Copyright Irony

SA copyright protector Safact caught pirating content

The website of the Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft (Safact) appears to have used copyrighted content without the proper permission.

According to a report on Htxt, an article on the website about an Internet uploader being arrested in Cape Town used an “accidentally photoshopped” headline image from Reuters.

An image search in Google reveals that images from Reuters and Shutterstock, among others, were used on the Safact website.

The report quoted Safact CEO Corne Guldenpfennig as saying that they had trusted their web design company, Triloqtech, to follow instructions to only use images they or Safact own the copyright to, or images in the public domain.

Copyright infringement on the Safact site did not appear to be limited to images.

Safact also lifted copyrighted content and republished it on its website without any attribution.

Safact was asked for comment on the piracy of content by the organisation, but did not respond by the time of publication.

Although Safact did not answer questions about its possible copyright infringement, the organisation did take its website down after they were asked for comment.

This is not the first time a copyright campaign group was caught infringing the copyright of others.

In 2010 the U.S. Copyright Group (USCG) was caught copying the content of a competitor’s website.

Torrentfreak also reported in 2011 that anti-piracy group BREIN used a musician’s trackwithout permission in an anti-piracy campaign.

Here is the Htxt article

UPDATED: South African Federation Against Copyright Theft website caught infringing copyright

If you’re going to set yourself up as an organisation dedicated to protecting the intellectual property rights of others and using the full force of the law to bring cases of counterfeit and copyright infringement against internet uploaders, it’s probably a good idea to make sure that you are squeaky clean when it comes to respecting those rights yourself.

For example. When blogging about recent successes – such as arresting a family man and threatening him with three years jail for a single count of illegal uploading – you’d want a nice dramatic image to underline your point. Something like this:

This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image.

And you’d want to be really sure that your headline shot wasn’t lifted from a Reuters video about the arrest of Lulzsec hacker and accidentally photoshopped to remove the Australian Federal Police logo.

This image has been resized. Click this bar to view the full image.


The image was also released as a still accompanying the Lulzsec wire story.

FYI, the Reuter’s terms and conditions surrounding use of its video assets include:

It is provided by Reuters and its licensors to you for your personal use and information only. You may not use the Content or Service for any commercial purpose. You may not remove, alter, forward, scrape, copy, sell, distribute, retransmit, create derivative works or otherwise make available the Content to third parties without our prior written consent, except as occasionally permitted by any sharing functionality in the Service that expressly allows you to share Content or links to Content with a few other individuals.

Our point is not to gloat. After all, sometimes we get it wrong too – copyright is a complex affair, which is why we use the Creative Commons licence for our work and take care to credit every image we use appropriately.

We contacted SAFACT for comment regarding the use of the Reuters’ image, in response to which the organisation has replaced it with a picture which appears to be sourced from iStock/Getty. This raises yet more interesting questions: since the story is clearly labelled ‘news’, it could be argued that it is an editorial piece and therefore requires proper credit under the terms of iStock’s licence agreement. Under the terms of that agreement you may not:

use the Content for editorial purposes without including the following credit adjacent to the Content or in audio/visual production credits: “©’s Member Name]

SAFACT CEO Corne Guldenpfennig laid the blame squarely at the feet of the organisation’s web design company, Triloqtech. Sections of her email are below:

…SAFACT had recently appointed a web design company namely Triloqtech to redesign the SAFACT webpage with a view to transfer from the current page used namely to a SAFACT domain again. Kindly note that this new page referred to by you is currently still in development stage and SAFACT trusted that the web design company would have followed clear instructions including insuring the use of our own or member company images only alternatively images which falls in public domain or ones that are designed or owned by them…

…I wish to confirm that SAFACT would never intentionally infringe on any individual or company’s intellectual property rights as it is the mission of SAFACT to protect and enforce IPR.

As the publisher of the website, however, it is SAFACT’s responsibility to check details like this, regardless of who is to blame.

UPDATE – It looks like it’s not just the image for this story which should cause copyright fans consternation. The entire copy has been copied and pasted from this MyBroadband link – without credit or, it’s understood, permission. Just in case that also gets changed, there’s a screen grab in this link for the record.


Unsubscribe all wasps

Towards the end of 2013 news emerged that Cell C and MTN would finally be implementing double opt-in systems for wireless application service providers (WASPs).

Vodacom rolled out its double opt-in system two years prior. The double opt-in system cost it a 33% reduction in WASP revenue, according to Vodacom, but the operator said it was worth it for the dramatically reduced fraud complaints.

Along with the unveiling of its new double opt-in systems, Cell C and MTN also launched ways for their users to manage their content subscriptions.

Previously subscribers had no way to prevent a WASP from charging their cellular accounts, or to unsubscribe from premium content services without first contacting the WASP.

Vodacom also has a method to manage WASP subscriptions in the form of an SMS command to unsubscribe from everything.

The various WASP subscription management options of South Africa’s mobile operators are as follows:

Cell C

Using the USSD string *133*1# subscribers can block all existing and future content billing.


MTN also offers a USSD string (*141*5#) to manage premium content subscriptions, but unlike Cell C’s it doesn’t block all future subscriptions. Instead, users select which services to unsubscribe from.

Telkom Mobile

When asked about its self-service options for WASP subscriptions, Telkom Mobile said it does not offer an option for WASPs to charge for subscription services.

The operator previously told MyBroadband that it already has a double opt-in system in place, but has since said that it will be making an announcement involving its recently launched Event Billing soon.


Vodacom users can unsubcribe from all WASP services by sending “STOP ALL” to 30333.

Should you be subscribed to WASP services, you should receive the response “Your Vodacom request to delete all WASP service has been logged”. According to Vodacom, you should then receive messages of the format, “You have been unsubscribed from ‘SERVICE’ with effect from ‘DATE’”.

If you are not currently subscribed to any services you should receive the somewhat confusing response, “Your Vodacom request to delete all WASP services has been unsuccessful, Please call Vodacom Customer Care on 082111”.

Vodacom said that it is working on changing this message to say that you are currently not subscribed to any WASP services.