MSIE and addEventListener Problem in Javascript?

document.getElementById('container').addEventListener('copy',beforecopy,false );

In Chrome / Safari, the above will run the "beforecopy" function when the content on the page is being copied. MSIE is supposed to support this functionality as well, but for some reason I'm getting this error:

"Object doesn't support this property or method"

Now, it's my understanding that Internet Explorer won't play with the body node, but I would have thought providing a node by ID would work fine. Does anyone have any ideas about what I'm doing wrong? Thanks in advance.

** Bonus points for anyone who can tell me what the 3rd parameter "False" is good for.

In IE you have to use attachEvent rather than the standard addEventListener.

A common practice is to check if the addEventListener method is available and use it, otherwise use attachEvent:

if (el.addEventListener){
  el.addEventListener('click', modifyText, false); 
} else if (el.attachEvent){
  el.attachEvent('onclick', modifyText);

You can make a function to do it:

function bindEvent(el, eventName, eventHandler) {
  if (el.addEventListener){
    el.addEventListener(eventName, eventHandler, false); 
  } else if (el.attachEvent){
    el.attachEvent('on'+eventName, eventHandler);
// ...
bindEvent(document.getElementById('myElement'), 'click', function () {
  alert('element clicked');

You can run an example of the above code here.

The third argument of addEventListener is useCapture; if true, it indicates that the user wishes to initiate event capturing.

In case you are using JQuery 2.x then please add the following in the

      <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge;" />

This worked for me.

try adding

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge"> 

right after the opening head tag

Internet Explorer (IE8 and lower) doesn't support addEventListener(...). It has its own event model using the attachEvent method. You could use some code like this:

var element = document.getElementById('container');
if (document.addEventListener){
    element .addEventListener('copy', beforeCopy, false); 
} else if (el.attachEvent){
    element .attachEvent('oncopy', beforeCopy);

Though I recommend avoiding writing your own event handling wrapper and instead use a JavaScript framework (such as jQuery, Dojo, MooTools, YUI, Prototype, etc) and avoid having to create the fix for this on your own.

By the way, the third argument in the W3C model of events has to do with the difference between bubbling and capturing events. In almost every situation you'll want to handle events as they bubble, not when they're captured. It is useful when using event delegation on things like "focus" events for text boxes, which don't bubble.

As of IE11, you need to use addEventListener. attachEvent is deprecated and throws an error.

As PPK points out here, in IE you can also use

e.cancelBubble = true;

Using <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=9">, IE9+ does support addEventListener by removing the "on" in the event name, like this:

 var btn1 = document.getElementById('btn1');
 btn1.addEventListener('mousedown', function() {

The problem is that IE does not have the standard addEventListener method. IE uses its own attachEvent which does pretty much the same.

Good explanation of the differences, and also about the 3rd parameter can be found at quirksmode.