You Can Copy Our Articles All You Want... But Please Don't Claim The Copyright Belongs To You

from the copyfraud dept

The folks at Attrition.org have been tracking a guy named Gregory Evans who runs LIGATT Security for a while now. Evans apparently hypes himself up as a fantastic hacker, though Attrition suggests he's not all that skilled in reality. Still he's been able to get himself a fair amount of press over the years, though Attrition obviously thinks he doesn't deserve it. One thing that Attrition has spent a lot of time on is showing that Evans has a history of plagiarizing content in his "books." However, the folks at Attrition contacted us, a few months ago, to let us know that Evans was using a Techdirt article in one of his books. The "book" is what Evans calls a "scrapbook," supposedly of a bunch of articles about computer security, including at least one of ours. Evans claimed that he got permission to reprint every article in his book, and Attrition decided to see if that was true.

As we told them at the time, we were unaware of any request for permission from Evans, but in our case, that didn't matter. As we've stated repeatedly, our content is free for people to use, and we consider it to be in the public domain. With that, I figured we were done with it, but Attrition has now put out their article on the results of their research (including our response), and they couldn't find anyone who said they had, in fact, given Evans explicit permission to use their work (it's not clear if anyone even received a request).

In our case, we stand by the fact that we (perhaps alone of all the sources he copied from) don't mind the fact that he decided to reprint our stuff. That's cool. Anyone can do that. But what struck me as interesting, was this bit:

It is also worth noting that Evans tries to establish a copyright on the book, despite the fact that every article he used is already copyrighted:

"No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means; -- electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without permission from the original author."

This disclaimer is laughable, as Evans himself did not obtain permission to use all of the articles contained in the book. Worse, in using the articles without permission while charging $39.95 for the book, he is profiting off these copyright infringements.

While we're fine with him re-using our works, one thing that we're not at all okay with is him then claiming copyright over it or otherwise trying to then limit the reuse of our works by others. That's copyfraud. As for the others in the book, I would imagine they're even less pleased, since it appears that most, if not all, of the others whose works were used do consider their works their own copyrighted material, and did not sell that copyright to Evans.

Filed Under: copying, copyright, gregory evans, plagiarism, security
Companies: ligatt security


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  1. icon
    Karl (profile), 31 Aug 2011 @ 3:03pm

    Re:

    So many people speaking up on behalf of Mike...

    Probably because others have spread those same bullshit lies about many of us, and we don't like to see it happen to someone else.

    It appears as if you don't think Mike can speak for himself.

    More likely Mike has the wisdom (or lack of boredom) to avoid interacting with obviously hateful trolls.

    Or perhaps you really think you know his intentions better than he does himself, from reading his mind or something.

    I can't read his mind, but I sure has hell can read his words, and judge him by his deeds, which his detractors apparently cannot.

    Sounds more like a sect to me with the followers protecting the leader.

    This is the pot calling the kettle black. Pretty much everyone on here (myself included) has disagreed with Mike at one point or another. And we certainly disagree with each other: you'll find libertarians, Democrats, Tea Partiers, atheists, and people quoting the Bible in these comments. You'll find artists, label owners, consumers, and lawyers agreeing with him, often for completely different reasons. What you will not find is "followers."

    Compare that with his detractors. Nearly all of them are anonymous; nearly all of them care about nothing but their own wallets. They use the same phrases ("freetard," "kick you in the nuts," "fix me a sandwich," "typical Friday post," etc), make exactly the same arguments ("you just want free music," "you just want to leech off of others," "copyright length doesn't matter because you ownly steal new releases," etc), and even use many of the "talking points" from the legacy music industry ("wholesale theft," "billions in losses due to piracy," calling non-commercial filesharing sites "criminal enterprises," calling sites like YouTube "rogue sites," saying the EFF, Demand Progress, the FSF, and Creative Commons are "anti-copyright," etc).

    It's pretty obvious to everyone that Mike's critics are more of a "sect" than the people who defend him.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go. We're meeting in the abandoned woods behind Mike's house with some black candles and a live goat, and I still have to pick up my hooded robe from the dry cleaner's.

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