Hacktivist Judo: Musician Exploits New Spanish Law To Overwhelm System With Legitimate Infringement Complaints

from the you-want-infringement?-we'll-show-you-infringement dept

As Techdirt reported earlier this year, Spain’s Sinde Law, designed to combat file sharing by blocking sites with allegedly infringing material, has an extremely complex history. It finally went into effect on 1 March, and was immediately met with a clever denial of service attack from a Spanish group with the self-explanatory name “Hackivistas”. As TorrentFreak explains:

They encouraged sites to link to a copyrighted track from the artist Eme Navarro, who’s a member of the music rights group SGAE, but critical of the Sinde law.

While Navarro generally publishes his music under a Creative Commons license, he created an “all rights reserved” track specifically for the protest. Thanks to the hacktivist campaign hundreds of websites are now linking to this copyrighted song without permission, and Navarro reported a first batch of sites to the Ministry of Culture early this morning.

As a result, the commission tasked with reviewing all the requests will be overloaded with complaints. All the reported sites have to be processed on order of arrival, so the protest will significantly slow down this review process.

As well as gumming up the legal machinery for a while, this action is designed to obtain some much-needed details about how the Sinde Law will work in practice:

“Nobody knows how they will shut down websites. We suspect that they will ask Spanish companies hosting the websites to shut them down, and that Spanish service providers will block websites that are hosted outside of Spain.”

This is pretty extraordinary. How can the Spanish government claim any legitimacy for a law that was not only brought in at the behest of a foreign power, but was rammed through the legislative process in such a way that those most affected by it — the Spanish people — still have no idea how it will be implemented?

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Comments on “Hacktivist Judo: Musician Exploits New Spanish Law To Overwhelm System With Legitimate Infringement Complaints”

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bob (profile) says:

Wow, framing unsuspecting people as a political act

This is sort of a light weight version of mailing illegal drugs to someone and then calling the cops. Except it’s a protest so it’s all okay, right?

It’s just wrong to frame someone as part of a political protest. If you want to do civil disobedience, take the risks yourself. Framing someone is just wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

At the behest of a foreign power?


The success of the children, but not of the chimpanzees or capuchins, in reaching higher-level solutions was strongly associated with a package of sociocognitive processes?including teaching through verbal instruction, imitation, and prosociality?that were observed only in the children and covaried with performance.

Sciencemag: Identification of the Social and Cognitive Processes Underlying Human Cumulative Culture

Copying apparently is fundamental for the advance of the human race and some people think it is a bad thing.

If one minority of society is happy the other 99% is not.

Anonymous Coward says:


Actually, it’s pretty dumb, protesting by being assholes. It’s not positive

All protests are for the sake of being an asshole you nitwit. How do you expect them to protest if they can’t say things that make the other side feel bad?

I didn’t know protesting was only something that’s okay when they aren’t saying things I disagree with.

bob (profile) says:

Wow, framing unsuspecting people as a political act

Oh really? The last time I saw someone taunt a cop like that, the cop just took in the loudest and most obnoxious. Then they forgot to book them for a few days. Eventually they found the paperwork. Two can play at that the sophistry game.

I read it differently.

“Thanks to the hacktivist campaign hundreds of websites are now linking to this copyrighted song without permission.”

The operative word is “without permission.”

You can’t (1) ask someone to link to something and (2) claim they don’t have permission because the very act of (1) negates (2).

Now perhaps the sophistry club around here feels differently. Perhaps someone around here feels you can request something while not requesting it.

My reading continues to be that they’re asking innocent folks to link to something and tricking them with some weird CC slight of hand. But who knows? Maybe you’re right. And why don’t you try that cop trick some time. Prove how clever you are.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Wow, framing unsuspecting people as a political act

You can’t (1) ask someone to link to something and (2) claim they don’t have permission because the very act of (1) negates (2).

Really? That’s funny. Because whenever we talk about the blogs like Dajaz1 that were posting lots of material at the request of the artist, and yet got seized, you industry supporters have claimed that simply being emailed a track by a promoter with a request to post doesn’t constitute legal permission. What a fascinating double standard you have going.

