Company Hired By Ecuador Uses Bogus Copyright Claims To Censor Website Of Ecuadorian Newspaper

from the copyright-as-censorship dept

We've written a few times about Spanish company Ares Rights, which presents itself as an "anti-piracy" firm, but rather than searching the internet for unauthorized movies and music, has a long history of working for Latin American governments, using questionable copyright claims to censor the internet and take down content those governments don't like. The latest example may be the most extreme, as Ares Rights used a DMCA claim in the US to block the website of Ecuadorian newspaper La Republica for a period of four hours last week.

At issue was an article about the diversion of funds from the government to the bank accounts of certain police officers. In other words, it was a story about possible corruption. One of the police officers, Santiago Mena Vallejo, was the person whom Ares Rights claimed to be representing in sending the takedown notice. Specifically, there was a photograph of a check to the officer. It is unclear, from La Republica's reporting who the DMCA notice was actually sent to, but it seems like yet another clear case of copyright (and the DMCA in particular) being used for out and out censorship.

In this case, as with previous Ares Rights moves, the actions are egregious on multiple levels:
  • Using a bogus copyright claim to take down clear news reporting of corruption (stifling public discussion of tremendous importance).
  • Making a copyright claim where the claimed copyright holder almost certainly has no such copyright.
  • Filing a claim in the US against an Ecuadorian newspaper
And yet, thanks to our ridiculous DMCA setup, where there is effectively no punishment for abuse, it is unlikely that this will be punished. Instead, Ares Rights will just get to try again and again.
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Filed Under: censorship, copyright, corruption, dmca, ecuador
Companies: ares rights

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  1. identicon
    zip, 2 Jun 2014 @ 2:21pm


    DMCA makes such an effective censorship tool, it's hardly a surprise that it would end up being used that way.

    At least it's not as bad as Youtube, which will suspend a person's (or small organization's) account for weeks due to bogus - and often anonymous - copyright claims. (which is why anti-fraud/corruption/abuse activists have flocked to, a Russian site which ignores DMCA takedown notices.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2014 @ 2:26pm

    Ecuador is a strange place. On the one hand you have the Ecuadorean government funding P2P research, and on the other hand you have things like this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jun 2014 @ 2:55pm

    as all this type of crap originated in the USA, i wonder what the thoughts are when something like this happens?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Lurker Keith, 2 Jun 2014 @ 8:29pm

    What's in a name?

    Ares Rights [...] has a long history of working for Latin American governments
    What do you expect for a company w/ a name that can be read as War Rights? Only nations can go to War, after all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jun 2014 @ 12:03am

    Over in Thailand

    The military Junta is setting up an 'official' social website, before banning the unofficial ones. (See prachatai com english for story).

    Journalists and academics have been arrested and are only released when they sign a contract promising not to criticize the junta or their policies on pain of long arrest.

    But social websites have been a problem for them. People have been criticizing them freely on sites like Pantip.

    They junta told a story of a 'people's' mob marching on Bangkok, facing lots of violence and deaths, and the army 'forced' to step into stop the violence.

    The truth is quite a bit darker, with deaths and violence being PLANNED in the palace as cover for the army coup. Just as they planned in 2008:

    "(C) Chutinant believed PAD continued to aim for a violent
    clash that would spark a coup. He asserted that he had dined
    on October 6 with a leading PAD figure (NFI), who explained
    that PAD would provoke violence during its October 7 protest
    at the parliament....PAD remained intent on a conflict that would
    generate at least two dozen deaths and make military
    intervention appear necessary and justified. "

    So General Prayuth seizes power from the elected government to 'prevent violence', but we can see he's part of the PLANNING for that violence, and all the grenade attacks that miss the big guys and hit food stalls nearby, all of that is military and planned.

    Social media has repeatedly exposed this, with grenade throwers being spotted among PDRC's *OWN* guards. Making the lie unsustainable.

    So now the internet is to be even more heavily censored in Thailand, and social networks banned to be replaced by one official one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 3 Jun 2014 @ 6:14pm


    Hmmmm...interesting business model. Expect a new start-up here in the good old USA.

    Maybe I should start it: As many embarrassing details as our governments (fed/state/local) have to hide, it should be a real moneymaker.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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