Above The Law posted an MP3 (in YouTube format, i.e with blank/text screen, for hosting reasons) of a dreadful song written by/for law firm Nixon Peabody. Here’s the original post complete with various updates, and a post detailing the correspondence between the bloggers and the singing law firm. Unsurprisingly, the law firm tried to squash the song by talking about copyright. Never would have predicted that.

Now. This illustrates, to me, four things.

  1. Trying to get things off the Internet remains difficult. Call it “the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it” (incorrect in engineering terms as applied to this context but a nice starting point), call it “it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up”, call it whack-a-mole, call it Spartacus, whatever. Kill one and more appear.
  2. On the other hand, we see – again – that the private gatekeepers (whether wishing to Do No Evil or otherwise) are still perfectly willing to take content down (although in this case we have no reason to believe that a 15-year-old with a Hotmail account was the sender. No. Just grownups with law firm accounts acting like 15-year-olds). The Above The Law people are asserting – vehemently – that they are entitled to post this. GooTube disagrees. And although point 1 does apply, the ease with which they will press the big red button is certainly cause for concern (and is among the themes of a forthcoming paper of mine)
  3. The New York Times was delighted to write about the story and about Nixon Peabody’s attempts to get it off YouTube and the original blog. That is worth noting, but also an indication, perhaps, that we should be more concerned with the low-level DMCA-SLAPPing than with the big bangs, as if you have the Times on side, you’re probably doing alright…
  4. I’ve listened to the song (which contains the line used at the title to this post – although I got it wrong the first time. Fixed now). I don’t care what Calvin Harris says. Some things are not acceptable, even in the 80s. It’s terrible.
  5. Listen to the song for yourself here (MP3). Just don’t tell anyone.