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Unison Audio Part 2 - The Unison Fucks Back

Over the weekend I received a notice from Google that a DMCA Removal was issued against discchord.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a legal mechanism allowing for the immediate removal of any copyrighted material from the Internet. Its broad-reaching power has been abused frequently in the past two decades. Its abuses began almost immediately after it was signed into law, with Adobe arresting security researcher Dmitry Sklyarov. It has been abused by Volkswagen to hide their emissions test cheating. According to Google, 94% of the DMCA requests it receives are fraudulent. Here is one more for the shit pile.

The Internet is far too large to police manually. While Google acknowledges that the DMCA requests are bogus they still automatically de-list anything they get a take-down request for. A provision of the DMCA is that they become liable if they don't immediately act on a DMCA request. So we get a policy of shooting first, and determining guilt later. It was up to me to begin the process of figuring out who issued the DMCA, why, and then filing a formal legal declaration that I own the rights to the content on my site.

Back in April Ave Mcree reported that Unison Audio issued a copyright strike against his YouTube channel. This was a direct attempt to to silence a video which allegedly documented a scam Unison Audio were running. I was fairly appalled by that and its chilling implications, so I said, Fuck Unison Audio.

The geniuses at Unison Audio figured that the appropriate resolution was to just press that DMCA button a few more times to silence anyone who reported on them DMCAing Ave McCree. So they did. discchord was among 6 other sites targeted by this DMCA abuse.

The largest site on that hitlist is CDM. I spoke with editor Peter Kirn and asked for his thoughts on the situation:

"You just did the thing we said you were doing in order to stop us saying you did that thing you just did."

Now we're in an asinine game of cat and mouse where they're silencing journalists, and then silencing the journalists that report on them silencing journalists. This is a foolish course of action on their part. Journalists tend to get pretty pissed off when they see other journalists being silenced.

Reader Comments 31

Jeez. What a crock of shit. We’re right behind you, Tim. Thanks for running such a great site that I, personally, visit daily. I hope common sense will prevail. Sounds like a classic case of jealousy for someone, somewhere.
October 04, 2019  | person nreyes
The DMCA was shit on day one and remains a tool of the corporatocracy to this day. Vote for anti-corporate candidates in the democratic primary. It is almost literally the only thing we can actually do to TRY to roll back the plutocratic oligarchy.
October 04, 2019  | person dysamoria
On October 04, 2019 - @dysamoria said:
The DMCA was shit on day one and remains a tool of the corporatocracy to this day. Vote for anti-corporate candidates in the democratic primary. It is almost literally the only thing we can actually do to TRY to roll back the plutocratic oligarchy.

I try very hard not to get political on this site; beyond casual swipes. Expressing political opinions on the Internet is largely pointless, because everyone already has their "team" and they won't be swayed.

But from a Liberal perspective to other Liberals, there are a lot of areas that the Democratic party continues to get wrong. Biden is the front-runner nominee, and I'm profoundly disappointed. He's not a Liberal. He might be to the Left of the Republican party, but that's only because they're so ludicrously to the Right now that even Nixon would be considered a Liberal by today's RNC.

Biden is a corporatist. Corpratism is fascism for corporate interests, a form of Late Stage Capitalism. Bill Clinton was a corporatist, which is why he signed the DMCA into law and the reason I will never vote for a two-faced "Liberal" that sells out people for corporate profits.

Obama was a fucking joke. Sure he wasn't as awful as Bush, but that doesn't make him automatically good. They gave the man a goddamn Nobel Peace Prize and then he went on to launch drone strikes at more impoverished brown people than Bush could have ever imagined. There were 4,015-6,227 drone deaths in Afganistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen during his presidency. That's somewhere between 1,000 more than 9/11, or more than twice the victims of 9/11. And this guy got a Peace prize?

Can you name one positive social good Obama did in his 8 years? Marriage equality? Nope, that was the supreme court. Universal Healthcare? Nope, we're still the only developed nation where healthcare is a profit motive instead of a human right. The only welfare Obama extended to this nation was Corporate Welfare in the form of bailout after bailout. Now the majority of the Democratic party wants to put his fucking sidekick in charge? The majority of the Democratic party is failing to live up to their own ideals.
On October 04, 2019 - @Tim Webb said:

I try very hard not to get political on this site; beyond casual swipes. Expressing political opinions on the Internet is largely pointless, because everyone already has their "team" and they won't be swayed.

