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
    Ninja (profile), 30 Aug 2011 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Since they've actually made *real* contributions to society, and you haven't,

    He hasn't? How would you know? He could be Stephen Hawkins typing and you wouldn't know. And you, have you made *real* contributions? And what is a *real* contribution? Making some shitty movie is a *real* contribution? I've made one movie once for a school work. I used tons of copyrighted stuff but the end result was totally new. Means I made a *real* contribution?

    Fortunately, the section of society that wants to kick his balls is the minority. And unfortunately they are pushing for ridiculous laws and censorship measures onto us.

    And I'm joining him as an arbiter of what goes "against the grain of society" so now we are two and you are one. Mike doesn't want to control anything. He wants credits to be properly given and the ability to copy and reproduce to be granted, something that Evans has unilaterally and fraudulently ignored.

    Amusingly, you copyright trolls are delighted with this post as if it was proof Mike also uses copyright and doesn't want everything to be free but those are precisely the points you are missing. It's not copyright, it's public domain. And it's not about not giving it for free, it's about referring to the source and not making it yours using shady and fraudulent excused.

    You fail. As always.

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