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McAfee Grabbed Data Without Paying, Says Open Source Vulnerability Database 139

Posted by timothy
from the but-don't-say-they-didn't-ask dept.
mask.of.sanity (1228908) writes with this excerpt from The Register: "'Intel security subsidiary McAfee may be in hot water after it allegedly scraped thousands of records from the Open Source Vulnerability Database instead of paying for them. The slurp was said to be conducted using fast scripts that rapidly changed the user agent, and was launched after McAfee formally inquired about purchasing a license to the data.' Law experts say the site's copyright could be breached by individuals merely downloading the information in contravention to the site's policies, and did not require the data to be subsequently disseminated."
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McAfee Grabbed Data Without Paying, Says Open Source Vulnerability Database

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08, 2014 @10:16AM (#46948825)
    This is essentially what Aaron Swartz was charged with doing... from wikipedia:

    Federal prosecutors charged him with two counts of wire fraud and 11 violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act,[12] carrying a cumulative maximum penalty of $1 million in fines, 35 years in prison, asset forfeiture, restitution and supervised release.

  • by msauve (701917) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @10:41AM (#46949093)
    They offer the info free for personal use, but expect commercial users to pay to support their efforts. McAfee knew this.

    Regardless of the legality, it was ethically wrong.
  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @11:05AM (#46949373)
    This data is not illegal, and it would seem like it's probably not protected by copyright under US law, since it is most likely a collection of data lacking originality. Even if it is copyrightable, i would say it's still unethical to restrict the flow of this data moreso than other data.
  • by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @11:38AM (#46949745)

    I think to be consistent, Aaron Swartz's supporters have to take McAfee's side.

    No this is different.
    With Aaron it was scientific papers that were funded with public money then locked behind a private paywall and none of the proceeds going back to to the public, Arron then tried to download them a give them back to the public that paid for the writing of said documentation.
    In this case it is Mcafee is stealing info that was privatively funded by another private company and keeping it for themselves.
    The situations are completely different as well as their motivation.

  • by ConfusedVorlon (657247) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @12:12PM (#46950165) Homepage

    If the site is clear about it's terms up front, then this seems like a serious issue.

    McAfee clearly knew they needed a licence; They asked about getting one. Presumably, they just didn't like the price.

    Plenty of software licences are the same; Free for personal use, paid for commercial use. The fact that the company does the world a favour by offering free access for some people doesn't make the commercial theft of the whole database less serious.

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