Serial Copyright Violations by 7Safe's InfosecMedia.org

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

security curmudgeon

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Around February 2010, 7Safe created a portal called InfoSec Media. The site is a simple information security news aggregator.

Rather than create their own news content or summaries, 7Safe pulls in content from a wide variety of other news sources. This practice is generally considered acceptable, as long as the aggregator does not violate the laws of "fair use" and copyright.

Infosec Media's aggregation does not honor "fair use" quoting, and does not respect copyright. For each article posted, the original title is left intact, but the byline is stripped out and replaced with with "Posted by Hayley on $DATE".

This gives the impression that the content was posted by "Hayley", not the original author and publication. This practice is not acceptable by any standards in journalism or information security. "Hayley" has no author biography, and the site provides no other obvious information about the site's owner, but 7safe does have an employee named Hayley.

7Safe is listed as a sponsor along with 4 other companies, and not as the site owner or operator. This, along with a handful of links at the bottom of the page that go to various 7Safe services, are the only visible links.

The articles included on infosecmedia.org are typically reproduced almost in full, leaving out between one sentence and a couple short paragraphs. This goes well beyond fair use quoting, violating the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) of U.K. law, and Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 107 - 118 of U.S. law. 7Safe is based in the U.K.

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Additionally, the InfoSec Media Disclaimer is particularly interesting. One part of the disclaimer warns users that the site, which is run by a company offering security services, cannot guarantee the site will be virus free:

"We do not warrant that the servers that make this website available will be error, virus or bug free ..."

The disclaimer goes on and tries to suggest that links to external websites are "for the convenience of users", despite reproducing articles in their entirety at times. While blatantly ripping off this content, 7Safe goes on to say they are "unable to provide any warranty regarding the accuracy or completeness of the content of such sites", but apparently do not mind as they steal content every day.

Finally, 7Safe says that their disclaimer is subject to change without notice, and that if changed, the new language is retroactive to the first date of publication of the website. Legally, that is absurd.

Along with 7Safe, the site lists four additional sponsors:

The fact that 7Safe is soliciting sponsors would imply that they are profiting off of this site. This is one of many reasons why they are violating fair use laws when reprinting articles. Worse, 7Safe was previously alerted to this via Twitter and did not act on it.

The following examples show just how much content is being lifted from the original source. Included are links to the Infosec Media article, the original article with source publications, and notes about the percentage of content reproduced.

Infosec Media Article:  Most Wi-Fi routers susceptible ...
Original Source:  Most Wi-Fi routers susceptible ... on Sophos Naked Security Blog
Content Comments: 91.3% of article reproduced. Full article includes 2 sentences more. Note: Article also lifts 1 graphic from original.

Infosc Media Article:  New Chinese space plans ...
Original SourceNew Chinese space plans ... on The Register
Content Comments: 94% of article reproduced. Full article includes 1 paragraph more.

Infosec Media Article:  Kaspersky claims "smoking code" ...
Original SourceKaspersky claims "smoking code" ... on The Register
Content Comments:  92.7% of article reproduced. Full article includes 1 sentence more.

Infosec Media Article:  Facebook scams now spread by ...
Original SourceFacebook scams now spread by ... on The Register
Content Comments:  85.4% of article reproduced. Full article includes 1 sentence more.

Infosec Media Article:  New "Highly Critical" Windows ...
Original SourceNew "Highly Critical" Windows ... on LiveHacking.com
Content Comments:  100% of article reproduced.

Infosec Media Article:  2011 is the Year of the Hacktivist ...
Original Source2011 is the Year of the Hacktivist ... on Wired.com
Content Comments:  93% of article reproduced. Full article includes 2 sentences more. Note: InfoSec Media doesn't even link to original.

Infosec Media Article:  In WikiLeaks Case, Bradley Manning ...
Original SourceIn WikiLeaks Case, Bradley Manning ... on Wired.com
Content Comments:  92.4% of article reproduced. Full article includes 4 short paragraphs more.

Cross-posted from Errata

Editor's note: InfosecMedia.org has been scraping content from Infosec Island as well. We made several attempts to contact them with requests to cease and desist, to no avail. We consulted with Errata on our concerns and applaud their efforts to bring this issue to the attention of the general public.

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