Spanish Anti-piracy Firm Ares Rights History Of Censorship By Copyright For Ecuador & Argentina

from the el-efecto-streisand dept

We already wrote about Ecuador apparently using highly questionable copyright takedowns to help censor documents that revealed Ecuador’s government’s attempts to purchase surveillance tools. In response, Ecuador first claimed that the documents were faked, but Adam Steinbaugh has done a truly fantastic investigation into the company that issued the takedown, Ares Rights, which is a Spanish company that has sent takedown messages for both the Ecuadorian government and the Argentinian government. In multiple cases that Steinbaugh found, the takedown efforts clearly seemed targeted at stifling speech, rather than any legitimate copyright interest.

First, as Rosie Gray notes, Ares Rights asserted copyright claims targeting a documentary that was less than friendly toward Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa.

When the documentary was posted to YouTube and Vimeo, Ares Rights quickly issued DMCA takedown notices on behalf of Ecuador’s state-operated TV channel, ECTV, on the basis that the documentary contained “unauthorized images” from ECTV.

[….] Nor is this Palma’s only connection to works in Ecuador.  This week, he claimed copyright ownership over, among other things, this “wanted” poster depicting an alleged child molester in Ecuador, Jorge Glas Viejo:

Why would someone go to great effort to preserve the copyright in this image?  I can only speculate: the ‘wanted’ poster omits the last name of the suspected child molester, leaving him with the same name as Jorge Glas, an Ecuadorian politician and friend of President Correa.

There’s also this DMCA takedown, in which Ares Rights operated at the behest of Ecuador’s communications secretary, Fernando Alvarado, to remove photos purportedly showing a woman he was seeing.

Steinbaugh has a lot more in his article, which is absolutely worth reading, including an email conversation with the guy who is apparently in charge of Ares Rights, claiming he can’t answer Steinbaugh’s questions about who the client is because it might violate privacy laws. He also shows evidence that Ares Rights has done similar things for Argentina as well.

This morning we had noted that Scribd had taken down the documents. Then it was reported that Dropbox had taken down the documents as well. Steinbaugh is now hosting the documents himself. In solidarity, Ken “Popehat” White is now hosting the documents as well. And we’re including the documents below as well.

Let’s be clear about this: this is blatant abuse of copyright for the sake of censorship. First, if it’s true that the documents are “fake,” then the government certainly has no copyright claim on them, because they’re not legit. We saw this same ridiculous attempt by Diebold a decade ago, insisting that documents were fake, and then filing copyright claims on them, by which they admitted they were real. Second, if the documents are real, the copyright claim itself is suspect, because there’s almost no creativity in these documents that should qualify for copyright. These are basically requests to buy some equipment, which almost certainly don’t reach the level of creativity to deserve copyright. Third, and most importantly, even if you could argue that there’s some sort of legitimate copyright in these documents, posting them is undoubtedly fair use under the laws of the US where the documents are hosted. These documents are clearly newsworthy, being used for news reporting, and have no impact on Ecuador’s “market” for the documents (because there is no such market).

This is, without a doubt, an abuse of the DMCA to try to censor documents that a particular government does not like. At the very least, it should open up Ares Rights to a potential 512(f) claim for abusing the DMCA.

Either way, we’ve been saying for years and years that copyright is a tool of censorship, and here’s yet another example.

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Companies: ares rights

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Comments on “Spanish Anti-piracy Firm Ares Rights History Of Censorship By Copyright For Ecuador & Argentina”

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

can someone explain to me how organizations outside the united states are using dcma’s a legal document only valid under us law and inside the united states

The US recognizes foreign copyrights under a variety of treaty agreements… just as many foreign countries recognize US copyrights. The servers are in the US, so the fact that a foreign company is using US law isn’t an issue here really. Just about everything else they’re doing is an issue, though…

out_of_the_blue says:

First you write: "blatant abuse of copyright",

THEN you switch it to “copyright is a tool of censorship”. As always, you’re intentionally conflating censorship with copyright because you want to do away with copyright so that your grifter pals can “monetize” content they didn’t produce.* Any concern over censorship is incidental, just a launch pad you use to attack copyright. No other conclusion can be drawn from your pattern of “years and years”, certainly not when you refuse to give your own position on copyright.

[* Just as Mike didn’t produce the “truly fantastic investigation” that he links to! Without others to do the grunt work, Mike has only some lame ranting.]

Take a loopy tour of! You always end up same place!
Masnicking: daily spurts of short and trivial traffic-generating items.

apauld (profile) says:

Re: First you write: "blatant abuse of copyright",

You are correct, Mike did write the words “blatant abuse of copyright” and then later wrote “copyright is a tool of censorship.” The fact that you can cherry pick lines out of his writing does not make you smart; and being that in this case a blatant abuse of copyright is being used as a tool of censorship makes your comment completely fn stupid. Bravo idiot.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: OOTB's blatant (again) barely literate rant.

I’ll ask a constantly self renewing question here, OOTB, can you actually read?
The answer, it always seems, is no. What Mike is talking about in his post is both a blatant abuse of copyright and using copyright as censorship which it was never intended to be either in the UK or the USA the countries where it first appeared. And whether or not Mike wants to do away with copyright which, as it exists today is far from the worst idea in the world. And from all Mike’s posts I can see his viewpoint and agree with it even though I do hold a number of copyrights. (All with Creative Commons licenses so I can avoid being the screaming hypocrite you are.)

