TL;DR - The DMCA is a system filled with abuse. Punishing fans with DMCA take downs for giving media companies free publicity is bad. You can't copyright silence or static.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is United States copyright legislation that was signed into law back in 1998 by President Bill Clinton. The DMCA was an update to copyright laws from 1976, and brought the US in alignment with the World Intellectual Property Organization.

In principal, the DMCA was to help rights owner to have a tool to prevent widespread unauthorized internet distribution of content. Say, if someone ripped a DVD disc or a Compact Disc, and then uploaded it to the net, the DMCA would assist media companies in removing the content. Sounds fine. Seems OK.

Enter reality, and abuse.

People file copyright claims against other people on YouTube because they don't like other people criticizing them (Dr. Drew invoking DMCA to remove critics). Corporations filing copyright claims to hide that they are violating laws (Volkswagen using the DMCA to hide their car emissions levels). Companies like Apple have even tried to make it illegal to repair your iPhone! The DMCA is abused constantly. If you have any free time, go to the EFF's website, and read through the "Takedown Hall Of Shame". The Hall Of Shame, and in fact the entire EFF website, is something you should read.

To explain why I wrote this song, I will be address a specific part of the DMCA: media companies issuing takedown notices to remove consumer created content.

Let us say that you upload a video of your cat to YouTube. If that video happens to have any music playing in the background, even though YouTube has tried to get media companies to leave content creators alone, the video will still end up getting "claimed". There is now an ad on your cat video, because there is a few seconds of fleeting noise coming from a TV or radio in the background that a media company says that they control.

In extreme cases, there have been people who have been hit with copyright claims over noise. Literally, a guy generated and uploaded ten hours of static (white noise). MULTIPLE entities try to file copyright claims on the static he created. Hell, a Soundcloud user uploaded a "remix" of a John Cage song called 4'33, which is four minutes and thirty-three seconds of SILENCE. The user "remixed" silence. Soundcloud took down the song as a copyright violation. They took down SILENCE. Ugh...moving on.

Either through Content ID, or through manual searching, media companies can search through social media and video sites, and see who is using content they may control. I completely understand where a media company might not want a full DVD rip up for free on YouTube. You can understand why z copyright holder wouldn't appreciate fans uploading content that media companies already have on their own channels. But the problem is when "rights holders" start abusing the DMCA to try and either monetize everything online, or take everything down.

Say there's a video on YouTube of The Beatles performing a song. A fan uploaded the video, not The Beatles, or any entity that has a hand in controlling their catalog. More than likely, there will be an ad on that fan upload. The fan did not enable the ad, though. Through use of the DMCA, the copyright holder "monetized" the clip, and is making money off of every ad that runs before - or during - that fan uploaded video.

The media company could have completely removed the video (a "copyright strike"), but usually the media companies just throw ads on fan videos. Now, there can be an entire debate on whether the artist that the media company represents actually wants ads on fan videos, or if said artists are even seeing any of the revenue the media company is receiving from the ads. The point is, on YouTube, media companies can earn money off of videos uploaded by fans.

Now, go to a site like Instagram. User content does not have ads within the uploaded videos. Since the media companies can't monetize the work of fans, they issue takedown notices. Again: the media company can't make any money off of the content uploaded, so they just delete it.

Here's why that is an ignorant display of corporate greed.

Say you have a product you are trying to get people to discover. You have a website. You have an email list. You have accounts on social media sites. That's all fine and good. You are talking to your audience. From a marketing standpoint, though, that is far from enough. Just talking to people following you is not enough. You need the people you are talking to to talk to other people. You need word of mouth.

So, if you are a musical artist, having fans post short (up to sixty second) videos on social media is essential. "Oh my god, check out the new release from (artist)!" "Wow, I found a colored vinyl pressing of the new record from (artist)!" "I just love (artist). Check out my vintage pressing of (song)!"

Fans support the artist. Fans buy (or stream) the music. They buy merch. They talk about the artist to friends using social media.

Marketing 101: Get the fans to do the work for you!

So, why the FUCK would you remove a thirty second video of a fan filming a song playing on a turntable, recorded in mono on a mobile phone, with less-than-CD quality? Who the FUCK is this video hurting? The fan is excited about the music, and is sharing that with other fans. You are getting potential viral exposure. Hell, iTunes / Amazon gives you the same amount of music in better quality, for free, as a preview. The point of a music fan uploading such a video is to share short pieces of music with friends. It is not meant to hurt media company revenue. It is not meant to replace the original music. But guess what? The media company can't make any money, so even though the fan is doing the media company A FREE FUCKING SERVICE, the media company still gets the videos taken off of sites like Instagram.

Again, if you go to a site selling digital downloads, you get free previews of each song that are at least the same length as an Instagram post, and in better audio quality. A video of a fan filming their Crosley playing a minute of "The Robots" by Kraftwerk is not hurting a media company bottom line. It is HELPING sell the Kraftwerk song to people who may of never heard the song before!

The actual artists, for the most part, get that fans are helping them out. If you go to social media sites of artists, you will see from time to time the artists will repost content from fans. That content includes short videos of fans playing the music of the artist, or fan shot live concert videos. The artists appreciate the support. The media companies just want every last penny that they can get.

If you know me, you know that I created DJ battle weaponized version of a Fisher Price turntable. On the Fishure-Price Instagram page, you will see a lot of posts of the no-longer-a-toy turntable with 45 rpm records. There are pictures of the records, and video. Now, though, thanks to media companies (like Warner Music Group Rights Management, an entire arm of a media company with the sole purpose of bleeding the internet of every last penny they can get, no matter the damage with their relationship to music buyers or music makers) going extreme with DMCA takedowns on Instagram, there are far less videos.

More enraging than seeing a flood of "Your video has been removed" alerts is getting takedowns by media companies that don't actually have any rights on the artist in the video! It's difficult to tell whether the actual media company is even invoking the DMCA takedown, or if Instagram is just preemptively removing the videos before a media company can issue a claim.

There is zero argument that any Instagram video could be considered detrimental to the sales of music. There is no way that fans would rather hear a low fidelity mono snippet video on Instagram than to stream or own the entire song. Fans uploading video snippets of their favorite music is helping awareness of music. Most artists understand that. Fans appreciate it. The only people with their collective heads up their asses are the media companies.

A video of a record playing on Instagram is free publicity. It is what media company "street team" promotions used to try (and fail) to do. The video is raising awareness of music, and the media companies don't have to pay a cent to make it happen!

If you get a "Video Removal" warning from a site like Instagram, FIGHT IT! Hit the "Submit Dispute" button, and say:

"Hello. My video is doing nothing but spreading the word about the artist you may or may not actually have the rights to use a DMCA takedown for. There is no way in hell that my short video with low fidelity audio is in any way hampering your sales! Fuck your take down! Put my video back up!"


Stream "Fuck Your Take Down" on Spotify, stream / download from Apple Music, or watch the music video on YouTube. Note: the embedded video will not play unless you are logged into your YouTube account, because I flagged the video to be for viewers "18+", due to the use of a certain "dirty" word. :P

BIG, HUGE DISCLAIMER: While already stated on multiple pages of this website, I'm saying it again: All content on this site, unless very specifically spelled out otherwise, are solely my opinion. Nothing (NOTHING) on the website, including this song, should be interpreted as approved or associated with any of my clients. Using my name alongside any client names in any articles or social media posts would be inaccurate. Any sites doing such are just trying to get clicks for the site (and ads).