Abusing Copyright To Stifle Dissent & Censor Critics

Earlier this week news broke that rapper Lord Finesse is suing his colleague Mac Miller for "stealing" one of his beats. This prompted UK rapper Dan Bull to respond with a parody track, calling out Lord Finesse on his hypocritical stance. However, Finesse's lawyers didn't appreciate the criticism and managed to pull Bull's clip off YouTube, essentially abusing copyright as a censorship tool. However, by doing so they seem to have made matters worse.

Dan Bull is known for his protests against draconian copyright legislation such as SOPA and ACTA, and this week it once again became clear what he’s fighting for.

After Bull responded to a “ridiculous” lawsuit brought by rapper Lord Finesse against his colleague Mac Miller, the critical response was censored from YouTube on copyright grounds. Interestingly enough, plenty of other Lord Finesse copyrighted content on YouTube was not censored, suggesting the takedown was political.

Needless to say, this has made Dan Bull even more angry than before.

“I have fought ACTA, SOPA, DEA and various other forms of censorship in the name of copyright. I will not be silenced by this kind of abuse of the copyright system. The DMCA is not supposed to be used in this way,” he writes.

In the video below Bull explains in detail how ridiculous the situation is.


Bull’s response

This is not the first time YouTube’s takedown procedure has been (ab)used as a censorship tool. The same happened December last year when Megaupload’s “Mega Song” was taken down by Universal Music Group (UMG). This prompted Megaupload to sue UMG.

Bull doesn’t know whether he will respond legally, but he is encouraging people to bring attention to the situation.

“I still need to decide what route I will take in challenging this action further, but I want you all to be aware of what has happened. Please like and share this video. If you are a content creator yourself, read up on fair use and fair dealing so that you are able to defend your own rights should this kind of thing happen to you,” Bull writes.

The irony of it all is that Lord Finesse has yet to learn the finesses of the Internet. When you try to censor something online on dubious grounds, this often results in the opposite effect.

After Bull’s video was censored, many copies were quickly uploaded to YouTube and other video sharing sites. A perfect example of the Streisand Effect.


Bull’s original track with video clip.

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