But that doesn’t even matter here, because according to the article, the sites involved have chosen to participate with full knowledge of what’s going on.

Anonymous Coward says:


My what a bit ball of stupid we have here.

It’s a protest not by protesting something, but instead by trying to fuck it up. It’s petty and pretty much asshole play.

That doesn’t even make any sense.

“You can protest, but don’t actually protest, because you might fuck something up and be an asshole”

But hey, if you want to respond, respond. Don’t overload Techdirt’s comment section with partially-lobotomized drivel.

Miso Susanowa (user link) says:


You, sir, have just given me my hilarity of the day. Now I must get back to my nefarious pirating activity, which consists of playing and listening to my own and friends’ music, videos, machinima, artwork and photographs; watching films & listening to music which I have already purchased and consuming content on the internet which is provided free for me by people actually offering it for no pay, thereby stealing potential income from companies by not buying their bloated and shiny new crap. Yo ho!

Chargone (profile) says:

Wow, framing unsuspecting people as a political act

because that was the entire point?

he set it up for the purpose, got the Group, through non-official means, to encourage other people to link to it (and make them aware that he would be filing the relevant documents) possibly has the group coming back and telling him who/where to file against, too.

it’s a bit of a legal song and dance, but it works, and the law it’s dealing with is at least as nonsensical.

Chargone (profile) says:

Wow, framing unsuspecting people as a political act

… given the attempt to pass law here (at the US’s behest, if memory serves) which would have resulted in teachers etc going on strike rating as terrorism…

i’m not sure ‘soon’ is quite the right word.

(it failed when it was pointed out how insane that was… and the public were made aware of that and objected.the result was massively toned down legislation that, from memory, would allow action to be taken in the event of Actual Terrorism, and otherwise do very little.)

Karl (profile) says:

Wow, framing unsuspecting people as a political act

It’s just wrong to frame someone as part of a political protest.

Yet, Viacom sued Google over videos that Viacom uploaded themselves, and deliberately hid the fact that they were doing it. (By, for instance, ordering employees to upload at coffee shops under anonymous user names.)

I guess it’s “wrong” to frame websites as part of a political protest, but when a company does it to increase their profit margins, you’re A-OK with it.

Also, as others have pointed out, the websites themselves are in on it… Unlike the websites who would be taken down for user-generated content they don’t know about under the proposed anti-piracy bills you support.

…Are you some sort of agent provocateur with an anti-copyright agenda? Because you couldn’t make the copyright-maximalist side look worse if you tried.

Anonymous Coward says:

considering Sinde is/was a scriptwriter and film director how could he possibly be unbiased as to the introduction of this type of law? he is obviously going to be on the side where he was employed and not consider the people or their opinions at all, so why give someone like him the job of Culture Minister of Spain in the first place, unless it was for the very purpose of increasing restrictions?

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:


Don’t be stupid. If you want to protest, protest – but don’t just fuck the system up to the determent of others.

“If you want to protest, protest – but don’t protest.”

Every single form of protest involves fucking up some system to some degree – even if it’s as simple as shutting down a park for a demonstration, or a street for a march; or flooding a phone line with calls, or a mailbox with letters. Fucking up the system is, essentially, the very definition of protest.

isaac Kotlicky (profile) says:

I'm looking forward to this

I’ve been thinking this for a while, and wondering why no one has tried it out already – use this as a method to bring low ALL MPAA/RIAA sites with legitimate takedown requests.

Think if we keep them offline for an entire year with continual takedowns, they might start to reconsider the intended “unintended consequences” to their censorship lobbying?

Anonymous Coward says:

I'm looking forward to this

That doesn’t work with the MPAA and RIAA because they don’t do their own dirty work. The hire companies like SafeNet and the like to do it for them. Those companies usually don’t investigate complaints from others, they go looking for it themselves then issue them to ISPs and hosting providers on their behalf.

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