But from a Liberal perspective to other Liberals, there are a lot of areas that the Democratic party continues to get wrong. Biden is the front-runner nominee, and I'm profoundly disappointed. He's not a Liberal. He might be to the Left of the Republican party, but that's only because they're so ludicrously to the Right now that even Nixon would be considered a Liberal by today's RNC.

Biden is a corporatist. Corpratism is fascism for corporate interests, a form of Late Stage Capitalism. Bill Clinton was a corporatist, which is why he signed the DMCA into law and the reason I will never vote for a two-faced "Liberal" that sells out people for corporate profits.

Obama was a fucking joke. Sure he wasn't as awful as Bush, but that doesn't make him automatically good. They gave the man a goddamn Nobel Peace Prize and then he went on to launch drone strikes at more impoverished brown people than Bush could have ever imagined. There were 4,015-6,227 drone deaths in Afganistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen during his presidency. That's somewhere between 1,000 more than 9/11, or more than twice the victims of 9/11. And this guy got a Peace prize?

Can you name one positive social good Obama did in his 8 years? Marriage equality? Nope, that was the supreme court. Universal Healthcare? Nope, we're still the only developed nation where healthcare is a profit motive instead of a human right. The only welfare Obama extended to this nation was Corporate Welfare in the form of bailout after bailout. Now the majority of the Democratic party wants to put his fucking sidekick in charge? The majority of the Democratic party is failing to live up to their own ideals.

So tell us how you really feel Tim ;) Anyway hope this all gets sorted out .. your definitely part of my daily rounds when I’m in IOS music production mode .. and I appreciate all you do.
October 04, 2019  | person_outline Chris Strobel
So Tim, I guess you are portraying yourself in the role of the small leaping rat? Keep putting up the good fight!
October 04, 2019  | favorite_border Laarz
On October 04, 2019 - @Laarz said:
So Tim, I guess you are portraying yourself in the role of the small leaping rat? Keep putting up the good fight!

Well they're definitely the cat if they thought I was going to roll over when I got that DMCA notice. ;)
Is there anything we can do to help put pressure on Unison Audio?

Are they the guys selling sound packs at: [Tim Edit: Yes those guys. Let's not link to them though.]
October 04, 2019  | person_outline Simon
With you all the way, Tim. What a load of bollocks. As for the political angles, when will people realise, Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Labour (and especially the fucking Liberal-Democrats in the UK), NONE of them give a shit about real people. Yes, there are good people in politics, but the system rolls over us all. So we fight back, within the law, in any way we can. RTM have a song about politicians -

https://repulsethemonkey.bandcamp.com/track/treason-in-liar-land
October 05, 2019  | person Zen
On October 04, 2019 - @Simon said:
Is there anything we can do to help put pressure on Unison Audio?

Are they the guys selling sound packs at: [Tim Edit: Yes those guys. Let's not link to them though.]

Nope, there really isn't anything anyone (besides Google) can do about this. I've filed the forms, so now the ball is in their court to decide if they want to file a law suit to assert their claims. I'm better pretty hard that they don't.

I didn't link to them directly, and I've removed your link, because I don't want to give them traffic. Linking to other sites also improves their search ranking.
I feel your pain Tim. My son who is now 24 did a video documentary on on the life of Les Paul. He and I were even fortunate to meet and hear his son Rusty Paul play and even interviewed him (and now he has passed away like his father ). This video was done when my son was only 16 years old and he had over 40 thousand fires. I was so proud of it and YouTube decided 8 years later to just up and remove it. Gone
That really sucks because it was a beautiful thing and no money was being made.
I’ll never stop getting pissed over that one. When your kid gets hurt you feel the sting worse than it it hurt you !
Good luck with your battle.
Maria
October 05, 2019  | person_outline Maria
Sorry that you have to deal with this kind of BS. Thanks for all of your hard work in making Discchord an amazing resource for musicians everywhere!!!
I'm with you all the way, Tim. That’s why I said “anti-corporate candidate”. Sanders and Warren. The rest are either corporatist or irrelevant to the election.

I can’t stand Biden (also didn’t like Obama after his first term), and it creeps me out that creepy uncle grandpa Biden has so many supporters.

“Not getting political” is impossible when politics exists wherever people exist. If we don’t participate, we accomplish nothing. Until they stop trying to fuck the system with gerrymandering and whatnot, our votes still matter.
October 05, 2019  | person dysamoria
I agree about the overwhelming issue of corporate control over government. It is now made more insidious with the meddling of other cartoonish super-villains--

However, I don't have as bleak of an assessment of Obama's presidency. Far from perfect, but he did appoint sane people to various cabinet positions, and most importantly to the supreme court. I don't know if Garland is a corporatist, but he clearly would have been a "sane" choice. So clearly there are levels. What makes the Trump presidency even worse is how it throws off any sense of a trajectory in terms of positive momentum.

