I reviewed Drake’s Take Care for About.com last November. It was a one sentence, 50-word synopsis of the year’s most anticipated rap album. If you haven’t seen it, here’s a copy:
“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)
Take Care received generally favorable reviews. Mine was not what you would call a “favorable review,” even though I eventually warmed up to the album. Some readers agreed with my rating. Others disagreed. Everyone moved on. Everyone, except Drake’s record label.
Drake is signed to Young Money Records, which is a subsidiary of Cash Money Records, which is a subsidiary of Universal Music Group (UMG), which is the largest music cartel on the planet.
If you look up my Take Care review on Google, you will not find it. It’s gone. Dead. Buried. Google has dropped that URL from its search results. At first, I thought it had something to do with the length (brevity) of my article. I was wrong.
Last month, UMG filed a the DMCA complaint urging Almighty Google to drop my Take Care review for “copyright infringement.” 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?
Looking at the DMCA complaint closely, I noticed that the infringing links are primarily file sharing portals, torrents, etcetera. 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.
The third review link on that DMCA notice points to the AV Club. Strange, seeing as they didn’t post any illegal stuff. In fact, they gave Take Care a glowing review. So why did AV Club get flagged? To deflect suspicion? These guys are good.
Anyway, I kept digging. Finally, I found the connection between my page and the AV Club link. The comment sections of both sites contain links to Big Ghost’s Take Care review. Big Ghost, in his colorful and comedic fashion, destroyed Take Care, capping the hilarious smackdown with 1 out of 5 Zeus Slaps. His review also boasts 400+ comments.
Still, if UMG was trying to get rid of negative reviews, couldn’t they just as easily flag Big Ghost’s site? Too obvious? Again, I don’t know. But I can’t shake the suspicion that UMG is trying to purge the web of unfavorable reviews. I’ve witnessed enough industry corruption to know that stuff like this happens all the time. UMG employees have also been known to abuse the DMCA. Remember the Skepta situation?
This was me on copyright laws two years ago:
“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?”
The game is rigged.