Some leaks can from accidental statements by actors, or the like. I'm not talking about that.

I'm think of blackhat leaks, which can be illegal.

Do we allow such leaks on the site?


2 Answers 2


The Stack Exchange Terms of Service expressly forbid using the service for illegal activity. These two sentences seem particularly relevant:

Any fraudulent, abusive, or otherwise illegal activity or any use of the Services or Content in violation of this Agreement may be grounds for termination of Subscriber’s right to Services or to access the Network. [...]

Use of the Network or Services to violate the security of any computer network, crack passwords or security encryption codes, transfer or store illegal material including that are deemed threatening or obscene, or engage in any kind of illegal activity is expressly prohibited.

I imagine reposting material that was obtaining illegally falls squarely under that second sentence. Don't do it.

If you see illegal material, then please edit to remove it. If the OP has a pattern of posting illegal content, or it should be obvious that it was illegal, then flag for moderator attention with the custom flag reason. Explain why you think the content was obtained illegally – they can decide what to do next, and escalate it to SE Staff as necessary.

ETA, after 12 hours reflection: When I wrote the hard-lined response above, I was thinking in very black-and-white terms. I am not a lawyer. The OP’s use of the word “blackhat” made me think of things that any reasonable person would find nefarious or illegal.

For example: there’s a grey area (that we tend to let slide) with respect to quoting scripts for released films that are posted online, even though they probably aren’t there with the writer’s permission. But there’s a difference between that and, say, hacking into Joss Whedon’s voicemail to get the latest Avengers rumours.

I am not a lawyer. Legal stuff is hard.

  • 4
    One thing to consider, particularly when discussing what tolerance we have, if any: copyright violations, no matter how innocuous are still technically illegal. For example, many sites which host shooting/draft scripts do so without permission. Do we wish to not allow links to such things? What about links to Youtube videos posted without permission?
    – phantom42
    Mar 10, 2015 at 13:04
  • @phantom42 Yeah, there are lots of grey areas. (This is why I'm not a lawyer.) The term “blackhat” in the question made me think of very black-and-white stuff, eg using production materials from the Sony hacking. I don't have a good definition except "I'll know it when I see it". :-/
    – alexwlchan
    Mar 10, 2015 at 13:27
  • 2
    It's not down to users (for the most part) to police external sites. Youtube videos are, by definition, part of the purview of youtube, even if linked here.
    – Valorum
    Mar 10, 2015 at 19:47
  • We're not responsible for other sites hosting illegal content either - but that doesn't necessarily make it ok to link to them.
    – phantom42
    Mar 10, 2015 at 20:23
  • 3
    @phantom42 - Yes, which is why I'm inclined to err on the side of allowing content unless there's a damned good reason not to.
    – Valorum
    Mar 11, 2015 at 0:41
  • @Richard I wonder where those Doctor Who leaked transcripts fall... ;-)
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Mar 12, 2015 at 20:04
  • 3
    @randal'thor - For the record, they weren't leaked. The BBC accidentally made them publicly available, then regretted it.
    – Valorum
    Mar 12, 2015 at 20:08

I think that there would be no problem discussing it, but you should probably avoid posting anything substantive of the material itself. As mentioned by alexwlchan, it's still copyrighted material, so we could at best post excerpts or low-quality images, and only for constructive discussion.

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