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Definition Edit

CAPTCHA is a contrived acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.” It is

a computer security program . . . that is designed to distinguish between human users and computer programs, and thereby prevent purchasers from using automated devices to purchase tickets.[1]

Overview Edit

CAPTCHAs present a user with a challenge, usually to correctly type in a series of letters and/or numbers, to prove that the user is not a bot. Google offers a CAPTCHA option for its Gmail application that requires users to answer basic math questions in order to send an email. The Gmail CAPTCHA feature is called “Mail Goggles,” a reference to “beer goggles,” and is designed not to prevent bots from sending messages but to prevent users from sending emails while intoxicated.

"[S]ome CAPTCHA techniques, which can be implemented as an obscured word in an image, do not comply with American Disability Association (ADA) or Section 508 accessibility guidelines."[2]


"[B]ecause CAPTCHA 'in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information . . . to gain access to the work,' it is a technological measure that regulates access to a copyrighted work."[3]

References Edit

  1. Ticketmaster L.L.C. v. RMG Technologies, Inc., 507 F.Supp.2d 1096, 1102 (C.D. Cal. 2007) (full-text).
  2. NIST Special Publication 800-44, at 5-8.
  3. 507 F.Supp.2d at 1112.

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