What is clear is that positive change and even just damage control (like Obamacare) is extremely complex and difficult, especially when going up against a Koch-funded machine.

Unison can eat all the farts, as far as I'm concerned.
October 05, 2019  | favorite_border stub
" Nope, there really isn't anything anyone (besides Google) can do about this. "

I was thinking something along the lines of us all going to their YouTube channel and leaving thumbs down or negative comments. They only have about 10 videos so it would be easy to leave negatives on all of them.

If they want to fight dirty then we can fight dirty...
October 05, 2019  | person_outline Simon
gonna put unison audio on my bucket list of revenge, must get revenge!
October 06, 2019  | person_outline Cyp3
I wrote him this... Not cool that you abused the dmc takedown system to silence negative press, furthermore, the people who you did this too are very well liked and established trustworthy contributors to the music production world, its like you just took a shit in the front yard, good work!
October 06, 2019  | person_outline Cyp3
As far as this Google (Do No Evil My Ass) crap goes, can't you just scrub Google and switch to Duck-Duck?

I do not follow this stuff very closely. My attitude is once I get tired of any sort of Digital nonsense I just uninstall whatever it is that annoys me. Have done this many times now over the decades with various hardware and software and the truth is I soon move on to something new (not necessarily digital) with no regrets. Netflix, Disney, and the other streaming-squabblers are starting to annoy me. I'll probably be pulling the plug on video streaming soon. Ebooks and audio-ebooks will easily replace the video streamers for me while they recreate the stupidity and anti-consumer corporate greed-fest of cable-packages all over again.
October 06, 2019  | person_outline Crowfly
On October 05, 2019 - @Simon said:
" Nope, there really isn't anything anyone (besides Google) can do about this. "

I was thinking something along the lines of us all going to their YouTube channel and leaving thumbs down or negative comments. They only have about 10 videos so it would be easy to leave negatives on all of them.

If they want to fight dirty then we can fight dirty...

Negative votes don’t actually DO anything. It’s still “engagement”, and that’s all Google cares about. It would probably *help* a video to have a thousand downvotes and ten upvotes. Similarly, downvoting video comments does nothing at all. Google doesn’t want us having any choices or control.
October 06, 2019  | person dysamoria
On October 06, 2019 - @Crowfly said:
As far as this Google (Do No Evil My Ass) crap goes, can't you just scrub Google and switch to Duck-Duck?

The problem isn't me using Google... it's discchord's pages being delisted from Google. So the DMCA take down affects when other people are searching for things, that discchord would otherwise be a relevant result for.
To the questions about -- is this about Google?

Yes, absolutely it is. So I verified that this particular page is blocked on Google - and it's only one page, though it may impact PageRank (probably irrelevant because both ours sites have so many pages). It does remain on Duck Duck Go which is my primary search engine.

It is not particularly about Joe Biden, no - that was a unanimous vote that passed this bill, and the bill in turn was based on international treaty. I don't think anyone in the 1990s could have fully predicted the world of 2019. Certainly, concerns like this were raised at the time, but if you look back at those, even the critics didn't entirely grasp where we were going.

Anyway, I think the monoculture of Google is more an issue than the DMCA. If you didn't have this monoculture, you wouldn't have that one company backlogged on requests. But they do automatically restore the page within 10 days, which in this case, since it's not really newsworthy, means that the whole thing is pointless and we can relax - they won't succeed in removing the pages, and did succeed in generating more bad publicity, as deserved. Whoops.
October 06, 2019  | person_outline Peter Kirn
On October 06, 2019 - @Peter Kirn said:
I don't think anyone in the 1990s could have fully predicted the world of 2019. Certainly, concerns like this were raised at the time, but if you look back at those, even the critics didn't entirely grasp where we were going.
I was in college at the time and remember very clearly the outrage at the DMCA when it was proposed, all the way up to the date it was signed. We knew then that it would be abused. It was obvious to those of us in college hacker circles. For many of us it was also the first time we learned of the EFF and their work to oppose it.

