BPI issues takedown notice for negative Drake review

By | Published on Monday 20 August 2012


UK record industry trade body the BPI last week admitted to accidently asking Google to remove two reviews of Drake’s ‘Take Care’ album from its search listings, one positive from AV Club and one negative from It was the latter that received particular attention last week after the writer of the review, Henry Adaso, wrote an article for The Rap Up, accusing Drake’s label Universal of ordering the takedown.

Adaso wrote: “Last month, UMG filed a 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?”

He added that after “looking at the DMCA complaint closely”, he noticed that as well as two links pointing to his review, the AV Club review was also listed on the same DMCA takedown notice, he asked: “Why did AV Club get flagged? To deflect suspicion? These guys are good”.

But, while “looking at the DMCA complaint closely”, there was one thing that Adaso missed. Right at the top, in large letters, the title read: “BPI DMCA (Copyright) Complaint to Google”. And just in case there was any doubt, record labels trade body the BPI is also listed three times on the document as its sender.

Asked for confirmation of its involvement by Billboard, the BPI said: “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”.

As previously reported, Google revealed earlier this year that the BPI filed 182,805 takedown requests with the search engine between May 2011 and July 2012, the second highest number after Microsoft. What this issue seems to highlight, rather than a dislike of negative reviews on the part of the record industry, is how open to error this system is.

And, of course, Google announced earlier this month that in future the number of legitimate takedown notices a site has received would negatively affect its Page Rank score, making incorrect takedowns all the more frustrating for legitimate website operators. Incidents such as this will likely cause many to argue for an overhaul of the current system. Although in this case the error was spotted and corrected, it is not clear how many may go past unnoticed.

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