It is interesting that every discussion of copyright around here is quickly followed by your mostly unwelcome and occasionally, unintentionally funny posts. I’m beginning to suspect that you must poll the site to see if any of the posts contain the world copyright when you rarely appear to discuss anything else.

By the way, OOTB, while from your “years and years” of posts I seriously have ever produced a single creative document. Quoting “Mary has a litte grifter lamb” doesn’t count.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: OOTB's blatant (again) barely literate rant.

I marked him ‘funny’ as his rhetoric is actually funny, as in not to be taken seriously. I don’t normally, but rarely read what he has to say. The rarity comes from trying to understand what some of the responders are talking about.

If everyone just failed to respond via ‘reply to this’ and instead responded via ‘Add Your Comment’ we would take a lot of his juice away, as we should.

As has been pointed out numerous times, OTB, AJ, and Darryl (pseudonyms for a variety of Trolls), are either paid or seriously mentally unstable. Why does this community continue to FEED them?

I like a lot of the responses. The issue is ‘why do it in thread’? Start a new thread and have a serious discussion. Just ignore the crap.
Mazlow’s Hierarchy of needs tells us all we need to know about what drives these folks. They are after recognition. Responding in thread just satisfies the third level up. The fourth level up is the important one. That level could be described as ‘Feedback on Results’, as it comes from ones say ‘boss’ or other that they perceive as such, or if you look more closely, from oneself. You can in fact pat yourself on the back and achieve ‘Self Actualization’, unless there is good reason not to, which comes from external forces, like this community.

In my experience as a manager (up to 4000 employees), there are people who thrive on recognition. If you give them that recognition for ‘bad’ behavior, they repeat the behaviors. If you ignore the ‘bad’ behavior, they look for new ways to achieve recognition. If that new recognition only comes from relevant comments, then…

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: OOTB's blatant (again) barely literate rant.

I frequently do my level best to avoid commenting on OOTB’s posts but this one did scrape bottom even for him. Which is why I included the line on him polling the site to see if Mike or anyone has mentioned copyright again. It’s too coincidental just how quickly he responds to them for it to be otherwise.

That said, I completely agree with you on not giving OOB,AJ and Darryl the attention they crave. Perhaps they would go somewhere else just as long as it’s not the IRC channels I op. 🙂 But then again, the ignore switch is beautiful there as is an op version of same where the entire channel is excused from their rants and they don’t even know it. Next time I’ll probably leave him alone. It’s just not worth my time.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: First you write: "blatant abuse of copyright",

we all know Masnick is not adverse to censorship (he even uses it routinely himself), he uses that term as others use the term “terrorist”, it’s used to inflame people.

What Masnick is passionate about is copyright, Masnick does not make his money from copyright, so it no skin off his nose if he helps others lose out on their income. And after all he feels he has a right to copy material off others if he feels it would suit, or profit him in some way. (like not having to pay for it).

First, if it’s true that the documents are “fake,” then the government certainly has no copyright claim on them, because they’re not legit.

this is an example of Masnicks ‘interpretation’ of how copyright works !!!! it’s not wonder his group of followers can be counted on one hand.

Anonymous Coward says:

Circular stupid argument !

First, if it’s true that the documents are “fake,” then the government certainly has no copyright claim on them, because they’re not legit.

I just LOVE this from Masnick, (who claims to ‘know’ about copyright).
So if you make a copy of a copyrighted work, it is a “fake” and not a breach of copyright and therefore “legit”. LOL

So all you have to do is get around copyright laws is make a copy for the work!! that somehow makes what you did both “fake” and “legit” at the same time.

Oh Mercy!!!.

Anonymous Coward says:

We saw this same ridiculous attempt by Diebold a decade ago, insisting that documents were fake, and then filing copyright claims on them, by which they admitted they were real.

no Masnick this is not how it works, and you should damn well know it.

Say someone produced a document that purported to be from Mike Masnick of Techdirt, that document because famous but was the opposite to your actual opinion, it is a fake, you did not make it, but it’s got your name on it, and the TD logo and make just like here.

You own the copyright of this web site, and you would use copyright to refute that document.

The same applies here, in this case, honestly Masnick you are better than this !!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Quote from Masnick,,, is he lying ?

“First, if it’s true that the documents are “fake,” then the government certainly has no copyright claim on them, because they’re not legit.”

why don’t you interpret what masnick is saying here, instead of accusing him of lying.

What he is saying is quite clear, if he is not lying, then he’s an idiot, so he is either an idiot of a liar.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

He’s saying that the terrorist corporation is claiming that the documents are fabrications, hence “fake”.

If they are fabricated by the people being threatened, then the terrorists cannot then claim copyright, as they didn’t create them. Fair use under parody would (or should) apply.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Your argument doesn’t really hold much water unless, as in most civil matters the fake you describe of someone posting as Mike complete with the Techdirt logo causes Techdirt and/or Mike some real damages.

Then again no one would believe it was Mike so the damages part can be quickly dealt with other than a few messages here saying WTF if people didn’t real the URL they went to. (Most people here would do that faster than instantly. There might be a trademark issue using the Logo but for the same reasons that no one would believe Mike posted it I can’t see much in the ways of damages there. Mike might have the fake taken down or he might even repost it here to point out there’s a new troller out there. Either way you’re full of it.

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