MalaysiaNow target of fake complaints over controversial mega-contract involving Msian businessman
This is said to be a common tactic to silence critics and journalists who carry damning reports which are difficult to counter or rebut.
Anonymous individuals using fake identities have been abusing a US copyright law with global reach to force the removal of online content and news reports for various reasons.
The ingenius method came to MalaysiaNow’s attention after complaints were made against a news article carried earlier this year about a multi-billion dollar medical equipment deal awarded by the Hungarian government to controversial Malaysian businessman Vinod Sekhar.
Invoking the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a US law for the implementation of intellectual property laws on the internet, a complainant would file a report to claim that certain online content had committed plagiarism or infringed copyright.
A screenshot of MalaysiaNow’s article, ‘Malaysian businessman gets lion’s share of multibillion-dollar Hungary deal’, which the portal has been accused of plagiarising from a website apparently originating from Russia.
Proof of this is then shown by replicating a page of the news report under an unknown news portal, with the date of publication backdated to before the original article.
A person familiar with such false complaints said the method is a common tactic to silence critics and journalists who carry damning reports which are difficult to counter or rebut.
“Among the abuses of DMCA around the world is take-down notices issued under false claims of copyright, where a fake page and a fake identity of a complainant is created.
“When such a complaint is filed, a service provider and/or server host must inform its client, who will then have to remove the said content or file a rebuttal, or risk a suspension of the website,” he said.
In the complaint lodged against MalaysiaNow, it is alleged that the report titled “Malaysian businessman gets lion’s share of multibillion-dollar Hungary deal” was wholly copied from another website with the URL allmain.news.
The complainant identified himself as “Muhammad Zuhaili”, with an address in Jerteh, Terengganu, as well as a mobile number.
A check revealed that the number does not belong to this person, while the address is non-existent.
The website allmain.news also appears suspicious, and apparently originates from Russia.
MalaysiaNow has responded to the complaint, which it believes is among several online attempts by unidentified parties to attack the portal.
The report first published on June 16, 2021 reveals a whopping RM2.5 billion worth of contracts from Hungary secured by Vinod, a businessman who is close to politicians in Malaysia.