An official copy of the album was posted on the cloud hosting service Mega, which is linked from Dotcom’s homepage. This has never caused any issues, until a few weeks ago, when various copyright holders started sending unusual takedown requests to have the content removed.
IFPI, representing the major music labels, submitted several DMCA notices to Mega claiming that the file infringed the rights of various artists. This resulted in a game of whack-a-mole in which the album was removed and reinstated a few times. Currently it’s unavailable yet again.
When we previously covered the issue, Mega stressed that the takedown requests were clearly mistaken. The company accused IFPI of not doing their homework and doubted the accuracy of their notices in general.
However, since the takedown notices kept targeting the same link, there was a good chance that these mistakes were orchestrated in some way. Assuming that someone was making IFPI and others believe that the link pointed to albums of other artists, we decided to do some research.
Eventually we stumbled upon a series of Pastebin pages where the URL of Dotcom’s album is linked to titles of other artists. Several of the artists mentioned in the pastes are the same as the one’s IFPI listed in their DMCA notices, so this would explain the mistakes.
The above is concerning for several reasons. First of all, it shows that IFPI and others don’t verify the legitimacy of their takedown notices. This means that pranksters can easily get them to censor legitimate content.
Secondly, Mega usually can’t check the validity of a claim, or it simply doesn’t know whether or not a user has permission to publish it. So they have very little options to stop the abuse.
“Mega aims to process all takedowns promptly, within a few hours. It is impossible to verify the claims as the files are encrypted so we don’t know the contents (unless the full link is provided with the key included), and we can’t verify if the person has a valid ownership/license or not,” a Mega spokesperson told us.
Despite these restrictions, the cloud hosting provider says it’s setting up a system where repeated takedowns can be flagged to prevent this type of abuse in the future.
“We are improving our systems to monitor the takedown process and will eventually be able to identify repeated incorrect notices,” Mega says.
Until then, Dotcom’s album will most likely disappear from Mega a few more times. Luckily for the fans, there’s also a copy hosted on the soon-to-be-released music service Baboom.