Message to INFODIO readers: investigative journalism, which is what this site does, takes lots of time. Visiting media looking for a quick run down on Venezuela's gargantuan corruption, have the decency to at least cite the source when plagiarising this site's content without attribution (exhibit Reuters here and here, exhibit Bloomberg here, exhibit OCCRP here). To all readers, do the right thing, the honest thing: support independent investigative journalism, help us expose rampant corruption. Note added 28/06/2021: impostors are using INFODIO's former editor's full name, and a fake email address (alek.boyd.arregui at to send copyright infringement claims / take down requests to web hosting companies (exhibit Hostgator). The attempt is yet another effort paid by corrupt thugs to erase information about their criminal activities. has no issues with other websites / journalists using / posting information published here, so long as the source is properly cited.

DMCA Takedown: criminals' best tool for reputation scrubbing

Imagine you're someone whose entire life has been devoted to criminal activity (bombings, corruption, misappropriation of public funds, money laundering). Imagine that the country where you did all that becomes unlivable and you emigrate, expatriating the stolen loot. You settle in a new place, where nobody knows you and, more importantly, nobody knows the origin of your "wealth". You put your head down and start the long process of laundering illicit proceeds. Your kids grow up. They mingle with other kids, go to uni, move away. Eventually your son becomes romantically involved with the daughter of one of the world's most successful and famous Latin singers. People take notice and start wondering: "who is this kid?" So people Google your kid's name, which is the same as yours, and when they do that they see your past because many journalists have been publishing information about your "entrepreneurial career". Do you sue? But where, in what jurisdiction? Do you terrorise those journalists and threaten their children? How can you erase your criminal past from public view?

Enter DMCA takedowns, described as "The DMCA notice and takedown process is a tool for copyright holders to get user-uploaded material that infringes their copyrights taken down off of websites." [bold added] But you are not a copyright holder, anywhere, you're just a lucky thug who made away with hundreds of million / billions from a desperately corrupt country where nobody involved in corruption of that magnitude is ever prosecuted.

So you hire a small time reputation scrubbing firm in that backwater, shithole of a country where you were born, where you married, had children and stole every last cent you have to your name. They know how to disappear legitimate and well sourced information about you and your past. Their formula is very simple, yet infallible: they use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) against each and everyone that has ever published, well, about your life. They know you're no copyright holder. They know that publishing facts that happened in the past cannot under reasonable scrutiny "infringe" copyrights that you do not hold. Critically, they know that no search engine is in the business of determining who is the right copyright holder of published information. All that's needed is for them to file a DMCA Takedown request and, voilá, those odious results that give an accurate account of who you really are and how you came about so much money are gone. Forever. You can then instruct same company, or perhaps another, to publish all kinds of bullshit about you being a "famous entrepreneur with a social conscience", a "philanthropist", a "journalist", or better yet, that you're a cook (obviously your knack for guisos couldn't have been completely erased).

Sometimes though, a website might decide to fight your ridiculous "copyrights" claims. Someone might do a little digging, and see that your arguments are so untenable that they merit a counter notice, that is, a process whereby those falsely accused of copyright infringement provide necessary proof that you are just abusing the system, like you have done your entire life. But there's still a silver lining: precise contact details, address, telephone number and email of the person filing the counter notice will be provided to your representatives. That is very useful information, when you realise that ordinary methods no longer work with some people and that you'd have to, well, engage in things you did in the past, like bombings or terrorism.

In the post-truth era that you live, where criminals like you, and worse, become celebrities and are free to run the show and game the system however much they wish, there's nothing to worry about. Sooner than later you'll be in the clear, no one will question you, your wealth and family. Your son will live happily however long that marriage with the daughter of a very famous singer lasts. In those social settings, no one will look at you with disgust, you'll be right at home.

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