Both the House and Senate were Republican controlled, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that they'd side with corporations over people. Bill Clinton was the only person who could stop it. He didn't.
"Nope, we're still the only developed nation where healthcare is a profit motive instead of a human right." Now THAT'S big bullshit and fake news. Every more or less functioning healthcare infrastructure in liberal-democratic and humanistic societies is profit oriented and based on taxes or funds at the same time - otherwise no investments, inventions and progress in medicine disciplines would be possible.
October 06, 2019  | person_outline vaikl
https://www.eff.org/takedowns

Wonder if the EFF would be interested in doing a story on Unisons bullshit?
October 06, 2019  | person_outline mckenic
" Both the House and Senate were Republican controlled, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that they'd side with corporations over people. Bill Clinton was the only person who could stop it. He didn't. "

You could argue that if both houses voted for the bill then it was passed by 2 houses chosen by "the people", therefore it was the "will of the people". Should the President block a bill that the people's chosen representitives support? Disclaimer: I'm not American, so I could be right off target here.
October 06, 2019  | person_outline Simon
dysamoria wrote: "Negative votes don’t actually DO anything. It’s still “engagement”, and that’s all Google cares about."

My idea was to leave negative votes and comments to give Unison bad publicity, not to influence Google.
October 06, 2019  | person_outline Simon
On October 06, 2019 - @Tim Webb said:
I was in college at the time and remember very clearly the outrage at the DMCA when it was proposed, all the way up to the date it was signed. We knew then that it would be abused. It was obvious to those of us in college hacker circles. For many of us it was also the first time we learned of the EFF and their work to oppose it.

Both the House and Senate were Republican controlled, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that they'd side with corporations over people. Bill Clinton was the only person who could stop it. He didn't.

I remember the same outrage. It was definitely known and it was definitely corporatism. The RIAA and whatnot...
October 06, 2019  | person dysamoria
On October 06, 2019 - @Simon said:
" Both the House and Senate were Republican controlled, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that they'd side with corporations over people. Bill Clinton was the only person who could stop it. He didn't. "

You could argue that if both houses voted for the bill then it was passed by 2 houses chosen by "the people", therefore it was the "will of the people". Should the President block a bill that the people's chosen representitives support? Disclaimer: I'm not American, so I could be right off target here.

The people? Ha ha ha... I say again: corporatism. Lobbying.
October 06, 2019  | person dysamoria
dysamoria wrote: " The people? Ha ha ha... I say again: corporatism. Lobbying. "

Yes, I get your cynicism.

But your cynicism fails to answer my question: should the President block something that both houses support?
October 07, 2019  | person_outline Simon
On October 07, 2019 - @Simon said:
dysamoria wrote: " The people? Ha ha ha... I say again: corporatism. Lobbying. "

Yes, I get your cynicism.

But your cynicism fails to answer my question: should the President block something that both houses support?

In this case, that President never would have. In other cases, it depends on if the then-current President cares that corporatism was driving said something. So far, I’m unaware of a president blocking anything for any reason other than mindless partisan politics. I might have missed something in the past, since I’ve only started really becoming politically aware in the last ten to fifteen years
October 07, 2019  | person dysamoria
On October 06, 2019 - @Simon said:
You could argue that if both houses voted for the bill then it was passed by 2 houses chosen by "the people", therefore it was the "will of the people". Should the President block a bill that the people's chosen representitives support? Disclaimer: I'm not American, so I could be right off target here.

That's a fair question! In the US, the executive veto power is used frequently as a check against the representatives. This is true at all levels of government. State governors use it quite often as well.

As dysamoria notes it is largely used today along party lines. Which is unfortunate because that's the exact opposite use envisioned by the framers. The guys who set out our constitution were very worried that partisan politics would divide the nation, which is why they tried to set up so many different checks and balances. Our senate, for instance, was intended to be completely divorced from any factional influences because we elect them on a less regular basis. The framers figured that since they wouldn't be up for reelection as often, they wouldn't need parties to help get them reelected. Thus they would just represent their state's interests over all other concerns.

It's honestly pretty depressing when you get into the history of democracy and you see how hard our forefathers worked to prevent all of the partisan problems we have today. Even more so when no one seems to care.
Tim wrote: " It's honestly pretty depressing when you get into the history of democracy and you see how hard our forefathers worked to prevent all of the partisan problems we have today. "

Every time you have a game with rules, people try to "game" the system :-)

Thanks for your explanation. We don't have a President. Just 2 houses with the leader of the majority party in the Reps being the Prime Minister.

But we do have the problems of sneaky lobbying, party factions etc...
October 07, 2019  | person_outline Simon
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