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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  1. 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.

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