I got another DMCA takedown the other day (probably time to switch to a new file host, eh?), this time for Tyvek's Time Change 7". This one seemed particularly arbitrary -- Tom Waits I can understand, Suicide and Can records released in the '80s, okay, I can kind of see it -- but Tyvek?? The fearless Detroit DIY garage-punk troubadours who played Bitchpork just last weekend? The totally nice dudes (/+ladies in various lineups) who in the summer of 2010 did an all-ages early show in my friend's basement for those who couldn't get into Schubas on account of alcohol laws? What I'm trying to get at is that they're hardly the kind of band who would send a DMCA (not that I wouldn't remove links if they asked, but I imagine they'd just go ahead and ask). So let's explore this takedown notice for a brief second:
So the claim was filed by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Uh huh. As you can see, the canned lawyer assures us that they have "a good faith belief that the links/files identified" are "examples of links/files available through your site that are not authorized by Fox, any of its agents or the law, and therefore infringe on Fox's rights," then lists a host of Allegedly Infringing Links (there were about a hundred more links in the actual email than what you see above). Of course none of these links can be viewed, to see what the content of them actually was, so there is no way of verifying if any of it was in fact owned by Fox. But I guess that doesn't stop them for shutting them down, because hey, Fox didn't authorize them, right?
In the particular case of Time Change, what do we know? Well, we know the record was released in 2011 while Tyvek was touring Europe, and came out on the Paris/Bordeaux label Les Disques Steak. This label appears to be about as DIY as any other imprint the likes of Tyvek have worked with, so it's hard to imagine some business relationship between them and one of the Big Six (owned by Rupert Murdoch, to boot).
There is the possibility that the origin of the claim is Fox Music, which handles publishing business, but I find it hard to believe. Is it even typical for DIY bands to formally publish their songs? What I think is most likely the case is that Fox made some erroneous (or fraudulent) claim.
I'm not writing about this because it's unique. None of it is news to anyone that does a blog for music. At best these takedowns are collateral damage of the Culture Industry's war on 'piracy'; at worst they amount to censorship. The whole thing just makes me really nervous about the future.
Anyway, to make up for the takedown, here's some Tyvek videos for you to enjoy:
'Mary Ellen Claims' in Brooklyn
'Underwater 1' in Scandinavia
'Flowers' in Austin
'Frustration Rock Version' in Detroit
'Air Conditioner' in Benesov, Czech Republic
'Nothing Fits' in Cleveland Heights