Thousands of Artists Demand Changes to DMCA Exploitation

A Letter Regarding the DMCA

400 artists, songwriters, managers and music organizations are now demanding DMCA reforms, perhaps the start of a serious groundswell.

Hundreds of music industry figures have joined forces to collectively petition to the U.S. Copyright Office for reforms to the current Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA.  The Act, signed into law in 1998, is now viewed as a loophole for everyone from Google to Grooveshark to drive billions in piracy revenues.

Artists like Katy Perry and Christina Aguilera are among those that have been sending comments to the U.S. Copyright Office with urgent demands for changes.  The activists claim that the current policy favors ‘technology companies and rogue pirate sites,’ at the extreme expense of artists.

The early mob of protesters also includes 18 major music organizations, a group that collaborated on a 100-page brief  outlining the issues that exist within the current legal framework of the DMCA.

”The DMCA was supposed to provide balance between service providers and content owners, but instead it provides harmful ‘safe havens’ under which many platforms either pay nothing or pay less than market value for music”.

In total, three letters have been circulated: one from the music organizations and managers, one from artists and songwriters, and one from creators.  All three come to the conclusion and agreement that the DMCA needs to be reformed to protect intellectual property.

The DMCA was enacted in 1998, and was forged during the formative years of the internet.  In the current atmosphere, it simply isn’t doing enough to prevent piracy, and often encourages it.  Just moments after infringing content is taken down from a place like Google results, the exact same content is commonly re-uploaded.  That forces content owners to constantly issue takedowns, often in a fruitless battle for control.

Beyond this artist group, several others have spoken out via the US government’s public consultation regarding DMCA safe harbor provisions.

Online, Fight For The Future and a popular YouTube channel, ChannelAwesome, have started a campaign against DMCA abuse.  The channels have already generated over 210,000 views on YouTube, 4,000 YouTube video comments, and 50,000 comments to the Copyright Office via TakedownAbuse.org.

This public consultation will draw to a close at end of day today.

8 Responses

  1. Versus

    Where and how can we voice our support for such reform?
    DMCA is useless, and does nothing to stop the ongoing unfair exploitation of music.

    Reply
  2. Name2

    Anti-piracy cash settlement outfit Rightscorp has just announced a net loss of $3.5m for its operations during 2015.

    Waaah! We want welfare! Waaaah!

    Reply
  3. Versus

    Google’s exploitation and profiting from DMCA loopholes is obvious. As it their bias…in their links to takedowns which lead to so-called “Chilling Effects”. Google is the one creating the disastrous “effects” for musicians and so many others, by enabling and profiting from the theft of their livelihoods.

    Reply
  4. oldindieguy

    Please do not follow the above link to TakedownAbuse.org They are arguing in the wrong direction, for less protection of copyright on the internet, not for revision of the DMCA to prevent abuse.

    Reply
  5. Anonymous

    Apparently a Google astroturf group DDOSd the US Copyright office. Smooth…

    Reply
  6. FarePlay

    Thanks for getting the headline right.

    We submitted our petition to the Copyright Office NOI with over one-thousand signatures from authors, filmmakers, musicians, photographers, designers and video game developers.

    We welcome your signature. http://www.takedownstaydown.org/

    Dear Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet:

    For over 15 years artists have had their constitutional rights trampled, in many cases by laws that were supposed to protect them.

    The Digital Millennium Copyright Act was designed to protect websites from infringement claims due to material posted by third parties, as well as give artists an effective tool to remove infringing content.

    It is not working. Active infringing sites still get their safe harbor, but artist rights get destroyed. Google alone received 345 million take down notices last year. This means every day of the year there are 900,000 notices sent to Google about infringing material. This infringing material is taken down, only to be reposted on the same sites, sometimes within a matter of hours.

    On March 13, 2014 in testimony before the Congressional Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, a major book publisher testified to sending take down notices 571 times for the same book on the same website.

    The result is that since 1999 copyright holders have lost over 100 billion dollars to Internet piracy. The worldwide music industry has shrunk by 62%. There are 45% fewer working musicians in the United States than in 2002.

    Small independent film makers spend their time not making movies, but sending out 50,000 take down notices in a vain attempt to sweep aside the tide of recurrent copyright infringement. We need to change the laws to make sure that artists spend their time making art, not sending take down notices.

    It is time that a take down notice be sent once, and only once. Thereafter it should be the duty of the website to prevent the reposting of the same material. The technology to do this is available. What is lacking is the legal directive to use this technology to prevent the wholesale theft of artistic creations.

    Close the loophole in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that provides safe harbor for online piracy. Place the responsibility where it belongs, with those websites that profit from it. Protect artist’s rights. Stop protecting those that profit from internet piracy. “Take down” needs to become “take down and stay down”.

    We are asking congress to add a “stay down” provision to Section 512 and restrict safe harbor protection for infringing sites. Protect creators, not those who profit from internet piracy.

    Reply

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