the complete document to the client, and not just the two unblurred pages. This is really dumb I believe, because once you send something to the browser, any attempt to keep it secure/inaccessible is futile.

All that had to be done, was change the style of each div which contained a part of the document (yes, Scribd inserts the document as unselectable text in the HTML!!), and increase the opacity of the image and voila, the page is unblurred. The script is in this repository.

// Remove the boxes that say you have to pay to view

// Removing irritating addverts

// Unbluring the text
$('.text_layer').css('text-shadow', '0px 0px 0px');

// Making images darker
$('.text_layer').css('color', '#000');
$('.absimg').css('opacity', '1.0');

The script requires jQuery to work.

I used this script to make a chrome extension Unblur Scribd. Install the extension, and as soon as you come across a blurred Scribd page, just click the extension to view the page.

One thing which I really liked about Scribd was that they load their pages dynamically. As soon as you reach a page x, an AJAX call to load page x + y is made. This saves so much overhead in the beginning when you open the URL, as you're actually loading just two pages of the document! However this makes unblurring the complete document impossible in one go, without loading the complete document first. The extension needs to be clicked every time the user sees a blurred page (that's about once every 5 to 6 pages).

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