Ares Rights, Notorious DMCA Abusers For The Ecuadorian Gov't, Now Sending DMCA Notices On Stories About Ares Rights
from the copyright-as-censorship dept
We still hear from copyright system supporters who insist that copyright is never used as a censorship tool. And yet… we’ve written a few times about a Spanish firm named Ares Rights that works with the Ecuadorian government and others to seek to censor critical content by totally abusing the DMCA process. However, it appears to have stepped things up a notch in the ridiculous category, now seeking to abuse the DMCA even further to censor stories about its own censorship-by-DMCA. It gets a bit recursive.
Last week, Adam Steinbaugh had a good blog post detailing how Ares Rights had issued some bogus DMCA notices over some news coverage in Ecuador… of Ares Rights itself. In May, PlanV had written about Ares Rights and its abuse of US copyright law to try to censor stuff on behalf of the Ecuadorian government. It’s a good detailed breakdown of how Ares Rights abuses copyright law. However Ares Rights sent a takedown, claiming trademark infringement in the article, because (you guessed it) the article mentions “Ares Rights.” Except that’s not how the DMCA or trademark law works. At all.
Of course, rather than having the criticism of Ares Rights disappear, it just resulted in a lot more coverage of the situation (and, of course, the original article stayed up). It got American press coverage as well as Ecuadorian coverage from multiple sources.
Rather than learn the lesson that issuing bogus takedowns is a bad idea that not only doesn’t work, but will likely backfire spectacularly, Ares Rights doubled down… and sent a new DMCA takedown to try to take down Adam Steinbaugh’s post. In this case, Ares Rights is claiming the following:
b) Copyrighted work or other intellectual property that we are claiming to be infringed:
Your customer shows private and not public data.
Your customer displays a document with copyright.
Note strictly private use with contact address, email and telephone. This data is private and not public use only.
Your customer violates privacy laws Spain and CEE.
Please, delete this url.
c) A description of where the infringing material is located on your Site:
Of course, most of that has nothing to do with copyright, and thus a DMCA notice is improper. Second, all of it is pure bullshit.
Steinbaugh filed a “counter notice” which is well worth reading:
Dear Mr. Mart?nez:
I am writing in response to your censorious DMCA takedown notice of today?s date, which demands that I remove the entirety of my post about your firm?s censorious abuse of DMCA notices to intimidate or censor your critics and political dissidents, which is located here: http://adamsteinbaugh.com/2014/08/29/ares-rights-wants-ecuador-journalists-to-stop-talking-about-ares-rights-censorious-abuse-of-copyright/
This communication to you is a DMCA counter notification letter as defined in 17 USC § 512(g)(3).
My response is this: fuck off.
In more delicate terms:
First, your notice is defective in that it fails to identify the specific work claimed to be infringed, as required by 17 USC § 512(c)(3)(A)(i).
Second, the material at issue is not protected by copyright, and in the unlikely event that it?s protected at the barest margins of copyright law, my use of the material ? which is still unidentified ? is a fair use under 17 USC § 107.
I declare, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that the complaint of copyright violation is based on mistaken information, misidentification of the material in question, or deliberate misreading of the law. And, to be sure, your reading of the law to demand removal of your abuse of the DMCA is unmistakably deliberate. To encourage the re-calibration of your interpretation of copyright law, please refer to 17 USC § 512(f), which provides for attorneys fees should a content provider be hoodwinked into temporarily disabling access to material on the basis of your fraudulent DMCA takedown notices.
My name, address, and telephone number are as follows:
I hereby consent to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which I reside, which is the Federal District Court for the Central District of California, conveniently located six blocks away from the foregoing address.
I agree to accept service of process from the complainant.
My actual or electronic signature follows:
XOXO, Adam Steinbaugh
As per usual, Ken Popehat White does the best job summing this up.
It’s not clear what Ares Rights hopes to accomplish. Their DMCAs will fail. This won’t slow coverage. Trying to brush off the EFF or Steinbaugh with a DMCA notice is like trying to get a dog to stop humping your leg by petting it and feeding it bacon. Maybe they bill by the hour, even for patently ridiculous tasks? Maybe they are trying to convince their Ecuadorian masters that they are doing something, anything? Maybe they are just really very bad at their jobs? Stay tuned to find out.