How fake copyright complaints are muzzling journalists

journalist fake

Journalists have been forced to temporarily take down articles critical of powerful oil lobbyists due to the exploitation of US copyright law, according to a new reportAt least five such articles have been subject to fake copyright claims, including one by the respected South African newspaper Mail & Guardian, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). The claims – which falsely assert ownership of the stories – have been made by mystery individuals under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a law meant to protect copyright holders. Just last month, three separate false copyright claims were made against Diario Rombe, an investigative news outlet that focusses on Equatorial Guinea. The articles under attack are about the president of Equatorial Guinea’s son, Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, and his close associate, Cameroonian businessman and lawyer NJ Ayuk. The OCCRP claimed in a report published on Wednesday that the DMCA process was often abused by “unknown parties” who create backdated fake articles to target critical news reports.(BBC)…[+]