Universal Music Group (UMG) has recently flexed their latest muscle in the war against copyright, though have they taken it too far? The major record label has used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to remove from all Google searches a somewhat negative review of Drake’s latest album.
And the review wasn’t even that bad. Posted by Henry Adaso on About.com, the review is fairly even-handed and quite well put, and to be real, Adaso has the right to be as critical as he chooses. But Universal weren’t having any of it, issuing a take-down demand, effectively wiping any trace of the article from the public domain. According to Digital News, the American-based music journo commented on the DMCA complaint saying: “Looking at the DMCA complaint closely, I noticed that the infringing links are primarily file sharing portals, torrents, etcetera,” Adaso explained. “Makes sense to flag those links. So, there’s 19 file sharing links and three seemingly random review links. Two of those review links point to my Drake piece.”
So there might be the need for a little back story here. The DCMA was established to help record labels battle online piracy, giving them the right to take down any and all sites that they believe are breaking the law. Usually used on torrent sites, blogs, etc, but now apparently used to censor the Internet, which is a slippery slope.
More than two years ago when the law was still in its beta stages, Adaso commented on the fears he holds for future online content, obviously seeing the writing on the wall well before it directly affected him: “But how else will this new copyright law be used in the future? Is it a stretch to suggest that major labels could easily take down unfavorable sites under the pretext of copyright infringement? Are we heading down a slippery slope that will eventually lead to invasive Web censorship?” Surely even he hoped he was wrong at that point.
You can have a look at the official letter of complaint below, with the links to the review circled, the rest being illegal torrent sites and the like. Below that is the review. How does it sit with you knowing that record labels are playing Big Brother, silencing those who speak out against their releases? Now they’ve gotten away with this, what’s next?
A briefly entertaining, occasionally ponderous, sometimes lazy, sometimes brilliant, slow-rolling, rap-singy, bulls-eye missing, kitten-friendly, runway-ready, mega corny, lip-smacking, self-conscious, self-correcting, self-indulging, finely tuned, Houston infatuated, crowd pleasing, delightfully weird, emotionally raw, limp, wet, innocuous, cute, plush, brooding, musical, whimsical, exotic, pensive, V-necked, quasi-American, strutting, doting, cloying, safe alternative to sleeping pills. (Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars)”