Yesterday, a number of news outlets mistakenly reported that a negative review of Drake's "Take Care" album, written by Henry Adaso, had been removed from Google after Universal Music Group filed a DMCA takedown request -- allegedly because UMG unhappy with the review. However, that wasn't quite the case.
Articles with headlines such as "Henry Adaso Wrote a Negative Drake Review. So Universal Used the DMCA to Rip It Down... " and "Universal Abuses Copyright Law to Snuff Out Negative Drake Reviews ..." contained predictable broadsides against "The Man," which would have been understandable if they were accurate.
A rep for Universal told Billboard.biz that the reports were untrue, as was soon borne out by a statement from BPI (the trade organization of the British music business), which actually - and admittedly mistakenly - sent the takedown order.
The source of the erroneous report turned out to be Adaso himself, who wrote about the takedown of his review on TheRapUp.com entitled "Why Google Dropped My Drake Review." "Last month, UMG filed a the DMCA complaint urging Almighty Google to drop my Take Care review for 'copyright infringement,' " Adaso wrote. "Makes absolutely no sense. The only UMG property on that page is the artwork, and IT IS fully credited. So what's the issue here?"
The issue could actually be found in the link Adaso provided in his post which led to the actual takedown notice. The notice listed Universal Music as the copyright holder, but atop the page were the words "BPI DMCA (Copyright) Complaint to Google." The document is dated June 30, 2012 and lists nearly 100 "allegedly infringingURLs" that BPI, the British Recorded Music Industry, a trade group for UK record labels, requested be taken down.
A spokesperson for BPI contacted by Billboard.biz replied: "BPI uses the DMCA process to request the removal of millions of links in search results to infringing sound recordings every year. We have no intention of ever trying to remove links to reviews or writing about music. In this case, we regret that an isolated error occurred with the effect that we mistakenly asked for a few links to reviews to be removed. Immediately on learning of the mistake, we asked Google to reinstate the links concerned and are undertaking a review of our processes to ensure this does not happen again. We apologise to all concerned for our mistake."
No matter how it happened, the DMCA takedown system clearly leaves lots of room for improvement. At press time, the links to Adaso's reveiw are again working; Adaso had not responded to Billboard.biz's request for comment.