Gregory D. Evans - "Hi-Tech Hustler Scrapbook" 100% Copyright Infringements

Fri Aug 26 02:21:57 CDT 2011

Hi-Tech Hustler Scrap Book 2004-2005
Cover Price: $39.95
LIGATT Publishing
ISBN: 0974561150 / 978-0974561158
First Edition: June 20, 2005
Written by: Gregory D. Evans
Compiled By: William Fisher
Formated By: Deya Smith

Gregory D. Evans has a history of plagiarizing content for his books and online content. Plagiarism is defined as "the wrongful appropriation, close imitation, or purloining and publication, of another author's language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions, and the representation of them as one's own original work." (Wikipedia / Random House Dictionary). Unlike Evans' previous books, the Hi-Tech Hustler Scrap Book does not contain plagiarism. For once, Evans admits that all of the content came from other people. The entire book is nothing but a collection of poorly formatted news articles, mostly from 2004 - 2005, about computer security and computer related crime, with varying degrees of citation or byline left intact. Rather than plagiarism, this book consists of 591 news articles, listed in this Google Spreadsheet, that Evans did not secure the rights to use, and the entire body of work constitutes copyright infringement.

In Evans' rant titled "Changing the Game" (Jan 18, 2011), he claims that he had permission to use all of the articles:

In every book I wrote I put "Written By Gregory Evans" except Hi-Tech Hustler scrapbook and [How To Become The Worlds No. 1 Hacker]. The scrapbook was just made up of all the news stories for that year. I had all the sources and everything in that book. Got permission and the whole nine yards.

Now what is even more funny is that all these people who are talking stuff never read the book. If they had they would see that nowhere in the entire book does it say "Written By or Authored By Gregory Evans" like all my other ones except for the scrapbook. No I brought a lot of the stories from other professionals in the security world. I don't know why some of these guys act like they know everyone in security.

While the book does not say "Written by" or "Authored by", the cover simply says "By Gregory D. Evans & William R. Fisher" giving the outward impression it is a book authored by them. Evans could have used distinct wording to highlight his exact role in the book (e.g., "Compiled by"), but opted not to. On page 4 of the book, Evans includes a disclaimer stating the articles come from other sources, and ironically warns readers that the articles may be "grammatically challenged", a trait frequently attributed to Evans:

"This is a scrap book. There are over 100 news sources. All stories are in the format they were written. You may find errors in formatting, hyper links, or pictures. These articles were written independent of this book, some may be grammatically challenged.

It is curious that he mentions there could be errors in hyper links, since they do not translate well into a book. 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.

The Copyright Infringements

On March 22nd and 23rd, we contacted 24 of the organizations. Between the contact and July 31, we received a total of 7 replies (not counting auto-responders) that included 3 confirmations that Evans did not have permission to use their work. One party, Techdirt, replied that while Evans had not contacted them, they consider all of their work public domain and he was free to use it.

The following table details the responses we received from various journalists and publishers regarding Evans' alleged permission to use the work. While we did not contact every media outlet involved, and we did not receive a response from every outlet we did mail, we are reasonably certain that Evans did not secure permission to reprint the articles in this book. This shows willful copyright infringement with the intent to profit from the activity.

Media Outlet / Author Response
Winston County Journal "I will need to look for our records or at least know the name of the article in question but as far as I know all three persons have ever been granted in reprint permissions of any of our newspaper articles and to my knowledge Gregory Evans was not one of them especially since never herd o him until today." and "I can find no proof of allowing republishing.." - Joseph McCain, Publisher
ZDNet Australia / Patrick Gray "After checking with the global offices of ZDNet, I have found that the ZDNet content that appears in Gregory Evans' 'Hi-Tech Hustler Scrapbook' was not used with the permission of any authorised employee. If Mr Evans purports to have any evidence of permission being granted, we would very much like to see it." - Brian Haverty, Editorial Director
CNN "Unless you've already done so you don't have to submit this anywhere else (since it will still come to me through the other sources). I will be alerting our Legal team and Standards and Practices team ASAP. Thanks for forwarding."
The Register / John Leyden "Personally I've had no contact on any level with Evans, though that's not necessarily surprising. Any authority to republish our material would have come through my colleague Phil Mitchell (cced)." [No further reply received.]
Techdirt "Two pointers: (1) we were completely unaware of this usage, but (2) we have made clear repeatedly on our site that we have no problem with anyone making use of our stuff, as we consider it to be public domain.

So, while he did not ask for permission from us, we have no issue with the usage."
New York Times "Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention, I will review it with the appropriate parties. If we need further information from you or your organization we will contact you." [No further reply received.]
CCRC "I can say that I hear about this Mr. Evans for the first time. And he definitely did not asked us about any of the reprint permissions."

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